After 12 seasons on CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” Kaley Cuoco stumbled on her latest role while online
NEW YORK — Kaley Cuoco knew she wanted to turn Chris Bohjalian’s best-selling novel “The Flight Attendant’ into a TV series when the book caught her eye online.
“The cover of the book is a blonde woman. It just kind of looks like me,” she recalled in a recent interview. Cuoco read the one sentence summary and called her agent. “The first thing I asked was, ‘Has Reese Witherspoon gotten the rights to this book?’” she said.
When she learned Witherspoon had not optioned the book, Cuoco said she instructed her team to hurry and nab the rights because she wanted to make it into a TV series.
“My entire team was like, ‘Great. So, you read it? Tell us about it.’ I hadn’t read it, but I knew I needed them to get moving. I’m trying to make up all these things that I think it’s going to be.”
Cuoco says she then read the book for real and thankfully loved it “because that would have been embarrassing.”
Fast-forward to now and “The Flight Attendant” debuts Thursday on HBO Max. Cuoco is an executive producer and stars as Cassie, a party girl flight attendant who meets a handsome man on a flight to Bangkok. She spends the night with him on a layover, and wakes up to him dead in her bed.
She panics and leaves, and while she’s at work on another plane, authorities discover the body. Cuoco becomes a suspect in the murder since she doesn’t remember what happened.
After 12 years as a lead on the CBS hit “The Big Bang Theory,” Cuoco said her goal for what came next in her career was to play an interesting character — it didn’t matter what genre.
The writers wrote Cassie in Cuoco’s voice, allowing some quirkiness and humor to shine through. She was also able to show her range.
“By the time we get to episode six, seven and eight, there’s such an emotional crash and breakdown that I’ve never been able to do before. I’m just so excited for people to see that.”
The pace of work was new for Cuoco, who was accustomed to the sitcom filming schedule, which actors will gleefully admit is akin to a 9-to-5 job, except for taping days.
“I’ve never worked like this before,” said Cuoco. She jokes that one day when she had a 3:40 a.m. pickup time, she was confused: “I remember saying, ‘Is this a.m.?’ I didn’t understand what I was looking at. I’m like, ‘It must be a night shoot.’ I could not wrap my brain around that.”
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