Monty Python alumnus John Cleese is flying to Will & Grace. The veteran comedian has signed on to do six episodes of the Emmy-winning NBC comedy, playing Lestor Finster, the father of Lorraine Finster (Minnie Driver), mistress of the late husband of Karen Walker (Megan Mullally). Driver also is returning to the show for as many as six episodes for more clashes with Mullally after Lorraine's homicide attempt on Karen in the show's season finale in May. To make things more complicated between the two, romantic sparks will start to fly between Karen and Lestor, putting Lorraine and Karen in a strange relationship between stepmother and stepdaughter.
"The budding and perverse romance between [Lestor and Karen] is going to span the whole season," Will & Grace executive producer Jeff Greenstein said. The comedic potential in the height discrepancy between 6-foot 5-inch Cleese and 5-foot 4-inch Mullally was one reason to go after Cleese for the role. But it was the producers' great admiration for his work--including Monty Python's Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, and A Fish Called Wanda as well as his memorable Emmy-winning performance on an episode of NBC's Cheers, directed by Will & Grace executive producer James Burrows--that led to Cleese's casting 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."
Cleese is the latest addition to the top-notch guest-star roster on Will & Grace, which included Demi Moore, Madonna, and Gene Wilder last season, with Wilder winning an Emmy for his performance as the insecure boss of Will Truman (Eric McCormack). Slated to appear on the show this season are also Mira Sorvino and Dylan McDermott.