Michelle Gomez on how ‘The Flight Attendant” will ignite audiences

Spencer Lasky

A partying flight attendant, a handsome passenger, a murder, a mysterious woman and jet-setting around fabulous global destinations are just a few of the ingredients that make HBO Max’s new series “The Flight Attendant” very juicy. Starring “The Big Bang Theory’s” Kaley Cucoco, the eight part show follows the popular 2018 novel of the same name by Chris Bohjalian and will leave audiences guessing through each episode.

When Cassie (Cuoco) wakes up in the wrong hotel next to a dead body with no memory of the night before, things go haywire for the flight attendant. Throughout the show, she is on a journey to discover what exactly happened that night and if she’s innocent or guilty— something that begins to become more clear through flashbacks.

The series premieres on HBO Max this week, and will drop the first two episodes on Nov. 26. Michelle Gomez, who plays the mysterious Miranda in the series, sat down with Metro to discuss what exactly went into her role and making the show amidst the pandemic.

Nathan Johnson

What was your initial intrigue for wanting to sign on with this project? 

One of the biggest pulls for me with the fact that Kaley actually was the EP and star, I’ve been a huge fan of hers for years and I was excited to be part of anything she was doing really. I’ve also come to have a comfortability with a role that’s perceived as a villain and then have some fun if I can find some kind of way to be human and flawed within that realm as well. I thought Miranda could provide something like that to play with.

How would you describe your character, what do you like about her?

I love that she is all business and no nonsense and incredibly good at what she does— which is a lot of sabotage and manipulation. I love the enigma of her I love that she’s complicated, you like her one minute but you’re not sure of her in the next. She’s confusing and a very powerful woman that basically takes what she wants and is unapologetic about it. She’s kind of the Margaret Thatcher of “The Flight Attendant.”

You mentioned you had a comfortability playing a villain, why do you think you are drawn to these roles?

I think in terms of screen it’s not that I’m particularly drawn to them, my face is probably more drawn to them and casting directors have to fill their roles with the aesthetic. It’s hard for me with this face that’s all angles and sharpness to play anything other than a villain I guess. I haven’t played many Fiona’s or Sharon’s in my career, I haven’t played that soft likable next door neighbor— it’s really down to how you look on screen a lot of times. But the truth is that I’m really quite goofy and a bit nerdy, and so I get a chance to have that kind of dichotomy. I go against how I look and try and bring warmth and likeability to that stereotypical villain.


Did you read the novel before stepping into this role? 

I didn’t have any time to get prepared, I just came off of filming “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” [and left] literally the next day. It all happened quickly and I’m actually quite glad that I really just delved into Steve’s [Yockey] version of the book and his brilliant recreation of it, I didn’t get bogged down or intimidated about what had gone before in terms of how Miranda fleshed out in the book. I knew that it would probably take a different turn once the character was developed through Steve’s eyes, it means that there’s a chance for me to bring something unique or fresh to it that perhaps would not have happened if I tried to recreate something that had gone before me.

Production on the show was underway when COVID hit, then you had to stop and start up again later in the year. What was that experience like?

I think probably this whole kind of global reset has given us a pause on proceedings for the world,  and [it’s]  a new perspective for us all to kind of just stop for a minute and reflect—which we never eot to do in this crazy fast-moving world we find ourselves in. So, I think that probably gave production a moment of reset and pause as well and I don’t know what it would have been like if we just carried on. We were three episodes in when we went into lockdown, and I think those last episodes perhaps will have changed because of the pandemic and because production had time to really reflect on what we already had in the can and maybe make different choices because we have the time to do that moving forward.

How was it getting to work with Kaley Cuoco and the rest of the cast? 

Kaley is fabulous just as a human being first and foremost, and she sets the stage—it’s very warm and welcoming and she’s authentic, so you’re working with somebody that has this instinctual and wonderful type of experience. You’re able to play and find things on the day that aren’t necessarily on the page [and that] wouldn’t necessarily come to fruition if you didn’t have somebody like Kaley allowing us to be confident and to be free and to have fun really. I found that with everyone I worked with on “The Flight Attendant.”

Michelle GomezNathan Johnson

This show brings the drama but has a comedic edge when examining dark subject matter. What do you think that balance brings for audiences who are watching?

I think comedy is such a powerful tool in telling any story. You can get away with so much truth, authenticity and kind of rigorous honesty and tell it through a joke. Comedy is a lot about observation and why we find it funny is because we see ourselves in it, it speaks to us and we relate to it. Kaley carries this phenomenal character that has now been described as being relentlessly fabulous and she carries it with such humanity that doesn’t make it feel judgmental or bad about ourselves. The comedy married to the drama and the thrill of “The Flight Attendant” means that we never feel patronized as an audience and we get to enjoy the story but we don’t feel oppressed by it or overwhelmed by it, we’re just sort of ignited by it. You lose yourself in the fantasy of a story to come away feeling lighter and energized and inspired because the tone and the look of the show is so ridiculously gorgeous.

“The Flight Attendant” premieres on HBO Max Nov. 26.