The Funny Way Kaley Cuoco's Flight Attendant Kept Having To Reuse People To Film During Covid

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Mild spoilers ahead for the season finale of The Flight Attendant.

Kaley Cuoco has been busy since wrapping up her 12-season run on The Big Bang Theory last year. She made a name for herself voicing the animated Harley Quinn and most recently took to the skies as the titular character in The Flight Attendant, a thrilling murder mystery on HBO Max. The series returned to filming in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, which led to a funny scenario that had The Flight Attendant reusing people to film a crucial scene with Buckley.

New restrictions have changed the way movie and TV productions have gone about filming. There are likely less crew members on set, a limited number of extras in the background, and less cast members crowding any given scene. All of these restrictions are obviously in place to protect the cast and crew from contracting the virus, but Kaley Cuoco says that it made one particular scene in The Flight Attendant a bit harder to film. Here’s what she told the New York Times:

We shot all of Buckley’s stalker scenes before the pandemic, except the one where we wanted him on the plane with everybody. I wish we had that shot. When we came back, there were only eight extras. They were also doubling as crew members, and we mixed them up and moved them around with wigs or different clothes. At one point, I was like, ‘That person flying yesterday is now in this bar. We’ve got to try and hide this better.’ It was probably my O.C.D. eye noticing more than anyone else would have.

The Flight Attendant’s attempts to make it work are pretty funny (wigs and all), and the cast and crew did the best they could with what they had, especially considering the circumstances. That said, having eight extras who were also playing the plane's crew sounds rather complicated, but I’m sure it turned out much better than what Kaley Cuoco imagined.

Showrunner Steve Yockey adds that they wanted Buckley’s presence to be felt even when the audience didn’t know that he was Cassie and Alex’s stalker at first. However, filming the plane scene during COVID made it harder, since it couldn’t be filled to capacity. In addition to adjustments made to the big plane scene with Buckley, Yockey says that The Flight Attendant had to nix one scene completely. In his words:

We did get rid of a car crash. In the original version of the car fight in Episode 6, Miranda [Michelle Gomez] starts her car, the guy from behind strangles her, she steps on the gas and slams the car into a nearby dumpster to launch the airbag, which throws the guy in the back seat, and she stabs him in the eye. We figured out how to do it without the car crash, because the number of people we would have needed to be involved was prohibitive. That’s actually our stunt coordinator playing the assassin.

Despite the adjustments made due to the pandemic’s restrictions, I’d say that The Flight Attendant did a pretty good job in handling the changes and making the plot and its reveals work, regardless.

The Flight Attendant is currently available to stream on HBO Max. For more on what to watch in the coming months, be sure to check out our 2021 winter and spring schedule.

Mae Abdulbaki