On Monday November 2, a week after HBO Max released the first trailer for upcoming miniseries The Flight Attendant, Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory, 8 Simple Rules) opened up about her first major dramatic role and launching the live action wing of her production company during a global pandemic in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. According to Business Insider, The Flight Attendant is one of the fall’s most anticipated new series alongside ABC’s Big Sky.
Based on a bestselling Chris Bohjalian (Midwives, The Guest Room) novel, The Flight Attendant follows flight attendant Cassie as she struggles to remember the events that led to the discovery of a dead man in her hotel room. “Some people are gonna love it, some people are gonna hate it” Cuoco said to The Los Angeles Times, when admitting that the miniseries is a major deviation from her iconic roles as a sitcom “girl next door” archetype. However, Susanna Fogel (Booksmart, Chasing Life), a director and producer on the series, believes that Cuoco’s lasting television persona will aide Cassie in being a more likeable and relatable protagonist, even as the audience questions whether or not she committed the crime that drives the show’s story. “Unfortunately, female characters get a lot more judgment than male characters when it comes to the thriller genre,” Fogel said of the role, via The Los Angeles Times.
Cuoco has been acting for television since age five and told The Los Angeles Times “I love TV, I grew up on TV.” With her most well-known roles in 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter and The Big Bang Theory, Cuoco has become a household name solely for her multi-cam sitcom work, making The Flight Attendant standout as a major change. “People have seen me in a certain way for a very long time,” Cuoco reflected on her upbringing in the world of network sitcoms, even confessing a nervousness in the ways that The Flight Attendant pushes against that perception, via The Los Angeles Times. Though the eight-episode miniseries is described as a dark comedy, with elements of morbid humor, Cuoco says of the role “I’m very raw, crying with no makeup on and, like, completely breaking down. I didn’t think anyone would give me this opportunity, so I felt like I had to get the project made myself and prove that this is actually the kind of work I want to be doing” (The Los Angeles Times).
During the final season of The Big Bang Theory, Cuoco developed her own production company, Yes, Norman Productions, at the behest of Warner Bros., who wanted to continue their work with the actress down-the-line. While the animated series Harley Quinn is the first series apart of Cuoco’s overall deal with Warner Bros., The Flight Attendant marks the first live-action series as well as the first significant foray into dramatic acting and hands-on production for Cuoco. “I bow down to anyone that makes anything because it is the hardest thing,” Cuoco told The Los Angeles Times, when speaking to her new role as producer “Actors, we just do our thing and watch it however many months later. But as a producer, I’m learning so much, and I really love it. I love having a voice and an opinion on things I love so much about television but never got to share before.”
“I really hope it does not take a year to shoot just eight episodes ever again” Cuoco joked with The Los Angeles Times about her first production role’s unique challenges brought about by to COVID-19. The onset of the virus shutdown production earlier in the year, giving Cuoco plenty of work to occupy her quarantine. According to The Los Angeles Times, The Flight Attendant was one of the first shows to resume production under social distanced circumstances. “I knew I needed to show leadership,” Cuoco spoke about returning to set after the initial shutdown “because everyone who was coming back was — I mean, this sounds dramatic, but really, though — risking their lives to work” (The Los Angeles Times).
The Flight Attendant will air November 26, Thanksgiving day, on HBO Max, but Cuoco is already busy working on her next Warner Bros. project, an Apple TV+ comedy entitled America’s Sweetheart. Throughout both of these productions, the actress has continued to voice the iconic Batman villain Harley Quinn in the animated series Harley Quinn, recently renewed for a third season and moved to a permanent home on HBO Max.