Between the black comedy and the Hitchcockian drama, HBO Max’s Flight attendant follows Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco), a jovial air hostess whose life spirals out of control after she wakes up next to a dead man. It’s also a story about addiction, dealing with the past, and how friendships crack or break under pressure, as was the case with Cassie and her colleague Megan (Rosie Perez). Although their on-screen friendship sometimes cracks, the love is real between the two Cuoco stars (who also served as an executive producer and was nominated for best actress in a movie). comedy) and Perez (who was nominated for an Emmy Award as a supporting actress). This couple recently talked to CHEAP about how they come to collaborate, learn Flight attendantExciting tunes are flying and what’s next for their characters.
Kaley, I read that you begged Rosie to play the part and that took a bit of convincing. How do you know Rosie is perfect for Megan? As for Rosie, what made you give in?
KALEY CUOCO Yes, that’s very true. I have to give a lot of credit to John Papsidera, our Los Angeles casting director. When her name came up, there was no one else for me – or for any of us. I thought, how to get to this woman? One phone call is not enough. This is an icon. I needed to get in front of her and do whatever I could. We met for coffee in Brooklyn. She’s wearing this creepy hat, and I can’t really see her face. It was an instant love for each other; I feel very comfortable begging her. And she said, “Well, I don’t really like flying.” And I thought, “Does she know this is [a show] about a flight attendant? “
ROSIE PEREZ Like they say, she had me by her side. I just played it cool. But flying is really a problem. The final deciding factor is when we talk about work ethics. We both have a very good work ethic and we appreciate that we do this, that this is our job. That makes a huge difference. Also, begging is fun.
What do you think of the unique friendship between your characters, Cassie and Megan?
PEREZ I remember the second day we took pictures together. You have a big smile on your face and you say, “I was just looking at the newspaper. I don’t think our friendship is like this. I really like what’s going on.” And I felt like this was great because I was intentionally doing something very different and a little weird. The good thing about Kaley is, whatever you throw at her, she has the racket in her hand and she’s ready to hit the ball over the net in no time. Episode eight is a big turning point in [characters’] relationship, even though it’s over [of the season]. All pretense is gone and honesty is only laid out on that bed [we were] sitting in that hotel room. As for my character, I didn’t realize that I could be real with Cassie, I didn’t realize that I could only be myself. I remember you saying, “You don’t cry, we have to do the shoot!”
CUOCO She cried during rehearsal! It was actually Rosie’s last shot of the season. It’s a bit messy, I remember being in the gallery very early, talking about the newspapers, and what was written on the page with these two characters was great. But once she and I got together, everything was different. I love this friendship even though they had their ups and downs together and they had their hard times. It’s just all these nuances that I don’t see on the page until they actually come to life. What an effort between the two of us.
On paper, Flight attendant not a comedy. However, the show manages to hit this fun, eccentric tone. How did you navigate this change when you started shooting?
CUOCO There’s nothing funny about the book [by Chris Bohjalian], not a single line. It is very dark. I obviously love it. I still feel like we found this tune throughout the season. Luckily, every actor we have is brilliant and can go into that. Yes, there is some serious work going on, but everyone has a way of doing something [where] you will laugh and you will smile. For almost every scene, I did a lot of different scenes because we didn’t know how we were going to edit it. Is this a funny scene? Is this where we cried? I’m just making sure there are as many options as possible because we’re really looking [the tone] like we went.
PEREZ I didn’t feel secure in the tune until episode eight.
CUOCO Every actor at one point comes to me and they say, “What are we doing?” Especially my sweet Michiel [Huisman, who plays Cassie’s deceased one-night-stand, Alex Sokolov] – he is a great theater actor. I remember after reading it, he said, “I didn’t know I was doing a comedy.” I think he was shocked at how funny it really was.
What gave you the idea to bring humor to the story?
CUOCO I just think it needs a little bit of light, I think it needs [what] I call some Cuoco-isms. I love being funny, and although I like dark and dramatic things, Cassie is entertaining and very reactive. I think we should let the world explode around her and react to it. It’s like built in like I’ve been talking about it for a while. I had the book for a long time and started talking to [executive producer Greg Berlanti]team’s, and like, what if it was a dark funny kind of thing? I’ve never been behind the scenes like this, and the team effort [means] no one does this. That’s a lot of comments and a lot of help and a lot of editing.
Have you done any background research on flight attendants to convincingly play them?
CUOCO When I travel, I find myself observing flight attendants to see what they are up to. The important thing that I always notice is the way they take off their heels and put them on a flat surface [shoes] on a long flight. That, and the way they take breaks. They are in the corner chatting or reading or on their phones. They are just like us!
PEREZ I have a friend [whose] Best friend is a flight attendant, and she is the head. I asked her, “What’s the best part of your job?” She said, “Go to all these places.” I go, “Yeah, OK, so what [really] the best part of your job? ” And she said, “Gossip. You don’t see people all the time, and then you go back to the cast and then you guys start gossiping about this stuff.”
CUOCO Do any flight attendants drink alcohol on board?
What surprised you about working together?
CUOCO I hope to thoroughly enjoy working with Rosie. I didn’t know she would become such a good friend of mine. I mean you always hope [for] that when you work with someone, and I know when I meet her, we’ll get along really well. [But] we actually formed a real friendship, it was amazing.
PEREZ I was also very surprised. I’m a bit socially awkward. I remember when I said to you, “You might not have noticed that I’m a bit socially awkward,” you said, “I notice.” (Laughter.)
Coming up to season two, which side of your characters would you like to explore?
CUOCO I think for Cassie, you know, live a sober life. And I say it in quotes because she’ll lie to herself and everyone a lot and think she’s fine for now. She will quickly find out that she is not. It’s just been her personal journey – as we all know this kind of journey is lifelong. She hasn’t figured it out yet. Of course, she will be in a lot of trouble. Surprise, surprise.
PEREZ I hope Megan will reckon with her family because she’s done things pretty badly. She doesn’t see the happiness that she has, and the life that she has, and all that goes on. And so I hope she accepts that. I know it sounds weird, but I hope it’s not easy for her.
The edited interview is long and clear.
This story first appeared in the August issue of The Hollywood Reporter. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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