Watching an actor play opposite themselves may make for fun television watching, but it also makes for some really difficult filming situations — at least, that’s how it was for Kaley Cuoco on “The Flight Attendant.”
In the season 2 premiere of “The Flight Attendant,” now streaming on HBO Max, we find Cassie Bowden (Cuoco) back as a flight attendant once more, but this time, she’s also a CIA asset. So, while in Berlin, she’s tasked with reconnaissance work. But, when the man she’s following gets blown up in his car, Cassie is once again transported to her mind palace.
Obviously, it’s a little different than last season. There’s no Michiel Huisman as Alex Sokolov this time, there’s just herself — or rather, a few of her. Cassie sees her teenage self talking to her alcoholic self, while two other versions of her (or so it appears) sit with their backs turned. So, what’s it like to work with Kaley Cuoco, as experienced by Kaley Cuoco?
“I would not recommend it!” the actress told TheWrap with a laugh. “Too many. I mean, five of Kaley Cuoco? I don’t think so. I learned very quickly, I’m like, ‘Wow, now I know what everyone feels like.'”
Joking aside, Cuoco admitted that playing against herself — though yes, they were obviously body doubles — forced her way out of her comfort zone. You can hear her full thoughts in the video above.
“Doing that sort of process, which was completely foreign to me — I’m a very in the moment type of human, in the moment type of actor, I like to improvise and see how it comes. But shooting the multiples was the direct opposite,” Cuoco explained. “You couldn’t do that at all, I had to be very exact. I had to match body movements, my doubles had to match my movements. It was incredibly scripted. And you couldn’t mess up. Moments where I’d be looking at one of my Cassies, and I think I’m looking perfectly at her eyes, and then I’d go back to video village and it would literally look like I was looking up here. Like, if you’re like a quarter of the inch off, it doesn’t work. So it was a wild experience.”
Of course, beyond the technicality of it all, it was also important for Cuoco to color each one uniquely, in terms of the actual character.
“It was absolutely nuts. You know, I wanted to make sure they were individual enough that they were interesting, that we’re not just watching five of the same thing,” she added. “And they all had very specific reasons why they were there, why they were torturing real Cassie.”
The actress noted that she even had different music to listen to, depending on which Cassie she was playing. But even then, she still needed to stop every once in awhile and take stock of if she was real-life Cassie, Drunk Cassie, or someone else.
“Sometimes I’d be in there and I would look around and I was like, ‘Wait a minute, which Cassie am I?’ I would literally forget who I was,” Cuoco recalled. “And all the other Cassies were dressed like all the other Cassies, and you’d see the director walk up to the wrong one. And they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re not Kaley.’ And we all looked alike. I mean, if you walked around Warner Brothers, you saw one of them. You didn’t know who. There was all these Cassies walking around and it was a very strange, surreal experience.”