Now she's taken her talents to the big screen in the romantic comedy, "The Wedding Date," co-starring Dermot Mulroney. In it, she plays a dateless bachelorette who hires a male escort to pose as her boyfriend at her stepsister's wedding, where her ex-fiance is the best man.
As Kat, Messing is a successful and slightly uptight career woman who is trying her best to put a failed relationship behind her, but would rather die than go to her sister's wedding without a date.
"I think every woman can relate to the idea of encountering an ex and wanting to seem better off to be without them," Messing tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm.
Mulroney, as Nick, the escort, is a dreamboat. He knows exactly what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. In the beginning, it's all about business for him, but Kat's curiosity and innocence slowly wear him down.
The actor claims to have enjoyed his brief moment of onscreen nudity. "It was fun, you know," he says. "It's not often I get the opportunity to stand buck naked in front of someone as sweet and charming as Debra."
Messing, married and a new mother, says she takes vicarious pleasure in playing single women, such as the character in this movie and her role on "Will & Grace."
"There seems to be more spice when playing a single woman," she says. "Let's put it that way."
And she admits she has found it challenging to combine motherhood and work.
"Most people are working, whatever, either working mothers, working fathers," she says. "It's just the way things are in our country now. So everyone just does the best they can. So, you know, I know that I'm luckier than most because I can take him to work with me on 'Will & Grace.' It's wonderful to have him close by."
Debra Messing Fast Facts:
- Born Aug. 15, 1968, in Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Gained attention as Harper Pitt in student workshop production of "Angels in America: Perestroika".
- Made professional stage debut in production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" at Seattle's Intiman Theatre.
- In 1994, appeared Off-Broadway in "Four Dogs and a Bone" and "The Naked Truth."
- From 1994 to 1995, she had recurring role of scheming Dana Abandando on "NYPD Blue" (ABC).
- In 1995, made feature film debut in "A Walk in the Clouds." And starred as Stacey Colbert, a liberal journalist who enters into a marriage of convenience in order to land a coveted Manhattan apartment, in the Fox sitcom "Ned and Stacey".
- In 1996, played female lead in feature film version of "McHale's Navy," starring Tom Arnold. The following year, she made guest appearance as Jerry's unavailable crush on an episode of "Seinfeld" (NBC).
- In 1998, she replaced Sherilyn Fenn as star of the short-lived ABC midseason replacement sci-fi series "Prey;" played an anthropologist tracking an evolved species of man. She also had a tiny role as a journalist in Woody Allen's "Celebrity."
- And from 1998 to the present, she co-starred opposite Eric McCormack in the NBC sitcom "Will & Grace;" earned Emmy nominations in 2000 and 2001.
- In 2000, she starred as Mary Magdalene in the CBS miniseries "Jesus."
- 2002 was a busy year. She was cast opposite Richard Gere in "The Mothman Prophecies;" worked opposite Woody Allen in "Hollywood Ending;" and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical series for her role in "Will & Grace."
- In 2003, she received a People's Choice nomination for Favorite Female television performer, and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy series for her role in "Will & Grace".
- In 2004, she was cast alongside Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston in, "Along Came Polly," a film by writer-director John Hamburg. She also received SAG and Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on "Will & Grace." And received a People's Choice nomination for Favorite female television performer.
- Also in 2004, she voiced Arlene, Garfield's girlfriend in "Garfield: The Movie".
Dermot Mulroney Fast Facts:
- Born in Alexandria, Va., on Oct. 31, 1963.
- In 1986, made his TV debut, "Sin of Innocence," a CBS TV movie.
- In 1988, made his feature debut in Blake Edwards' "Sunset." He also joined Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Philips and Casey Siemaszko as the six cowboys of Christopher Cain's "Young Guns."
- In 1989, starred in "Unconquered" (CBS), the true story of Richmond Flowers Jr., who overcame illness, a physical handicap, and the derision of his classmates to become a world-class hurdler and football star. He also played a gay man and the first character to die of AIDS-related illness in "Longtime Companion."
- In 1990, acted with Sam Shepard in Michael Fields' "Bright Angel." Two years later, he had his first leading role in a feature, "Where the Day Takes You."
- In 1993, portrayed the clueless boyfriend to Bridget Fonda's trained assassin in "Point of No Return;" wrote the song "Someone Else's Used Guitar" for Peter Bogdanovich's "The Thing Called Love" (also credited as song performer on it and four other tunes, as well as acting in the movie); and reteamed with Shepard, portraying the prototypical Shepard "son" character in "Silent Tongue." Mulroney also acted with Steve Buscemi for the first time in "The Last Outlaw" (HBO).
- In 1994, had his first collaboration with director Tom DiCillo in the short "Scene Six, Take One," playing Wolf, the cinematographer, to Buscemi's director; second film with wife Catherine Keener.
- In 1995, served as associate producer of DiCillo's "Living in Oblivion," an expanded version of "Scene Six, Take One." And played Wynona Ryder's beau in "How to Make an American Quilt."
- In 1996, Mulroney reteamed with DiCillo and Keener for "Box of Moonlight," portraying a hostile grease monkey. He played a young upstart mobster in Robert Altman's "Kansas City;" Buscemi was also in cast. And he appeared briefly in Anjelica Huston's "Bastard Out of Carolina" (Showtime) as Jennifer Jason Leigh's sweet-tempered husband.
- In 1997, portrayed the prospective bridegroom caught between Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz in "My Best Friend's Wedding."
- In 1998, starred with Patricia Arquette and Don Johnson in the black comedy "Goodbye Lover."
- In 2000, he shared the screen with film legend Paul Newman and Linda Fiorentino in, "Where the Money Is." Was cast for his first film with writer-director Alan Rudolph, "Trixie," co-starring with Nick Nolte and Emily Watson (in the title role).
- In 2001, reteamed with Rudolph and Nolte on "Investigating Sex." Also appeared in Nicole Holofcener's "Lovely & Amazing" opposite Catherin Keener and Brenda Blethyn.
- In 2002, he had a comedic turn as Jack Nicholson's prospective son-in-law in "About Schmidt." The following year, he was cast in Rose Troche's drama, "The Safety of Objects."
- In 2004, starred with Josh Lucas in the dramatic thriller "Undertow."
Mulroney is also a musician. He plays the cello.