How Kaley Cuoco obtained ‘The Flight Attendant’ off the bottom

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Don’t inform Kaley Cuoco to not choose a ebook by its cowl. It labored for her.

“It actually was so simple as that,” she says of how she discovered “The Flight Attendant.” “I’m undecided anybody believes me, however I used to be scanning Amazon, and coming [book] releases, and I noticed the sentence on what the ebook was. I noticed the quilt, and I used to be like, ‘Wow.’
“The duvet was actually lovely. It didn’t appear like me, but it surely was a blond girl with this hair like she was operating,” she says, re-creating the pose within the photograph on a Zoom name, miming the locks flowing behind her along with her arms. “And I learn the 2 sentences, one thing enjoyable: ‘Drunk flight attendant wakes up subsequent to lifeless physique.’”

Which makes one query Cuoco’s concept of enjoyable, however …

“I do know this sounds tacky, however I obtained an enormous chill up my backbone, and I believed, ‘Oh, my God, I gotta learn this. It’s a film. No, this may very well be a TV present.’ I instantly referred to as my legal professional: ‘Are you able to examine if Reese Witherspoon has the rights to this ebook?’ ”

Thankfully for Cuoco, Witherspoon will need to have been busy that day, and the previous “Massive Bang Principle” star finally landed the rights to Chris Bohjalian’s novel.

“Abruptly I used to be like, ‘What the hell am I imagined to do with this?’ And so they’re like, ‘We thought you had a plan.’ ‘I don’t actually have a plan; somebody’s gotta assist me!’ ”

Thus started Cuoco’s wild experience because the shepherd of a challenge from begin to end for the primary time. She took it to Peter Roth at Warner Bros., who obtained the ball rolling, and teamed with showrunner Steve Yockey (“Supernatural”). She discovered producing on the fly, was deeply concerned within the casting and naturally starred within the eight episodes of the HBO Max present, which has obtained nominations for sequence, ensemble and lead actress from SAG, the Critics Selection Awards and the Golden Globes.

All of that’s much more spectacular when one considers the present’s hairpin tonal shifts. It’s a comedy-thriller with twists, intercourse, repressed recollections of a cruelty-tinged childhood, graphic violence and plenty and plenty of ingesting — as in, the lead character, Cassie, is a functioning alcoholic.

“I’ve recognized one very nicely, it’s precisely that: They go to work, they’re profitable, they’re the lifetime of the occasion, and so they can get all their stuff accomplished,” she says, explaining why there are such a lot of scenes of Cassie downing vodka and so few of her uncontrolled. However to Cuoco, it was when Cassie didn’t drink that issues obtained attention-grabbing.

“If she didn’t get the drink she wanted, that’s when she began to spiral. ‘How lengthy has she been with no drink?’ That’s how she will get by means of the day. That’s how she goes to sleep. She has a shot and does her job. She has a extremely true, true, true drawback.”

However it’s a comedy! Or it usually is. Typically it’s not, and never simply when there’s hazard of somebody being garroted by a thriller murderer. There’s a really deep vein wherein Cassie’s loving brother (performed sympathetically by T.R. Knight) tries to wake her as much as what their childhood was actually like, together with her position in it.

“It was such a effective line of comedy and drama,” she mentioned. “So many scenes, I might do it 5 alternative ways. I’m like, ‘OK, this one, we’re gonna be humorous,’ after which the subsequent one, I might bawl my eyes out. There have been so many choices within the modifying bay. Attending to see that from behind the scenes, which I’ve by no means been in a position to do my whole profession … if I may inform you what number of conversations we had with the phrase ‘tone’ concerned, it was nuts.”

She laughs on the thought that every one these unused takes may make for a really completely different model of “The Flight Attendant.”

“We may have a brilliant darkish reduce,” she says. “We may have amusing observe and do a sitcom reduce. We may do an motion film. We knew what we wished, but it surely was going to be a extremely effective line of how we obtained there.”

The present has been renewed for Season 2, and there are many threads to drag. Will Cassie work with the CIA? Will she proceed the ghostly courtship with homicide sufferer Alex (Michiel Huisman) in her “Thoughts Palace”? Cuoco says they’ve simply settled on their writers room, and there’s a lot to be determined, however she is aware of she desires to observe Cassie on the rocky highway of tried sobriety.

“Cassie thinks, ‘OK, I’ve handled my dad, my brother and I are good, I’m not ingesting anymore and I’m completely happy,’ and [she’ll realize], ‘Oh, my God, no, I’m not over this.’ This can be a lifelong combat for her, and it’s not going to be as straightforward as she thinks.”

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