Dustin Milligan Talks New Comedy The People We Hate At The Wedding - Exclusive Interview

"The People We Hate at the Wedding," coming to Prime Video on November 18, is a hilariously raunchy new comedy about a relatably dysfunctional family and how all their issues bubble up at a family wedding. In the film, Alice (Kristen Bell) and Paul (Ben Platt) play American siblings who are pressured into going to the wedding of their estranged half-sister, Eloise (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). The British wedding is the perfect backdrop for old relationship issues and family secrets to come to the surface before the three siblings and their mother (Allison Janney) can ultimately move forward.


On the plane to England, Bell's character, Alice, meets Dennis, played by Dustin Milligan. You may know Milligan from his time on "Schitt's Creek" or from roles in films like "A Simple Favor" and "Extract." During an exclusive interview with The List, Milligan shared what it was like for him to work with Kristin Bell and the other actors in "The People We Hate at the Wedding." He also opened up about how he connected to his character and his personal philosophy on wedding drama.

Why Dustin Milligan took on this role

What first drew you to this project?

This script was out of the gate so good and sharp and funny. It's a good time from start to finish while also having a lot of very heartwarming and relatable interpersonal dynamics and family dynamics that are at play throughout the entire thing. 


When I first got the script, which [was] in the middle of the pandemic, we were all in a very focused place in terms of the people that we were in the house with and our family, whether we [were] far away from them or not, and what those relationships [were]. The script did a great job of exploring this highly dysfunctional, very messy family and all of these different people, these different personalities that have, as they've grown up and grown apart from each other, hardened themselves and created these ideas of who they are. It's this very exciting and fun-for-audiences adventure of a wedding that we know is going to go wrong.

As that happens, and everything [blows] up, they're able to, in a very funny, simple, entertaining way, pick the pieces back up and rebuild these new versions of themselves and this new version of their family in a way that is, again, very heartwarming without being schmaltzy and cheesy and too over-the-top. It's not trying to hit you up the head with the message. All of that in one script is such an incredible feat that it was a no-brainer for me.


How he connected to his character

Did you feel like you connected to your character in any ways?

Yeah, for sure. Dennis is this wide-eyed, "gee, golly, what a cool adventure, here I am in first class on this flight" [guy]. I very much was experiencing that by being in London and being on this wonderful movie with this incredible cast that I couldn't believe I got to be working with. All of that was very present in my experience while shooting this film. I was like, "Wow, this is so neat."


Also, the thing with Dennis is that he appears at first glance to be one thing, but there's a lot more going on underneath. I think all of us can relate to that. We all present as one type of person or feel like we have to present as one type of person, but there's so much more. There are multitudes and layers within each of us, and Dennis certainly is an example of ... As we get to know him throughout the film, he's got more going on — more wisdom, more street smarts and world sense about him — that ends up playing a pretty important role in terms of Alice's journey.

Throughout the film, all the characters have this front they put up, and then you slowly get to know more of the layers of them. Was that something that you found as you were reading the script and getting more into the character also?


It was such a cool dynamic because you have all of these characters who are refusing to be vulnerable, refusing to show that they care about each other or about their own lives, about themselves. 

Then [you have] someone like Dennis, who very much is in the moment and is himself through and through, and [you see] how that all comes together and how he fits into that puzzle. It's something that I feel is very relatable [and] that I was very drawn to because I love when somebody comes in and interrupts the status quo and interrupts the plan, but not in a way that's malicious or with any agenda. He simply does so by being himself and being this goofy, nice guy. I think that is a wonderful kind of character, a gift to be able to play.

How did you feel you differed from him as a character?

I haven't seen "Paddington." Dennis is a huge "Paddington" fan, and I've never seen it. That's probably the first thing. Everyone says it's good. They say "Paddington 2" is even better. I'm really messing up.

That aside, I do think that there's a lot I was able to learn from Dennis in how present he is and upfront he is about being himself and willing to expose himself emotionally for Alice. He ends up getting rejected and not being treated super well, but then he stands up for himself afterward. All of that is something we could all probably take a lesson from.


Working with Kristen Bell and the rest of the cast

You and Kristen Bell's character, Alice, have all this fun banter throughout the film. What were those scenes like to film?

I loved it. She's such a professional and so on it and ready to play. [She's] very game for finding all these little moments in between lines and the best versions of these interactions that we had and building that spark and that romance. Also, I was a huge fan beforehand, so you're always a little nervous about what you're going to get once you're on set and [find out] who this person is actually going to be in real life. But she exceeded expectations in every way and is truly lovely, genuine, caring, and a wonderful scene partner.


The whole cast is really funny to watch, so I imagine it was funny on set. What was it like to work with all of them?

They were all great. I had a few opportunities to sit around in between takes with Allison and Ben and Kristen together. I know they had a lot of stuff [to film]. It was nice because all these people are so accomplished and so good at what they do, and little old me is there sitting in the corner, just excited to be there. 

I never felt like an outsider and was always a part of the team. Also, [it felt] so normal. We were joking around and having a lot of fun. Then, when we were all super tired, we were sitting there not saying anything, which is the norm, and nothing was forced, which I always appreciate. It wasn't like practical jokes or pranks or anything like that. It was just [being] genuine, making each other laugh, and engaging in what we were talking about. [It was] a really lovely time.


Dustin's favorite memories from filming

Did you have any favorite scenes to film?

I really liked the first meeting with Kristen. That was a lot of fun, again, because my character is so blown away by being upgraded to first class, so it's fun to play. And then there's a moment where Dennis calls Alice out on her behavior and the way she's been treating him and also treating herself. That also was a nice moment to play.


Do you have any favorite memories from the filming or from being on set?

London was lovely to walk around, and it's very green and a very walkable city. That was probably my fondest memory of the entire thing — taking in this very old city with all the history and the culture. It was truly a special thing. I was there for a very long time. Because of COVID, [I couldn't] fly back and forth, so I had a lot of time to truly explore, which was nice.

How Dustin Milligan handles wedding drama

The film is called "The People We Hate at the Wedding." Do you think there are any stereotypes that you would fall into as the person you are at a wedding?

I don't know. ... I love dancing at a wedding, to a point. I get very tired very quickly. But before that happens, I love all the ups and downs of a wedding. I never really am part of any significant drama or anything at a wedding. That being said, that could just be because I'm this a**hole at the wedding that other people are talking about. I just don't know. 


But personally, I love to sit back and [enjoy] the energy and spirit of a wedding, if it's not one of those crazy, over-the-top things where some parents are controlling, or [one] of the two people getting married are being super controlling. As long as none of that's happening, I feel like it's so easy to sit back and enjoy the food and the drinks and wait to hit that dance floor.

What do you hope the overall message or feeling is that viewers take away after seeing the movie?

I hope that people laugh and can have a good time. There are a lot of well-executed, heartfelt, and emotional plotlines that are woven through the entire script in a way that doesn't hit you over the head with [these] overwhelming, dramatic interruptions of the comedy. I hope that people enjoy it, and I think they can relate to the dysfunctionality of this family. I think we all have some elements of that in our own families or in our lives. 


Also, I think the beautiful thing about a wedding going wrong is that at every wedding we go to, we are kind of waiting for some disaster to occur. We don't really want it to happen, but at the same time, if it does happen, it's hot gossip, and everyone can talk about it for the rest of the wedding. So I hope that people enjoy that and escape for the hour and a half or however long it is. Sit down with your family, maybe pop a bottle of wine, or sit down alone and watch it.

"The People We Hate at the Wedding" is launching globally on Prime Video on November 18.

This interview has been edited for clarity.