Will & Grace fans, Debra Messing's character has changed in a very big way

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Susan Devaney
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It’s been 11 years since Will & Grace bowed out from our TV sets.

But with the impending return of Will Truman and Grace Adler on our small screens this week, talk of both old and new has dominated the conversation.

The Emmy-winning eight-season run of the first series followed the lives of Will, Grace, Karen and Jack in a progressive, out-spoken and cultural aware comedic series – and the new season is set to follow on with more big laughs and bigger love.

During an appearance at the Tribeca TV Festival (Saturday 23 September) actress Debra Messing – who plays Grace – said that she had one important request before agreeing to return to the hit TV show.

“The only thing that I asked for was that Grace be a feminist,” Messing said, according to Vulture.

Messing’s request should come as no surprise to her fans, as it’s consistent with her personal and political beliefs. 

Before attending the Women’s March in Washington D.C earlier this year, she told The Hollywood Reporter: “We believe that a woman’s right to make medical and reproductive decisions are her own. We believe in a person’s right to love and marry whomever they want. We stand behind dreamers and their right to not be ripped apart from their families.

“We are celebrating and making very clear to the administration that we believe it’s time that there is an actual Equal Rights Amendment. That, 2017, it’s time for our government to finally assert that women and men are equal.”

And Messing has also previously shared stories of sexism on set that she suffered early on her career.

Speaking at a conference showcasing women’s stories, the Will & Grace actor said that her first big film, 1995’s A Walk in the Clouds, was memorable for all the wrong reasons – claiming the director made a “power play” with an unnecessary nude scene and humiliated her with comments about her appearance.

Messing, who was 25 at the time, recalls a kissing scene with her co-star Keanu Reeves being interrupted by director Alfonso Arau, who reportedly “screamed ‘Cut’” and said, “How quickly can we get a plastic surgeon in here? Her nose is ruining my movie.”

“I was so confident coming out of graduate school with my masters in acting,” she told the audience at the 2017 Makers Conference in California. “I'd studied in London and I was so well equipped with skill sets, and then to walk on set and have that happen – I was reduced to an un-Hollywood nose.”

She added: “I felt ugly, I felt like garbage.”

Messing said it took her “years and years” to be at peace with her appearance in the face of Hollywood’s limited ideals: “There is a very narrow definition of what a beautiful, vital, vibrant, interesting woman looks like, and that's the thing we're constantly fighting against.

“My entire career I've been swimming in that pond, where it's like, ‘Oh no, you don't look right’.”

We can totally get behind Grace’s fight for feminism. 

Will & Grace premieres on Thursday 28 September on NBC.

Images: Rex Features