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Debra Messing Talks ‘Will & Grace’s’ ‘I Love Lucy’ Tribute Episode – Variety



You wouldn’t be the primary particular person to inform Debra Messing that she appears like Lucille Ball. You additionally wouldn’t be a very powerful particular person to say it — that honor belongs to Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz.

Final 12 months, the solid of “Will & Grace” filmed a really particular “I Love Lucy” tribute episode, which aired on Thursday evening. Messing recalled, on the “Selection After-Present,” the second when Arnaz got here into the dressing room to see her full transformation for the primary time.

“I used to be within the inexperienced gown. We had been about to shoot the track and dance [number] and she or he walked in and she or he simply checked out me and didn’t say something.” Messing informed Selection. “Then she hugged me and she or he stated, ‘This feels actually good. It’s been a very long time since I’ve hugged you,’ and everybody began to cry.”

“After which she smiled and she or he stated, ‘I understand how lengthy you’ve been wanting to do that, Debra. And I’m so glad we had been capable of make it occur.’” After which I needed to go [to the stage],” she continued. “As I walked away, she stated, ‘Break a leg, Mother.’ Everyone simply flipped out and cried. It was actually shifting.”

It was an emotional episode for Messing, who’s a lifelong fan of Ball’s work and “I Love Lucy,” and described the chance to play her as a bucket-list second and a dream come true. “I used to be weepy for 3 straight days,” she quipped.

Although Messing has oft been in comparison with Ball, due to her comedic type and trademark crimson hair, she by no means thought enjoying Ball was an choice.

“Like 15 years in the past folks would say, ‘Hey, do you need to do like a made for TV film or one thing?’ And I at all times felt like, ‘Oh, I’d not even contact that. Like she is untouchable,’” Messing recalled. “However the truth that it was ‘Will & Grace’ doing it … it simply felt like the right manner.”

In reality, the “Will & Grace” homage marks the primary time Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. have allowed their dad and mom’ work to be recreated on this vogue. For the episode, the “Will & Grace” staff used the identical scripts and recreated iconic moments in “I Love Lucy” historical past shot for shot, with each element painstakingly reconstructed.

“That bottle that I held for the Vitameatavegamin [scene] was the precise bottle that Lucy held,” Messing revealed. “That bottle had been in storage for 60 years and our props man was capable of get it. … When he informed me it was her bottle, I simply broke into tears.”

Messing admitted that nailing an ideal re-creation of the Vitameatavegamin scene — her favourite a part of the episode — was daunting.

“I solely had per week to arrange it and so I used to be very scared,” she defined. “[Lucy] means a lot to me and I simply didn’t need to blow it. So I simply watched it over — I needed to have watched it a 100 occasions, simply analyzing her eyebrow raise and her head tilt and, you understand, her lip [movements], and to clock precisely when she would begin to get drunk. After which once we had been on the set, I’d hearken to it in my ear. And so I’d simply give attention to the musicality of it, of her voice. And it was the toughest factor I’ve ever needed to do for positive.”

Arnaz additionally made a particular cameo within the episode because the boss within the chocolate manufacturing unit scene.

“We had been so overwhelmed with gratitude, and simply figuring out simply how a lot religion she had in us, it meant the world. After which when she confirmed up and she or he simply had a smile on her face the entire time,” Messing stated. “Then to behave together with her within the chocolate manufacturing unit scene, I believed my head was going to blow up.”

For the reason that Emmy winner posted a selfie final November flaunting her unbelievable transformation into the comedy icon, followers have eagerly awaited the “I Love Lucy” tribute episode, remarking on how a lot Messing regarded like Ball.

“Properly, it took three and a half hours to get there. [Make-up artist Elaine Offers] put Elmer’s Glue over my eyebrows in order that she might draw it on after which the lips took like 45 minutes. However when the wig went on, all of us simply [gasped],” Messing defined. “Impulsively we noticed her coming to life within the mirror.”

Along with enjoying Ball, Messing additionally remodeled into Ethel and Fred, the latter transformation taking 4 and a half hours, with the assistance of the results staff behind “Star Wars.”

“I’m actually, actually happy with it,” Messing stated of the episode. “It’s one thing that solely the 4 of us have ever been capable of expertise and have been entrusted with it. And clearly it’s my favourite, favourite episode we’ve ever accomplished and it’s one thing I’ll by no means ever neglect.”

And if “Will & Grace” — which caps off its historic 11-season run on April 23 — had been to ever obtain an identical tribute, Messing’s decide to play Grace can be Amy Adams, who already performed her onscreen sister in “The Wedding ceremony Date.”

“I’m glad that we had been capable of give one thing that folks might sit up for and a extremely good distraction,” she stated of the episode airing in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. “As a result of it actually does remind you of a happier, easier time.”

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