HFPA in Conversation: Kaley Cuoco on Becoming a Producer
What happens in Bangkok, won’t stay in Bangkok. Kaley Cuoco stars and is an executive producer on HBO Max’s limited series The Flight Attendant that is based on Chris Bohjalian’s novel. It’s a story about a reckless alcoholic flight attendant who finds a dead body in her bed.
“I think it’s every actress’s dream to play a character who has multiple personalities. I optioned this book three years ago and the first thought when I read the first sentence, I was like, “Wow…I want to know what happens here.” And then as I read the book I just thought, really simply this would make a great TV character. She just seems so crazy, and has so many different elements to her and emotions that I feel like any actress would kill to play this. So, I kind of had to take it upon myself to be like, “I’m gonna do it!” because I didn’t know if anyone else would just hand it over to me. To make people laugh for the last 12 years on Big Bang, which was the ultimate, and being able to do this now and show my range, has really been a dream come true”, Cuoco tells HFPA journalist Kristien Gijbels.
Cuoco is also known as Penny on the hit show The Big Bang Theory, and has started her production company three years ago. The Flight Attendant is her first project. “During my run on Big Bang, especially in the later years, one of the options on the table for me was to start my own production company with Warner Brothers, and a couple of the other actors on the show had the same opportunity. And it just wasn’t something I wanted to do during that time. I had no interest in producing, there was no specific project that kind of perked my interest and I truly felt, strongly, that I was just gonna create some company because they were gonna let me.”
Her team was pushing her and reminding that Big Bang was not going to last forever. “I needed to think of what was next. So, I started looking at articles and books, just haphazardly, and when I came across The Flight Attendant I immediately called my team, and I asked, “If Reese Witherspoon got the rights to the book?” That’s what I always ask, and they were like, “Actually. No.” I thought, “Whoa, I beat her to something?” This is amazing!” Anyway, we worked for six months, on getting the rights and in the meantime, obviously, I read the book and I loved it, and once I got the rights to the book and I was like, “Oh my god, what do I do now?” And that’s when I took it to the studio, and I said, “If you guys want to make this with me, I’m ready. This should be the next project; I think it will make a great show and this will launch my company if we want to do it. This’ll be the start, and in two days I had an office and…Bam! There we were three years ago starting the process of creating the show.”
Listen to the podcast and hear how Covid-19 influenced the filming of The Flight Attendant and her life; why table tennis is important to her; is she competitive? ; does she miss red carpets and premieres?; when and where she met her husband; why fostering and rescuing animals is important to her; what kind of fond memories she has from filming The Big Bang Theoryth birthday and how she celebrated her 35th.