Spoiler alert! The following contains details about the Season 2 finale of “The Flight Attendant,” now airing on HBO Max.
Kaley Cuoco finds a happy ending, on and off screen.
She began filming the second season of HBO Max’s quirky comedy thriller ‘The Flight Attendant’, which wrapped on Thursday, shortly after the end of a three-year marriage to her second husband, the equestrian Karl Cook. (Cuoco was previously married to former professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting from 2013 to 2016.) And with just four days of filming, Cuoco was devastated by her diagnosis of COVID-19. “I just wanted to die,” she recalls. “I was so sad and so depressed, because I had come so far.”
Onscreen, Cuoco’s Cassie Bowden, now a civilian CIA asset as a flight attendant, battled two barmy blondes: CIA Regional Director Dot Karlson (Cheryl Hines), who tried to pin multiple kills on Cassie, and Jenny (Jessie Ennis) a woman so devoted to Buckley Ware, aka Season 1’s Feliks (Colin Woodell), that she was willing to kill Cassie to win the affections of the imprisoned Feliks.
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Dot wanted the “ultimate power,” Cuoco says, and to be seen as the hero for taking Cassie down.
“This job that she has is very important, and being a woman in any position like this can be very difficult,” Cuoco said. “We just aren’t taken seriously, so that’s why I loved that female lead. I like that it was the female who was the bad guy. This stuff makes me happy, because females also do wrong (stuff).
As for Jenny’s surprising backstory, Cuoco says she asked for “one more weird thing,” to throw viewers off.
Cassie escaped from the two villains and even made amends with her mother, Lisa Bowden, played by a seemingly happy Sharon Stone. (More on that below.)
And in real life, Cuoco has an official relationship on Instagram with actor Tom Pelphrey, 39, whom she hails as “the love of my life.”
Cuoco, 36, reveals the likelihood of a third episode of ‘Flight Attendant’, her ‘love at first sight’ encounter with former daytime soap actor Pelphrey and why she’s finally struggling to balance work and life private. (Edited for length and clarity.)
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Question: I understand that the slap Sharon Stone gave you in Episode 6 was unscripted. What was filming this scene like?
Kaley Cuoco: I do stuff that isn’t written, and (my co-stars) are surprised at the moment. So it was now me on the other end. It was so real and so shocking. It was all Sharon, and the scene ended up being amazing. I couldn’t believe she punched me in the face. And then later I was like, “You guys, did Sharon Stone slap me?” … What a great story I have for the rest of my life.
Q: There are a few physical scenes this season. Have you suffered any injuries?
Cuoco: I did not support physical wounds. If we’re going to get dark and serious right now, my emotional state of mind was really not in the right place. This whole season has been quite difficult. I was so stressed out about my personal life, what was going on and trying to keep the show going, and stress like, “Is this going to be okay? Am I crazy?” I ended up developing this stress rash that ran down my belly, down my leg for about 3 and a half months. Every time I warmed up, whether it was Kaley warming up or Cassie, it was on fire.
Q: You’ve really leaned on your co-star Zosia Mamet (who plays Cassie’s lawyer friend Annie Mouradian) this season. How was she there for you?
Cuoco: She stayed with me for months. It was so helpful to have a friend here with me because there were a lot of rough nights. This girl came on her days off to have lunch with me and sit with me. There were mornings when I would text her from my bed and say, “I don’t know how I get up today. But Zosia would come into my room, drag me out of bed, literally stand with me while I brushed my teeth. I don’t think I could have worked half the time. She really saved me and we became so close.
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Q: Annie and Max (Deniz Akdeniz) get married in the finale. When Annie throws her bouquet at Cassie, Cassie makes no attempt to catch the arrangement and lets it hit the floor. Do you share Cassie’s feelings, or would you be interested in remarrying?
Cuoco: I’m really not interested in remarrying. I happened to meet the love of my life recently, and I’m so happy and feel like I’m in a different place than I was even a month ago. I talk about it a lot with Tom, who totally changed me. I don’t even look at him and say, “Where have you been all my life? Why didn’t I meet you sooner?” I don’t wish that, and neither did he, because I’ve had to go through a lot of (things) and really look at myself in the mirror and the things that I’ve (messed up) in my last 10 years that I don’t have not treated.
I’ve done so much work on myself, and then all of a sudden this gift was in front of me, and I’m just at another phase in my life where I want to have a deep partnership. And it hits you like a wave and you’re like, “Whoa, I’ve never had that.” I was never deep enough. I never faced my own problems like I did last year. In the last nine months, I’ve done a full 180. I don’t think this relationship would be what it is if I didn’t go through all of this.
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Q: When you say a “full 180”, how did you change?
Cuoco: It’s strange. Shooting this show, alongside a character who is literally trying to run away from her problems and shove things under the rug and be Little Miss Perfect and not admit the problems we have, I realized that I had never faced things. There have been traumas in my life that go back so far that I managed to stay in a closet and not look. I realized that I was doing things so wrong. I’m so career-focused that a lot of things fell behind. I thought I was doing the right thing: “I’m a working woman.” I’m proud of that stuff. But it’s time for me to find a balance in my life. I never said the words, “I want to take the rest of the year.” I’m ready to settle down for a minute and find my place as a human in a normal life.
Q: I’m glad to see you happy in your personal life. Is there anything you would like to share about your new relationship, like how you met?
Cuoco: We have the same manager (Andrea Pett-Joseph), and we were set up by (her), who is then Hollywood (laughs). She’s like, “Oh my God, I think you guys are perfect for each other.” We met at the premiere of “Ozark” (in April), and I was standing with Andrea and Tom walked in, and I heard his voice, and I turned around, and it was like my life was over, or just beginning. It hit me. It was love at first sight. We were immediately connected. I feel like I’ve known him all my life, but I wasn’t ready for him. We are ready to build a life together.
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Q: You talked about being married to your job, and now you’re talking about being able to take time off. How has your relationship to work changed?
Cuoco: I’ve never really taken a vacation. And besides, it’s by choice. I love to work. On vacation, I’m on my phone all the time. (Work is) no longer the most important thing. I leave on July 1; I’m shooting a movie called “Roleplay”. David Oyelowo is going to play my husband, and I’m so excited. But it’s going to be in Berlin for three months. I want to go home after this and take the rest of the year and support Tom and what he’s doing and be there for someone else, not just me.
Q: Would you like to do a third season of “The Flight Attendant?” Where would you like to see Cassie? And how many bad things can happen to this woman?
Cuoco: (Laughs.) That’s my point. It’s like, where is he going? My biggest fear is that I’m a CIA agent. It’s not the show I wanted to do, and I feel like that’s how she’s doing. There are a lot of characters that I think could have much stronger storylines in a Season 3, but what is Cassie going to do? The most interesting part about Cassie is her sobriety journey and what it looks like for her, because it’s a journey of a lifetime. So obviously his life is going to be this constant booze back and forth, which gets you in a lot of trouble. I have a little too much post-traumatic stress right now. But maybe if we talk about it in a year, I’ll be open to a season 3.
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