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Under the Dome
Nov 03 2011, 03:45 PM by Earl Dittman
After a long-running role on the primetime hit show ER, a critically-acclaimed stint on The Sopranos, and even her unfairly cancelled law/drama show Canterbury's Law, the Spring Valley, NY-born Julianna Margulies has finally become a household name with her latest show The Good Wife. Having won an Emmy for her work in the second season of The Good Wife, chances are Julianna will win another statuette for her current sexy and dynamic performance of the now-playing Season Three. We sat down with Julianna to talk about her character Alicia Florrick, the show, her feelings about sex scandals, her family, and ER versus The Good Wife.
Was it always the intention that The Good Wife be filmed in New York, or was that a condition of your casting?
They wanted to shoot it in Vancouver or LA and I can’t. I’m married and have a young child, and I’m not going to take my kid away from my husband (Keith Lieberthal).
How do you balance?
I’m still figuring it out. I think I’ll be figuring it out till I’m 80. (laughs)
Back to The Good Wife, what would you do if you were in Alicia’s situation?
I don’t know what I would do. That’s the beauty of it. My gut says I would say ‘F**k you! I’m out of here. Go f**k yourself!’ but when you have kids… I don’t know? You don’t know until you’re there. I would think that I would tell him to go to hell. But honestly I don’t know.
I know that things change with time as you get older and have children. What I love about my character is it’s taught me how judgmental I was. Maybe, we’re all too quick to judge a person and their choices in life.
Did the writers base this character on any of these wives in the news?
The press conference in the very first show looked very much like the Spitzer press conference but it’s not based on her alone. When you Google all of it it’s an amazing journey to watch what they all looked like six months before the scandal and they literally age. In the opening scene we aged me -- I wanted her to look 10 years older than when you see her six months later because all of the women look exhausted and like they haven’t slept in weeks. I wanted to see transition.
Your character seems very Shakespearean.
Yeah, you do think ultimately she’ll turn into Medea or Lady Macbeth. I think all good dramas are Shakespearean in some way.
What is your opinion of the media coverage of these sex scandals?
I used to say if Bill Clinton was president in Europe and Monica Lewinsky came into his life, so what he got a blow job: big deal. You look at the guy in Italy. This is part of our human fabric. I wouldn’t want to be in that world. From what I know of it it’s pretty ugly.
What did you find so appealing about the role of Alicia Florrick?
How complicated she is and how her whole world has fallen down, and how she’s having to build herself back up and who she’s going to become. I don’t know yet which is what I love. I thought it was a very engaging script. My rule of thumb is if it doesn’t get me in the first page it’s probably not going to get me in the last page and this one grabbed me right away. It was a no-brainer once I read it.
Were you a Chris Noth fan before The Good Wife?
As any New York actor, the first television I ever did was Law & Order. I’ll never forget sitting in Chris Noth’s trailer at three in the morning with Chris and Jerry Orbach, we were playing poker. It was my first TV job and he looked at me and was like, ‘I bet you’re going to have your own show one day.’ We always joke about it.
What’s harder: the medicine on ER or the law in The Good Wife?
Law’s easier only because you don’t have to deal with the instruments. It’s mostly a pen and a pad but the dialogue can be -- that’s why I’m very happy I’m married to a lawyer.
What are you most proud of professionally and personally?
ER was a phenomenon and it was a great thing to be a part of. Proud is a funny word because it sounds so egotistical but I’m very happy to have been a part of it. But my most fulfilling job ever was The Mists of Avalon. I rode horses all my life and I got to ride horses. I was getting paid to ride horses. I grew up in England so I got to have my English accent. I couldn’t believe they were paying me to do that job. I was in heaven.
By: Earl Dittman
The Good Wife airs Sundays at 10.00 et/pt.