(KGET) — Kaley Cuoco spent 12 years playing the lovable – an occasionally befuddled – neighbor/love interest on the comedy series “The Big Bang Theory.” It was a job that she enjoyed but Cuoco was ready for new challenges when the CBS show ended.
The new job that has put her acting skills to the test is the HBO Max series “The Flight Attendant.” Three episodes of the series will debut Nov. 26 on the streaming service.
Cuoco – who is also an executive producer of the series – plays a hard-living and high-flying flight attendant who wakes up one morning to face a horrifying world. There’s a dead man in her bed.
The series is based on the 2018 book of the same name written by Chris Bohjalian. Cuoco had been looking for books that could be turned into TV shows or movies through her production company when she stumbled upon The Flight Attendant.
She only read one line of the book before deciding to go after the rights.
“It just was one sentence and I got like this weird chill and I called my team and said, ‘Hey, I’d love to look at the rights to this book.’ And their first question was, ‘Okay, so you read the book, you love the book?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah, I totally read the book’,” Cuoco says. “I had not read the book, but something had told me jump on this
“So once they started getting into it, all the back stuff, I read it really fast and thank god I loved it as much as I thought. And there was a bidding war and I won the rights and I’m like, ‘Now what do I do?’”
What she did was take the project to Warner Brothers where she was working on the animated series “Harley Quinn” and the studio where “The Big Bang Theory” had been produced. Cuoco had not only found a project for her production company but it included a very different role for her to play.
Cuoco was attracted to the character because she is so flawed.
“It was kind of an actor’s dream to play someone like her. She’s got a rollercoaster of issues, but a heart of gold and she’s strong. It’s just a great female character to play,” Cuoco says. “I think coming off of doing comedy and ‘Big Bang’ – which I love, I love making people laugh – there was something about this that I thought if we could find the right team and bring some levity to such a dark book, that it could be kind of cool.
“And obviously being a producer and being part of the creative has been a whole new experience for me. It’s been totally career-changing for me just to see it from the beginning and kind of go with my gut on things and make my own decisions and put this great group together and learn so much.”
Cuoco stresses finding different roles doesn’t mean a complete departure from her long run on “The Big Bang Theory.” It’s just that she considers the project to be a “natural progression” for her career.
The California native had put together a long list of acting credits before being cast in “The Big Bang Theory.” Past work ranges from playing Maureen McCormick in “Growing Up Brady” to one of the witches on “Charmed.”
“The Flight Attendant” helps Cuoco with that natural progression from “The Big Bang Theory” by showing she can play a wide range of roles. She actually started that transition as “The Big Bang Theory” was coming to an end by signing on to voice Harley Quinn in the new animated series on the Cartoon Network.
She wasn’t looking to be a cartoon character’s voice when she got a call from Peter Roth at Warner Brothers. Cuoco explains that Roth called to offer her the voice work in the raunchy animated comedy.
“I was like ‘Yeah. That could be kinda fun.’ And it was a small little thing, and the writers were hilarious, I fell in love with them, and we made the show. And it’s crazy, it’s totally insane,” Cuoco says. “I had no idea it was going to be as insane and raunchy as it has become.
“I’m even shocked half the time at the stuff I’m saying.”
The cast of “The Flight Attendant” also includes Michiel Huisman, Rosie Perez, Zosia Mamet, Michelle Gomez, T.R. Knight, Colin Woodell, Merle Dandridge, Griffin Matthews and Nolan Gerard Funk.
Although the series is scheduled to officially launch Nov. 26, “The Flight Attendant” will be available to stream for free at http://www.hbomax.com/the-flight-attendant. After the Nov. 26 debut, the season continues with two new episodes onDec. 3,two episodes on Dec. 10and the finale episode lands on Dec. 17.