TV is the place to be these days.
In the new episode of Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” series, “The Flight Attendant” star Kaley Cuoco and “WandaVision” star Elizabeth Olsen sit down to talk about their experiences with the medium.
“Do you think you’ll do a second season of ‘WandaVision’?” Cuoco asks, to which Olsen responds, “No. No. It’s definitely a limited series.”
Cuoco tells her, “Limited series. Well, we said that, too.”
“I mean, I’m saying that. I don’t know. I mean, with Marvel, you can never say no,” Olsen says.
“That’s true. You’re right,” Cuoco says, joking, “I really thought I had a major scoop for the entire world just now. But then she took it back very quickly.”
Olsen also talks about the gruelling, fast-paced shooting schedule on “WandaVision”.
“We all just were trying to survive by going as quickly as possible. The only time we would slow down is when we get into Marvel Land,” she says. “Marvel’s just such a strange beast. It’s the biggest stakes in the entire world: ‘The world’s going to end. Humans are going to die!’ But it’s all about character. That’s its own tone that’s hard to find, but when we’re in the sitcom zone, it was just a speed demon.”
Given the show’s sitcom theme, Olsen says, “I drew from what we were referencing in each episode, like ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’. I loved ‘I Love Lucy’ growing up. ‘Laverne & Shirley’. Everything that was on Nick at Nite. I love the ‘Brady Bunch’ movies. I think I was really ripping them off and not ‘The Brady Bunch’.”
“Had you ever done a sitcom before?” Cuoco asks at one point.
“No. It’s so hard!” Olsen tells her.
“Obviously, that’s my whole life. Especially with ‘The Big Bang Theory’. We’d have these guest stars come on, and some of them were wonderful dramatic actors or whatever, and they would feel so lost for a while,” Cuoco says. “It really is so musical. Because I grew up with it, and I did it for so long, it’s so natural for me. It’s very different if you haven’t done it.”
“We did a live audience for the first episode, and that was the first thing we shot,” Olsen says of “WandaVision”. “It was very confusing how to play to the camera. Like, I was like projecting, because I’m used to stage. When I watched the first episode, I’m like, ‘Oh, goddamn it.’ I was so frustrated because I can see my 10-year-old theatre-kid self playing out to the audience instead of the camera.”
Talking about “The Flight Attendant”, Cuoco says, “When I found the book about four years ago, the book is extremely dark. There is not one funny word. It is tragic, and she is super tragic. I loved the book, but I loved her. And I thought, OK, let me get the rights to this. And maybe it’s a movie. Then I started sitting on it. No, I think it’s a show. I laugh so hard, because the amount of times we used the word ‘tone’, I can’t ever say the word ‘tone’ again. I said, ‘The tone is, it’s me, and we’re gonna throw this girl into this horrible situation, but you’re also gonna laugh, and you’re gonna cry, and then you’re gonna feel super awkward.’ It couldn’t just be that darkness. We had to walk that tightrope, which, by the way, was a total challenge.”
“That’s why I love it, because I couldn’t put it in a box,” Olsen says. “That’s what made it so enjoyable and thrilling to watch, because you didn’t know how things were going to be solved, because it didn’t feel like it followed a formula.”
Cuoco adds, “I found myself doing just a million different takes — maybe this time I cried, and the next I would laugh — because we didn’t know how we were going to edit this thing together. I’d go home some nights like, ‘Why am I doing this? This is the biggest mistake of my life. I’m leaving.’ Then, the next day, we’d do a scene, and I’m like, ‘God, this is so good.’ I would just go through these emotions like I was a psycho.”