Balancing tragedy with comedy in Netflix’s “Irreplaceable You”

Netflix/Linda Kallerus (LOS ANGELES) — Netflix’s Irreplaceable You promises to make you both laugh and cry…maybe at the same time.

The film stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw — from Black Mirror’s Emmy-winning episode “San Junipero” — and Michiel Huisman, who plays Daenerys’ lover Daario in Game of Thrones.  They play a newly engaged couple faced with an uncertain future after a devastating cancer diagnosis, but they handle the tragic situation with humor.  That’s what Mbatha-Raw said drew her to the role.

“It’s like a tightrope ’cause I’m laughing one minute and crying the next and this is a really tricky tone to pull off,” she told ABC Radio at the film’s New York premiere. “Not to take away from the seriousness of the subject matter, but I think this movie is not about cancer, it’s about letting go [and] releasing control.”

Much like her character, Mbatha-Raw had to learn to “let go” during the movie’s “very quick shoot.” She and Huisman had to develop their characters’ long-term relationship in a matter of days.

“We didn’t have a lot of time so I think we both just had to kind of jump in and try and create this relationship that had been going since they were like eight years old, you know?” she said. “So we sort of relied on being really playful with each other.”

That playfulness carried over to her other co-stars as well. Mbatha-Raw, who hadn’t done much comedy before, was thrown into scenes with comedic heavyweights Kate McKinnon, Steve Coogan, and Christopher Walken.

“It was really a master class to be able to be around that energy and I learned so much,” she says. “…There was a real improvisation spirit within, certainly, the group scenes, which I just love.” 

Prepare to feel all the feels. Irreplaceable You debuts on Netflix today.

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