The hair-and-makeup crew had their hands extra full on the set of Will & Grace last month. Shooting the show s final episode after eight irreverent years did a number on the entire cast.
“There were a lot of snotty, tearful faces all around the set,” Megan Mullally, who played insult-flinging, martini-swigging Karen, tells PEOPLE. “When we got to the very, very last scene, everybody was just a mess. We started sobbing and hugging each other. That was it.”
For Debra Messing, who played Grace from her lovelorn start through a bumpy marriage (to a doctor played by Harry Connick Jr.) and into motherhood, it was hard to even leave the set. “My husband (actor and screenwriter Daniel Zelman) and I sat on Will and Grace’s love seat for a while, knowing it would be gone.”
In fact, by the next night, she says, the set was already being broken down. “It was cordoned off like an accident scene. It was a shock to see parts of it gone already.”
Of course, each castmember still managed to call dibs on their favorite souvenir. “I was promised the door to Grace’s office,” says Messing, 37. “I want to lean it up against the wall (in my house) like a piece of modern art.”
“I’m going to keep a couple of pieces from Will’s apartment,” says Sean Hayes, 35, who played flamboyant wannabe actor Jack McFarland. “There’s a leather box that was on Will s desk that I want to find a place for.”
Mullally, 47, chose a simple portrait from one of the walls, and Eric McCormack took a small ceramic dog. If he could, he might have taken everything – and the kitchen sink.
“My saddest moment was the last time I stood in Will’s kitchen,” says McCormack, whose portrayal of lawyer Will proved that a gay character could also play the straight man. “That was the most colorful position for me, standing there and stirring something. It was my pulpit, the place where I delivered my best jokes. Deb and Megan and Sean I can see again, but not my kitchen.”
So will the cast see each other again? Not for a while, at least. McCormack, 43, whose background is in theater, is now in New York City to play the lead role in the dark comedy Some Girl(s), which opens June 8. “It’s about 180 degrees from Will,” says McCormack, whose character visits four ex-girlfriends in the days before his wedding.
Mullally will host a syndicated talk show this fall, and Hayes has several projects in development with his production company.
Messing is enjoying more time with her 2-year-old son Roman. Roman makes me laugh harder than anyone in the entire world,” she says. “Since the show wrapped, I ve been able to just relax with him and go to Gymboree.”
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