Kaley Cuoco‘s upcoming dark comedy thriller, The Flight Attendant, was one of hundreds of productions forced to shut down earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the HBO Max series is looking to restart production in New York by the end of August, following new safety and social distancing protocols.
“Assuming everything goes to plan, you’ll be seeing The Flight Attendant on HBO Max this fall,” executive producer and co-showrunner Steve Yockey told reporters during the virtual Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday.
As Yockey shared, The Flight Attendant had just begun filming episode six of eight when they abruptly stopped production in early March. Thankfully, all international filming had been completed, with remaining filming left in New York.
Yockey explained why he was confident enough to have production resume by the end of the month, saying there have been strict guidelines and processes the cast and crew have and will adapt to ensure everyone’s health and well-being. From actors getting tested everyday, along with crew members, and stocking up on personal protective equipment (PPE), in addition to other safety precautions, he said the thoroughness is what is “really making everyone feel confident.”
With three episodes left to film, there will be some minor “rewrites to certain elements to the scripts,” Yockey said, further elaborating that they are tweaks to physical details of certain scenes for safety and that the story has not changed, “which we feel very lucky about.”
Based on the 2018 best-selling novel by Chris Bohjalian, The Flight Attendant follows a flight attendant, Cassie (Cuoco), who wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man (Michiel Huisman) — and no recollection of what happened. As Cassie’s world unravels, she begins to wonder if she was the one responsible for the man’s death.
“Over the past few years I’ve been looking at books to produce or different stories that I thought were kind of interesting to me, but nothing excited me. I read one little snippet — a line of the book — on Amazon and I got this weird chill,” Cuoco admitted with a laugh, sharing that she led her to team to believe she had read the book when she sought out the rights. (She hadn’t.) “I read it really fast and thank god I loved it as much as I thought. There was a bidding war and I won the rights. And I’m like, ‘Now what do I do?'”
It all worked out in the end, with Cuoco — an executive producer on The Flight Attendant — helping assemble a cast that includes Rosie Perez, Zosia Mamet, Michelle Gomez, Merle Dandridge, T.R. Knight, Nolan Gerard Funk, Colin Woodell and Griffin Matthews.
“Cassie is extremely flawed. It’s an actor’s dream to play someone like her. She’s got a roller-coaster of issues but a heart of gold. She’s strong and a great female character to play,” Cuoco said. “Coming off of doing comedy and doing Big Bang [Theory], which I love — I love making people laugh — there was something about this that I thought if we could find the right team and bring some levity to such a dark book, that it could be kind of cool.”
“Being a producer and being part of the creative has been a whole new experience for me…,” she added. “It’s been totally career-changing for me.”
Though the show has been billed as a limited series, Cuoco hinted that there are hopes for it to continue beyond the finale. “We have plans for another season,” she assured, with Yockey chiming in, “It is a limited series and we have plans baked in.”
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