[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for the Wedding Season Season 1 Episode 8 finale.]
Hulu‘s Wedding Season takes the thrill of falling in love literally. When Katie (Rosa Salazar, Parenthood) and Stefan (Gavin Drea, Vikings: Valhalla) meet at a wedding, they spark an instant connection. The only problem is, Katie’s engaged to someone else.
Three months (and more wedding run-ins) later, Gavin crashes Katie’s wedding declaring his love for her. She rejects him, the wedding continues, but then her new husband and his family are murdered during the reception, and Katie and Stefan are the main suspects. Still in love with each other, they then go on the run in an attempt to prove their innocence (and lead viewers on a merry ride as to whether they will end up together).
Wedding Season‘s eight episodes are a genre-busting good time. Here, Drea and Wedding Season creator Oliver Lyttelton explain the combination rom-com/whodunnit thriller format, the chemistry between its leads, and plans for a possible Season 2 to TV Insider.
Why set this show across a string of weddings? What’s inherently funny or compelling about them that made you want to use it as a format for the show?
Oliver Lyttelton: I’ve talked about the idea that often the best episodes of TV shows are wedding episodes. I think of stuff like Parks and Recreation or 30 Rock, where definitely some of my favorites of those are the weddings. And one of the first things I said when I was pitching was like, “Let’s do a show where all the episodes are wedding episodes, and then they’ll all be the best.”
I’m getting married in about six weeks, and the idea of everyone you’ve ever known in a room together feels inherently terrifying/hilarious to me, which I guess is maybe why we ended up with this rom-com/ thriller intersection.
Gavin, beyond the high-stakes action in the show, there’s commentary about how ridiculous weddings can be. But I found Stefan’s take on what makes weddings beautiful to be endearing. What do you think about that moment?
Gavin Drea: He’s such an old romantic. I, as a person, would probably be quite pessimistic about that whole thing. Something I really liked about that scene is that first moment they meet and talk about it, it’s a good summation of the show as a whole.
Stefan takes a literal leap of faith in the premiere when he jumps across a building. How did that stunt work? Was it really you jumping?
Drea: Yeah! We jumped a big, old building. It was terrifying. Rosa was the first to go over. She always loves doing her own stunts, so obviously when she did it, I had to, of course. You do it a couple of times, and they’ve just got you on a wire. I remember as I was kind of gearing up to do my first one, I think they make this joke quite often, but the two cable guys who hold the wire made a joke out loud where they said, “God, this is crazy. This is my first day!” [Laughs]
It was great, because given the chance to do your own stunts like that I think really adds to it. Seeing Stefan really do it and go for it is great, because he’s not exactly a typical action hero. She’s the action hero, in a sense, so he’s just along for the ride.
Oliver, there are so many rom-coms and whodunnits — whodunnits especially right now. Was there anything you hadn’t seen in these genres before that you wanted to get on screen in Wedding Season?
Lyttelton: I always talk about how in a lot of rom-coms, falling in love is this thing that feels quite cozy and comforting, like a big warm hug. And for me, when I’ve fallen in love, it’s almost always been a process of me feeling nauseous and sweaty and terrified and anxious. I wanted a little bit of that in there, which was again partly where the thriller and the action and the whodunnit element of it came in.
Falling in love, to me, feels like being on the run and jumping off buildings and stuff like that. So as big and crazy as the show can be, we wanted that little vein of reality running through it.
Was there a scene you were particularly excited to see filmed?
Lyttelton: I was pretty excited to see the boat chase stuff in Episode 3, which was something that originally, in the early drafts, I said it was gonna be an electric car chase. Turns out they actually don’t go very fast. George, the director who went to see the location, was like, “Well, there’s this great big loch here. Maybe we make it a boat chase.”
As soon as we started kicking that around, that was really everyone putting their James Bond hats on. The day that you guys shot the boat stuff was I think the hottest day in the history of Scotland.
Drea: Yeah, it was. As you can imagine, a Scottish loch weather-wise can be pretty grim and unpredictable. We got the luckiest day where it was just perfect weather. That was one of those days where it probably would’ve been a good idea to have come along on set, because it turned out to be just a gloriously, wonderfully fun day. We actually filmed everything on time. We got ahead of ourselves. Some crew members were getting a bit of sunbathing in. It was just amazing.
Gavin, your and Rosa’s performances carry the rom-com narrative through the whole murder mystery. Did you two know each other before this project or were you just great scene partners from the jump?
Drea: Yeah! In fact, on the boat stuff. Our first day meeting was like a week before filming, and we had to do a day’s boat training to get our maritime license to be licensed to drive a little fisher boat, which doesn’t sound very James Bond, but it’s as close as I get.
It was kind of hilarious, ’cause it was in this little manmade lake in the middle of Manchester in very bad weather, sitting in a dinghy with this very strange instructor and while a bunch of 12-year-old kids did sailing lessons around us. [Laughs] The whole thing was just very silly and ridiculous. It was a great way to break the ice, and she was just so much fun. We just had a great time working together.
Sometimes people can really just click on a show. It was just really easy and fun, and she’s so passionate when she’s working. She always wants to make the best show. She’d raise the bar every day, and you just try and match it.
Was there anything that you brought to Stefan that might not have been on the page? Did you and Rosa come up with more Stefan and Katie backstory that we wouldn’t have seen on screen?
Drea: I suppose in a way with the backstory thing, the sequence in which we shot helped us do that, because in the first few episodes, you don’t really understand that they’ve been seeing each other for three months. You’re only sort of learning that in flashback. That boat chase stuff, a lot of that stuff on the run together, we actually shot first. We shot almost chronologically in story line sense, which really helped, I think, because we did have a sort of a great backstory. I didn’t have to dig into it anymore.
Also I didn’t want to, because there’s also a huge amount of mystery around Katie that I kind of didn’t want to know from Oli. It helps to be in that zone of ambiguity with her and kind of discovering her the way in which the audience are discovering her.
We’ve got to talk about that ending, but most of my questions are ones you can’t answer! Obviously, I want to know if Katie is alive or dead after that explosion. What can you share about the ending and what it means for a possible Season 2?
Lyttelton: A few people have asked me if the idea is for it to be an anthology if we went forward, like would we follow different characters? The plan is to definitely stick with the same characters. We’ve got some big plans. Gavin doesn’t actually know them yet. But yeah, we very much hope to do more.
Gavin, what was your reaction to the ending when you first learned about it?
Drea: To be honest, not too surprising. This is one of the great things I love about this show. I think audiences nowadays are so cinema literate without knowing it even. Because of the amount of streaming services, the amount of content we watch, it’s quite hard to shock and surprise an audience these days. And I have to say, feedback from a lot of my friends watching the show is that from Episode 1, most of the events are fairly unpredictable.
The rest of the show has had this wonderful ability to suddenly throw in a massive curve ball, so in a way I was sort of unsurprised that I was gonna be surprised by the ending.
It’s exciting to watch, because like you said, people are so cinema literate now that you can kind of see where something is going. But there’s fun to be had in the, “Oh, but will they make the choice to do it?”
Lyttelton: Yeah, absolutely.
Drea: I got a text in that final episode about the chapel scene. I got a message from somebody reacting in real time to a certain character being shot. And then obviously, I knew then what happens next. And they were like, “Oh no!” They had just told me it was one of their favorite characters, and I had to just not respond and just let them find out. It’s one of those wonderful shows where if you would watch that sequences of texts from that person, the emotional rollercoaster that they were on in Episode 8 alone was certainly worth the ticket price.
That’s fun. Oliver, have you gotten any fun reactions to the show from friends?
Lyttelton: Yeah. We have a character who pops up for the last couple of episodes played by the amazing Poppy Liu. She’s so fun. I think people have really loved her.
Her “I hate being kidnapped, it’s so exhausting” line is so funny.
Lyttelton: That was an ad-lib as well. I can take no credit.
Drea: She’s a force of nature in the best way.
Wedding Season, Streaming Now, Hulu