For actress and comedian Mindy Kaling, adapting one of Britain’s most beloved films, Four Weddings and a Funeral, was a “terrifying” feat that required careful consideration.
“We all love the movie so much, we respect the filmmakers so much. Particularly Richard Curtis, who’s an executive producer on this miniseries as well,” Kaling said during the panel at the Television Critics Association (TCA) summer tour on Friday.
But in the end, Kaling’s decision to approach the series from a different angle is what made things “worth it.” Kaling, along with co-creator Matt Warburton and showrunner Tracey Wigfield, decided to incorporate interracial relationships and friendships, unlike the 1994 film.
“I had never seen a movie where a British-Pakistani man and an African-American man are best friends at work…in finance,” Kaling said.
The creators also decided to focus on a same-sex relationship, which is one of many “gentle subversions,” Kaling said. But one thing that remains the same in the upcoming limited series is the setting of London, which is instrumental to the story, star Nathalie Emmanuel said on stage.
“We knew wanted to have a lot of American characters, but what we love so much about Richard Curtis’ movies is that the city of London is such a character in them,” Kaling added.
This “refreshing” take on an iconic film is one of many Hulu originals to come this year. The streamer is also tackling Looking for Alaska, an adaptation of John Green’s 2005 novel, Reprisal, its hyper noir drama, Dollface, the female-led comedy starring Kat Dennings, and Wu-Tang: An American Saga, the biopic series about the titular hip-hop group.
“Hulu is taking big swings on bold and brand-defining stories that reflect the culture and inspire conversation,” said Craig Erwich, SVP of Hulu originals. “The series we’re presenting today come from many of the biggest storytellers and fresh new voices in entertainment, and reflect why Hulu is a home for creators to do their very best work,”
Here’s more of what we learned during Hulu’s day at TCA:
Designing Women is Coming to Hulu
The streamer has acquired all 163 episodes of Designing Women, the ‘90s sitcom created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. The iconic series will aptly launch on Aug. 26: Women’s Equality Day.
The Handmaid’s Tale Continues on for Season 4
Hulu’s most popular drama has been renewed for a fourth season. The third season, which is currently airing weekly on Wednesdays, has seen a 40 percent increase in viewership compared to season two, Erwich revealed.
Wu-Tang: An American Saga Will Show ‘More About Wu’ Than Ever
Despite Wu-Tang Clan’s status as a symbol of hip-hop, the upcoming limited series will dive deeper into the group’s story, showing everything the group was once “too shy to say in front of camera,” said original member, co-creator and executive producer The RZA.
“We grew up in the hood, and we kind of think every camera is a cop. But as mature men, we’re ready to tell our story. ...It opens up more about the Wu that you can’t find in the documentary,” he said.
The streamer also released its official trailer. The series premieres Wednesday, Sept. 4.
Reprisal is a Genre of ‘Era Ambiguity’
Although the hyper-noir drama is particular about its cinematic shots and violent scenarios, it’s not tying itself down to an era or setting.
“From day one, I’ve been pitching this show as, ‘We don’t know where we are, we don’t know when we are.’ It’s a story about characters who have to reckon with their past and the sins of their past,” said showrunner, creator and executive producer Josh Corbin.
All 10 episodes premiere Friday, Dec. 6.
Hulu is Expanding Its ‘Kitchen’ with Padma Lakshmi
Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi has received her own culinary series on the streaming service, joining the likes of Chrissy Tiegen and David Chang. The untitled series “follows Padma as she learns, immerses and celebrates communities from around the world that have taken root in America, changed it and been changed by it,” Hulu says.
Dollface Isn’t Your Typical Show About Friendship
Though the cast of Hulu’s latest comedy is led by four dynamic females—Kat Dennings, Brenda Song, Shay Mitchell and Esther Povitsky—there’s more than meets the eye, Dennings said.
“The show isn’t about female friendships. It’s just about friendships in general. What’s fun about the show is that [I’ve gone through] a lot of these issues that we portray. It feels very real. That’s what’s been really fun; it’s very organic and real issues that people can relate to.”
All 10 episodes premiere Friday, Nov. 15.
Looking for Alaska Will Stick Close to the Novel on Which It’s Based
Josh Schwartz, executive producer and director of the John Green novel adaptation, stated that the limited series aligns closely with the 2005 novel of the same name.
“Fans of the book will feel like we really honored the material…We’ve really tried to create something that’s faithful to the material but expands on it,” he said.
Schwartz also declared that there are no intentions of expanding into a second season; therefore, they captured the “full look” of the novel in all eight episodes.
The streamer also released its first teaser for the series (above), which premieres Friday, Oct. 18.
Amy Schumer is Coming to Hulu
The Emmy award-winning actress and comedian will join the streamer’s comedy slate with her new series, Love, Beth. Further details will be released at a later time; however, it will launch in 2020.