Why Kaley Cuoco Thought She Had To Make The Flight Attendant Herself After Gig On The Big Bang Theory

kaley cuoco the flight attendant hbo max season 1

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Fans who were very used to seeing Kaley Cuoco as the sometimes a bit messy but still basically trauma free Penny on The Big Bang Theory got quite the surprise when they checked the star out on her new show, The Flight Attendant, late last year. After 12 seasons of playing Penny, Cuoco likely shocked many with her role on the darkly comedic thriller, and it's led to Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominations for the actress. Now, Kaley Cuoco is opening up about why she felt she had to make The Flight Attendant herself after leaving The Big Bang Theory behind.

Kaley Cuoco has spoken a lot about how she randomly came upon a logline for the novel of the same name by Chris Bohjalian which would later become The Flight Attendant while scrolling through Amazon one night. She quickly optioned the book for an adaptation (becoming one of the executive producers as well as the star), and the critical and audience love for the show in Season 1 has proven that her instincts were on the money. When talking about her career with Variety's Awards Circuit Podcast recently, Cuoco opened up about why she felt she had to take control and make The Flight Attendant herself, and noted:

This is someone who is her normal self, when she’s slowly basically medicating herself all day long. And it’s only when all that is taken away is when she starts to fall. I figured, well, I think she’s normal until it’s truly gone. That’s her main line. She’s been an actor’s dream, because I feel like I played ten characters in one. She got to be funny and very upset, tears in one scene and laughing in the other and being sarcastic. And I got to do all the things. And I truly don’t think anyone would have hired me for this. So I had to do it myself.

It's pretty easy to see where Kaley Cuoco is coming from when she talks about the necessity of making sure The Flight Attendant got off of the ground herself. While being blessed with a role on a long-running show you enjoy doing is a great gift that most actors wouldn't walk away from easily, it does also have some potential complications down the road. One of those is becoming so identified as your popular character that few people can readily imagine you portraying someone else. And, Cuoco is admitting that her Cassie from The Flight Attendant is so different from Penny on The Big Bang Theory, that she immediately knew no one would see her being able to pull off the part.

Of course, if you've watched both shows and Kaley Cuoco's work in them, you might see some similarities between Cassie and Penny, as I do. Both start as good time-loving ladies who are sometimes less than responsible, but while Penny is able to mature without a lot of undue stress, Cassie needs to really be shaken out of her standard patterns for her to understand how she's been hurting herself with some of her life choices. And, yes, when I say "life choices" I do mean Cassie's alcoholism, which she finally realized was a serious problem by the time The Flight Attendant Season 1 ending rolled around.

Luckily for fans, the success of the series has led to The Flight Attendant Season 2, which is set to begin filming in the fall for a spring 2022 debut. Until then you can watch Kaley Cuoco on the first season on HBO Max, where you can also revisit her run on The Big Bang Theory. For more to watch in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2021 fall TV schedule!

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.