A Secret Fifth Lead of 'Will & Grace' Was Fired Days into Shooting, Leaving Star Eric McCormack Feeling 'Terrible'

Did you know ‘Will & Grace’ almost had a fifth cast member — a Black one, at that?

We all know and love the lead four Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally — but in the premiere episode of their Just Jack & Will podcast, Eric and Sean revealed that when the NBC pilot was filmed in 1998, they had another costar: Cress Williams.

Cress was cast as Will Truman’s (McCormack) law partner and friend.

“There were five characters as regulars,” Eric said. “And the fifth was my partner at my small law firm.

Eric added that the character was “probably written as Jewish” initially, but they ended up hiring Cress for the role. However, two days into filming, Friends director James Burrows — who also directed episodes of Will & Grace — decided that five was too many.

“Jimmy just went to the boys [creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan] and said, ‘It’s just too many. It’s one finger too many. These four are the show,’” recalled eric, who also admitted to feeling “terrible” for Cress despite the character not being the right fit for the story.

“It was nothing he did or didn’t do,” Eric added. “It just didn’t fit what the show is supposed to be.”

Hm. We have a suspicious feeling there was more than just ‘too many’ cast members at play here. Nevertheless, we still love ‘Will & Grace.’

Share This Post