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Debra Messing on Nothing Like the Holidays

Published December 11, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros
Nothing Like the Holidays is a Latino family reunion. Debra Messing plays the Caucasian spouse trying to hang in there. On the set, she was also the minority, in a cast including Alfred Molina, Luis Guzman, Freddie Rodriguez and Elizabeth Pena.

Messing Enjoys the Holidays


"That was one of the things that drew me to the part, was I’d never played a part like that before," Messing said. "I’d never served that function within a story before. And yes, at the second I got there I felt like an outsider. People were speaking Spanish, I didn't understand, people were telling jokes with references that just went over my head .It was very clear that I was the outsider because I didn’t know everybody but then as the time went by and we all just became such close friends, I found my inner Latina a little bit. I have a little bounce on my hips."

Of course, the point of the movie is not to make everyone Latin. "By the end the cultural difference just became irrelevant. I think that for me, what I came away from the movie feeling is that at first it’s just so present and by the end you realize oh we’re all the same. It’s just about family and that the larger themes sort of rise to the top."


Nothing Like the Holidays PosterNothing Like the Holidays


Also, everyone's a potty mouth. "My mother’s going to be so proud. Okay, I will be forthcoming. Yes, I did have a potty mouth, but it was in an attempt to fit in. I was the outsider, and everybody else had the most filthy mouth, had told the dirtiest possible stories and jokes I’d ever heard in my entire life. I was the little nerdy white girl on the outside and I was like okay, I could hang. So I did my little F-bombs and some other stories and I think I just shocked the crap out of everybody."

Regardless of the ethnicity, winter in Chicago was universally uncomfortable. "It was 25 below zero, and that's not an exaggeration. 25 below zero, and we had to be outside for ten hours. We would huddle, we would huddle like little penguins, with our little eggs. We’d be like okay, stay warm, stay warm, stay warm, stay warm. And actually I think it was because it was so just horrendous there that the community was able to sort of show their character, because literally every single house on that block opened their doors to us. Really when they'd say cut, it would be like, 'Come in, come and get warm.' They made tea, they made soup."

Nothing Like the Holidays opens to theaters on December 12th.

For the poster, trailer and more movie info, go to the Nothing Like the Holidays Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros
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