Kaley Cuoco Thanks You for Flying With ‘The Flight Attendant’
This interview contains spoilers for Thursday’s finale of “The Flight Attendant.”
Early in “The Flight Attendant” on HBO Max, Kaley Cuoco’s titular character Cassie asks, “What’s incorrect with messy?” She’s referring partly to her style in Russian literature (lengthy story) but in addition to herself. What’s incorrect with being somewhat sophisticated, she wonders?
On this planet of tv, exhibits which are sophisticated usually get in comparison with critical literature. However a genre-straddling romp like “The Flight Attendant” — half mystery-thriller, half existential romance, half screwball comedy and semi-surrealist character examine — dangers getting branded as nothing greater than senseless enjoyable. Critics have in contrast the restricted sequence, tailored from a novel by Chris Bohjalian, to a summer time seaside learn (Vainness Honest, The Hollywood Reporter, CNN) and an airport page-turner (USA At this time, Selection, Rolling Stone).
There’s a particular escapist enchantment, together with luxurious surroundings that was shot in Bangkok and Rome earlier than the pandemic. (New York manufacturing paused through the shutdown and resumed within the fall beneath strict protocols — the final three episodes have been the primary ones affected.) After a yr of social distancing, lockdowns and rising nervousness, “individuals simply craved this kind of present,” Cuoco mentioned of her first live-action sequence since “The Huge Bang Principle.”
“It felt nearly crucial — it was lighthearted; it was quirky,” she mentioned. “It was refreshing to fake we have been nonetheless within the Earlier than Instances.”
On the similar time, the present has a deeper emotional core that ought to resonate with “anybody residing by 2020,” mentioned the showrunner Steve Yockey. Because the outdated track goes, one night time in Bangkok makes the get together lady tumble: Cassie’s life goes into free-fall after she wakes up subsequent to a lifeless date, which leads her to make each dangerous determination doable and relive fairly a little bit of buried trauma alongside the best way.
Heading into Thursday’s finale, “The Flight Attendant” had already revealed its largest mysteries: who killed Cassie’s fling Alex Sokolov (Michiel Huisman) and why. All that remained was for a newly sober Cassie to attempt to defend herself and eventually tidy up her messy life as just a few final twists performed out. Others within the present had their very own intrigue to kind out, together with Annie (Zosia Mamet), Cassie’s pal and legal professional, and Megan (Rosie Perez), a flight attendant colleague.
“There’s something enjoyable about everybody within the present having some kind of secret,” Yockey mentioned.
In separate cellphone interviews, Cuoco and Yockey mentioned the finale’s large reveals, the present’s tonal shifts and Season 2 potentialities. These are edited excerpts from the conversations.
I learn the e-book, but Imperial Atlantic flight attendant Shane [Griffin Matthews] as a secret C.I.A. agent was not one thing I anticipated.
KALEY CUOCO Shock!
STEVE YOCKEY For those who return, there are these nice little Shane issues that resonate on a second viewing. Within the first F.B.I. interview, he spontaneously begins talking Russian after which asks the F.B.I. all these questions, as an alternative of answering their questions. In Rome, he grills Megan about her pal. It appears catty within the second, however he’s truly doing his job. The Shane reveal was meant to be a enjoyable capper on the massive climax. It wasn’t one thing that individuals may suss out upfront.
What concerning the twist during which Felix/Buckley [Colin Woodell] was revealed to be stalking Alex after which Cassie all through the entire sequence? The flashback montage demonstrates that he’s been there all alongside however even when you already know he’s there, it’s arduous to select him out, particularly on the unique flight to Bangkok.
YOCKEY The concept was to only really feel his presence. It’s a glancing factor, just like the resort digital camera footage the place he’s within the prime nook of the display screen. However once we have been capturing on the airplane set, we couldn’t fill the airplane in the identical approach that we usually would.
CUOCO We shot all of Buckley’s stalker scenes earlier than the pandemic, besides the one the place we wished him on the airplane with all people. I want we had that shot. Once we got here again, there have been solely eight extras. They have been additionally doubling as crew members, and we combined them up and moved them round with wigs or completely different garments. At one level, I used to be like, “That particular person flying yesterday is now on this bar. We’ve obtained to attempt to conceal this higher.” It was in all probability my O.C.D. eye noticing greater than anybody else would have.
What different components did it’s important to alter or rewrite after the sequence’s pandemic hiatus?
YOCKEY We did do away with a automobile crash. Within the authentic model of the automobile struggle in Episode 6, Miranda [Michelle Gomez] begins her automobile, the man from behind strangles her, she steps on the gasoline and slams the automobile into a close-by dumpster to launch the airbag, which throws the man within the again seat, and he or she stabs him within the eye. We discovered methods to do it with out the automobile crash, as a result of the variety of individuals we might have wanted to be concerned was prohibitive. That’s truly our stunt coordinator enjoying the murderer.
The script was filled with nutty moments and turns. Kaley, did you ever discover something somewhat arduous to swallow?
CUOCO The toughest factor was Cassie making out with Alex within the tiny airplane bathroom. I bear in mind going, “Guys, that is so ridiculous! This is able to by no means occur!” After which the workforce began sending me articles and blogs about flight attendants and the mile-high membership. Folks had actually carried out this. That was a shock to me, as a result of trying on the dimension of the toilet? OK, I guess two individuals may slot in there. However to truly be bodily? [Laughs.] That took some convincing.
This present has so many tonal jumps, particularly when Cassie’s ingesting or freaking out. The finale might be the longest time we spend with Cassie sober.
CUOCO One thing I fought for was to have Cassie drink extra. Typically the community thought Cassie was ingesting an excessive amount of, and I saved saying, “This lady, she is a functioning alcoholic.” I do know a functioning alcoholic, and once they’re not ingesting is once they’re truly at their worst. Cassie drinks all day. I didn’t need it to really feel like she was ingesting each second, however she steals these little bottles to outlive the day. Even when she’s ingesting, I wished to verify Cassie wasn’t sloppy on a regular basis. She does have her act collectively in some methods, however there’s so much happening in her thoughts.
YOCKEY Each time Cassie has a breakdown, Kaley would strive one thing completely different. With the Sunday college classroom scene, she gave a kind of uncooked, quiet efficiency. Then she tapped into one thing tremendous emotional. Then she did one thing in between.
CUOCO As a result of it was so tonally difficult, I did each scene a number of methods. It grew to become a joke on set. I’d be like, “OK, guys, this one goes to be humorous!” after which there could be tears rolling down my face.
There are such a lot of escapist components — the journey, the places, the garments — however an sudden breakout was the hair. May Cassie’s type be the brand new “Rachel”?
CUOCO That was a giant matter of dialog. [Laughs.] I wished the hair to be a press release. I wished it to appear to be Cassie may put it collectively when wasted, or if she partied all night time and wakened like that. She lives in a teeny tiny house, and I imagine she spends all her cash on how she appears to be like.
We barely did any hair or make-up in the previous few episodes. I’d cry all day and never contact up the mascara. I had some actually darkish circles beneath my eyes. This lady was going downhill and we needed to let it go. When Cassie goes on that bender, she’s giving up. I felt like she was going to drink herself to loss of life. However when she’s getting again on monitor, I used to be like, “Guys, she’s been in these garments for 3 days.” That’s why I wished her to go purchase the “I Love NY” sweatshirt, to assist clear her up somewhat.
This present was deliberate as a restricted sequence however on condition that it discovered an viewers, may there be one other season? [Update: On Friday HBO Max announced that it is renewing ”The Flight Attendant.”]
CUOCO We’ve been having some conversations about what a second season would appear to be. All of Cassie’s antics earlier than, it was all the time like, “Effectively, that’s simply Cassie!” What if we go down this route of her residing this new way of life, making an attempt to be sober and clear up her act, and there’s no excuse anymore? And what does work now appear to be? What does love now appear to be?
YOCKEY The ingesting was a symptom of the emotional trauma, and all the opposite stuff was a byproduct of the ingesting. So we’ll see when she will get sober. It doesn’t imply that the remainder of the erratic conduct calms down.
CUOCO And the way do you reside an trustworthy life should you’ve by no means lived an trustworthy life? That’s not going to vary in two [Alcoholics Anonymous] conferences.
Within the e-book, Cassie finally ends up pregnant.
CUOCO I can safely say we don’t go there. That was a bit too far.
YOCKEY Kaley has the veto energy to cease us from ever doing that. [Laughs.] And it will really feel somewhat deus ex machina if the rationale Cassie makes large strides to scrub up her life have been for a kid, as an alternative of for herself. It was vital to me that she go on this journey to raised perceive her personal historical past. We principally watched Cassie be taught to like herself, so her emotional arc feels full. If we did have a second season, it in all probability could be a complete new journey, like a brand new Hitchcock film for Cassie to stumble into.
CUOCO I additionally don’t need her to get up and instantly be a spy. She’s not an expert in that regard, however I do surprise if she could possibly be utilized in that C.I.A. Human Asset Program. That could possibly be fascinating for her.
What about Cassie teaming up with Miranda once more? She dies within the e-book, however you saved her alive.
YOCKEY There’s all the time a world during which Miranda exhibits up, which is the sort of world I wish to reside in.
CUOCO And we’d like to discover extra of Cecilia [Briana Cuoco]. It was so superior to see my sister be in there and be such a badass, bless her coronary heart!
Are you able to clarify the present’s largest unresolved thriller: Why does Annie have a see-through bathe in the midst of her lounge?
YOCKEY [Laughs.] She’s an individual whose life appears to be designed to be very open — she’s audacious in that approach. However actually, she’s hiding a ton of secrets and techniques. In order that’s why we now have that bathe!
CUOCO I beloved the entire thought behind that: Annie being so non-public, but her bathe being so public.
YOCKEY We thought it will be a enjoyable solution to introduce Max [Deniz Akdeniz], who’s the alternative of Annie in lots of methods. He’s bare and he’s principally like, “I’m an extortionist. Would you want a bagel?” All the pieces’s on the floor. By the best way, all people visiting that set would say, “When do I get to have this house?” Everyone needs that house. And I believe all of us want that bathe in 2020.
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