Oh, honey! Eleven years after its final episode, Will & Grace will return to television screens on Thursday — and the show’s creators are more than ready to take a few digs at President Donald Trump.
At the Will & Grace revival Tribeca TV panel on Saturday, PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly editorial director Jess Cagle asked the creators how they’d react if, for any reason, Trump called them out as a “son of a bitch,” the phrase Trump used Friday during a rally to describe NFL players protesting during the national anthem.
“I guess I would rather be a son of a bitch than the son of someone who was arrested at a KKK rally,” responded co-creator David Kohan to rapturous laughter from the cast and audience. “What he said,” co-creator Max Mutchnick added. “I’m not going to beat that.”
In 1927, Trump’s father, Fred, was reportedly arrested after an altercation between the KKK and New York City police officers during a Memorial Day parade. The elder Trump wasn’t charged with a crime and at least one local paper from the time period noted Trump’s father “was dismissed on a charge of refusing to disperse” during the incident. President Trump has previously denied his father was arrested.
But while Kohan and Mutchnick might not care too much for the president’s approval, the cast and crew made it clear they very were excited to bring the show back to its devoted fans — with a few added upgrades and changes.
Ahead, nine other things we learned when Eric McCormack (Will), Debra Messing (Grace), Sean Hayes, (Jack), Megan Mullally (Grace), and co-creators and executive producers Mutchnick and Kohan got together in New York City to discuss the new season:
Just Jack is retired
“I’m happy to have people still do it because it’s an honor and a privilege that people feel compelled to do that,” said Hayes of his character’s signature hand gesture. “As far as creatively I just felt like, let’s invent a new thing.” Added McCormack: “Sean will sometimes do it privately for me.”
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Debra Messing asked the creators to make Grace a feminist in the revival
Asked about the process of getting back into character after all these years, Messing said: “It took a little bit. I think that the language was there and that I recognized right away and my body recognized that right away, but it’s been 11 years and I think that I was a little tentative. Eventually, by a certain episode, I relaxed and was like, ‘okay she’s back…’ The only thing that I asked for was that she be a feminist.” To which Megan Mullally chimed in, “I asked that for Karen too.”
Will and Grace work together in the new season
“They’re both doing very well,” explained McCormack. “Grace Adler Designs has become a big thing and Will as a lawyer is doing as well as he could possibly do and he wakes up one day and realizes, I spend my life around lawyers and clients and I want to do something that I love with someone that I love. So Will and Grace go into business together. I’m not cutting cloth or anything, I’m still a lawyer but I’m Grace’s lawyer and that’s going to create a lot of hilarity.”
Rosario won’t be back
“The actress Shelley Morrison who played Rosario has retired from the biz,” says Mullally. “So she’s not back, so there’ll be some changes there.”
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Jack trademarks a new acting technique
“Jack has trademarked a new acting technique called ‘Jack-ting’,” shared Hayes. “He does these hilarious things called ‘Just The Tips’ … it’s going to be on the internet and be their own live-on-their-own things. Karen gives life lesson tips.” (Karen’s have a DUI meets DIY theme and are court-ordered.)
McCormack was excited to get back to doing a sitcom after years of being on dramas
“We left this incredible confection of a show and did a lot of dramas,” said McCormack. “I’ve done three straight dramas and I’m still shooting one now The Travelers for Netflix. I literally finished it the day before… so I just got to leave straight FBI guy in the editing room and walk in and just be gay! I described it like, you finish dinner and think, ‘I couldn’t, but yes I’ll have a banana split.’ This is my banana split that I’m delighted to get back to.”
McCormack and Messing love when they go to dinner in New York City and fans can’t believe what’s happening
“The nice thing about Deb and I, is that we really have kept in touch,” explained McCormack. “Once maybe twice a year we have dinner often in New York which is always fun. It’s fun to be Will and Grace and go have dinner in New York somewhere: forks drop and people think they’re on TV.”
The cast’s chemistry is ageless
“The four of us are 11 years older,” said Messing. “But there’s something fundamental about our creative connection that’s ageless. When we’re 70 and above we’ll still have that kind of chemistry. Certainly, I feel Grace in my body differently, because I’m 11 years older and Grace went through a divorce, I went through a divorce. There are things that enrich our lives that have occurred.”
When it comes to chemistry on set, Mullally agreed with her costar. “I think when you have that kind of chemistry in any walk of life that never goes away,” she explained. “Think of certain exes — not all of them, just the good ones — you run into that person and there’s still a little something there.”
The show will continue to shine a spotlight on current issues
“The thing that I loved about the show from the very beginning was that was built into the DNA, was that within the comedy we were shining a light on what’s happening in the culture right now and politics right now,” said Messing. “Eleven years later the conversation has expanded… There are all these things that now are finally being celebrated in our culture and I think that the thing we all committed to each other was that we’re going to be the show we always were. We’re going to talk about what’s happening now.”
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Added Mullally: “I also think we have a lot more leeway now because when Will & Grace was on the air — at least for the first couple of seasons — there were no other shows with gay characters. We were standing alone in that regard and now if you don’t have at least four gay characters people are like, ‘What is this piece of sh–?’”
Will & Grace returns Thursday.