“The Flight Attendant” star Kaley Cuoco revealed she was worried about the intense scrutiny she’d be under in taking her first role since the conclusion of the massively successful sitcom “The Big Bang Theory.”
Cuoco stars as Cassandra, a functioning alcoholic whose life is turned upside down when she wakes up after a night of partying to find the man she spent the night with dead in their Bangkok hotel room with no recollection of what happened prior. The project is a far cry from her role as the loveable girl-next-door character, Penny, on the sitcom, which ran for 12 seasons.
Speaking to the UK’s iNews, the actress revealed that she was determined to challenge her acting abilities in her first post “Big Bang Theory” role, despite fears of what her fans might think of seeing her in such a different light.
“Coming off such a successful show, I knew people were going to judge whatever I did next – not look down on, but question,” she explained. “It was a huge risk. I believe in my heart that no one would have cast me in this part even if I’d given the audition of my life. I felt like I had to prove I could do something else.”
Fortunately for Cuoco, the gambit paid off. Not only is “The Flight Attendant” a hit, but it received attention from the prestigious Golden Globes this year with one nomination for best musical/comedy series and Cuoco herself getting a nomination for best television actress in a musical or comedy series.
Although she ultimately lost to “Schitt’s Creek” actress Catherine O’Hara, leading to a viral post in which Cuoco celebrated the loss in a gown on her floor with pizza and champagne, the star told the outlet that she was not actually upset to lose to the legendary comedy actress.
“I knew Catherine was going to win. I would have voted for her myself. I was absolutely thrilled for her,” she explained.
However, despite going out of her way to ensure that the next job she had after “The Big Bang Theory” was different, she makes it clear that she’s not trying to sweep the character that made her a household name under the rug.
“I think there’s a misconception that people that are on shows for a long time get worried about being pigeonholed. I used to laugh because I was like, ‘if I’m typecast as the girl next door in a sitcom for the rest of my life, that’s the best thing that could ever happen to me,’” she explained.
In fact, Cuoco notes that she would revisit the Penny character at some point down the road. However, she admits that she wants to get a little more time at her back before getting the “Big Bang” band back together.
“I’ll never be able to compare anything to Big Bang. It was such a specific and special situation that nothing will ever be like it,” she told the outlet. “I would for sure do a reunion, absolutely. I’m counting down the days till the ‘Friends’ reunion airs. I think we need to give Big Bang a little bit of a break, but I’m down for that any time.”
Further pushing her boundaries, Entertainment Weekly reports that Cuoco’s next project will see her play legendary actress Doris Day in a limited series about her life.