They have relationship problems (she’s having an affair with the married architect she works for; he’s in a relationship with a man who just wants a threesome), they have family problems (resentment with both his widowed mother and well-to-do half-sister) . They are bitter, salty and constantly make bad decisions.
They are easily among the messiest characters any of the actors have ever played.
“I’ve played a lot of disasters,” admits Bell, the Good place Y bad mothers admitted the actress. However, Alice is up there. And there’s something incredibly intriguing about watching someone make bad decisions. The entertainment is cathartic on some level throughout. And when you’re watching these characters, the best thing Ben and I did was try to make them likable, but you’re watching them make these horrible decisions, it’s like, ‘No! Nope! Why are you doing that?’ So I think it’s appealing to the audience to see the level of dysfunction that they start at, and it also gives them a big open road to bring them to a better point in all of their family relationships.”
“In terms of the surface level of ‘messy,’ he’s definitely the messiest character I’ve ever played,” says Platt, the Perfect tone student who was last seen in the musical Dear Evan Hansen. “I’ve played characters who do a lot more messy things than he does, but are closer together in superficial ways. Paul is a bit messier. But he also shoots from the hip. He’s very witty, and obviously a smart guy, and cautious and he’s still figuring out ways to love himself… but as Kristen said, it was a lot of fun reading the script and finding someone who’s so clearly in the place that we hope they’ll be. go to be when we first meet them, and then we support them to get there.”
At his point, perfect characters can also be boring. And messy characters can be really funny, which gave Bell and Platt a lot of space in the people we hate — which finds them venturing to London with their mother (Allison Janney) for their half-sister’s (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) – to unleash comically.
That was a highlight for Dustin Milligan (Schitt’s Cove), who plays Mr. Right-type Bell’s Alice meets on the flight to London, and then continually sabotages their relationship.
“I’m a huge fan of his, and have been for a long time,” Milligan says of Bell. “But then, to really experience the person, it’s always something different. I’ve had the good fortune in my career to be able to work with really big, well-known iconic actors. And you never know what the difference will be between how you perceive them on camera and who they are in real life. And she’s so warm and committed and ready to play and so funny and witty that she really made it so easy to jump in and just get going and build that relationship right away. …Everyone, like Ben and Allison too, are just amazing.”
Addai-Robinson (The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power) was challenged to play the straight woman to the misbehaving brothers of Bell and Platt.
“You have to recognize that part of it is giving that space for the other actors to just riff,” she says. “Sometimes you literally get out of the way and let it happen. And, as fun as the movie is, there are definitely a lot more serious aspects to what some of these characters are navigating. So it’s great because it’s still grounded and grounded in things that feel sincere and relatable, especially when it comes to family dynamics and those hurt feelings and things left unsaid. But I think when you laugh, you laugh because you recognize some kind of truthful element of how outrageous family can be sometimes.”
So why are family relationships so complicated?
“I think it all comes down to the fact that we are social creatures and we desperately want to be accepted by a group,” says Bell. “And the first group you are introduced to is your family. I mean, it’s proven: air, water, food, acceptance are the things we monkeys want the most. So once you’ve met your basic needs, you’re just struggling to feel good enough in your first group, your family dynamic. And then hopefully everyone can grow up and figure out who they are. But the reunification of that, when you come back to your family as an adult, sometimes presents a lot of problems because people may have grown apart. And I think the ultimate lesson for me, which is like one big life lightbulb, is that you can disagree with every opinion someone in your family has, but you can still love them.”
The people we hate at the wedding premieres Friday on Prime Video.
Watch the trailer: