by Hans ten Cate (special thanks to Kim 'Howard' Johnson)
Monday, 29 September 2003

John Cleese will be featured in six episodes of Will & Grace this season. He will be playing Lestor Finster, the new love interest of Karen Walker, portrayed by Megan Mullally (lower left)

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John Cleese's assistant, Kim 'Howard' Johnson, wrote to tell us that Cleese “will be doing six episodes of Will & Grace this season, playing Lestor Finster, the father of [Lorraine Finster,] the character played by Minnie Driver. He will also be the new romantic interest for Megan Mullally's character [Karen Walker].”

Cleese will film the first two episodes in October, says Howard, and the remainder of his appearances should be scattered through the season. “The budding and perverse romance between [Lestor and Karen] is going to span the whole season,” Will & Grace executive producer Jeff Greenstein has been quoted as saying. [1]

It was the producers' admiration for Cleese's work that led to him being cast in the role. “He's just a magnificent actor, and he knows funny,” said Greenstein. “In terms of the comedic rhythms of Will & Grace — we're hyperverbal — it just seems like the kind of comedy that he would naturally fit with.” [1]

In explaining his commitment to the series, Cleese said that he agreed to do the role, “...partly because I like the show so much - I watch it with my daughter, it's her favourite show - and partly because it's directed by Jimmy Burrows, the only TV director I've ever worked with whom I'd seriously call a genius.” [2] James Burrows, who is also an executive producer of Will & Grace, directed Cleese as Dr. Simon Finch-Royce in a 1987 episode of Cheers.