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After landing two Emmy nominations as both star and executive producer for the first season of The Flight Attendant, along with a slew of critical acclaim and other awards recognition, Kaley Cuoco admitted she was scared to come back for a second round.
“Season one was good, so I was very nervous to do a season two. I was like, ‘Guys, let’s just leave it, it’s good. Let’s run away, let’s get out of here,'” she told The Hollywood Reporter at the show’s season two Los Angeles premiere on Tuesday. “We knew we had to be better, and it was definitely bigger.”
To do so, the comedy went full international spy thriller, shooting in Iceland and Berlin — while also relocating the central narrative from NYC to L.A. — as Cuoco’s character Cassie becomes an asset for the CIA. And as she continues her battle with alcoholism, she finds herself in a “mind palace,” facing off with five versions of herself, which Cuoco said “was wild” to act out.
“That was a very technical, very crazy way to shoot, so the team behind that was crazy. We met with the team from Orphan Black because it was a very similar setup to what they did, and we learned a lot,” she explained. “There was an exact science to it, and I don’t think I’ll be doing that again, but I’m glad I did it once. Tried it, and now I’m ready to move on.”
Those scenes dive deeper into Cassie’s addiction, as Cuoco said she wanted to convey that sobriety “is a lifelong process.”
“I think it’s interesting, Cassie really wanted to put that brave face on, like life is good and I know what I’m doing, I’m sober, I moved, this and that,” Cuoco continued. “She’s lying to everyone, but most importantly, she’s lying to herself.”
Co-showrunner Steve Yockey said the writing team wanted to balance Cassie’s sobriety storyline and “get some more Hitchcock action.” Then, after new co-showrunner Natalie Chaidez joined the show in season two and suggested Cassie’s doubles, “we just ran with it.”
When reading the scripts for season two, Zosia Mamet, who stars as Cassie’s best friend Annie, said she was “super excited.”
“What they did with Cassie’s storyline I thought was so incredible. I was really excited that we were changing geographic locations, I felt like the thriller aspect of it was just ratcheted up in this immense way,” Mamet said. “I felt like they were cracking open each character in this really amazing way as well and delving deeper into everyone’s personal storyline and their own inner struggles. I just felt like they were taking everything from season one and just going deeper and bigger and louder.”
The second season will also see some notable guest stars, including Cheryl Hines, Margaret Cho and Sharon Stone, who plays Cassie’s mother. Stone was a big fan of the first season and expressed interest in joining the show if there was an appropriate role, which the executive producers quickly jumped on.
“She herself has been very open about her dealings with sobriety and her family, so it really spoke to her on a lot of levels, and you could tell she showed up ready to work,” said Yockey.
The Flight Attendant will premiere on HBO Max on April 21.
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