Katherine Heigl Addresses Rumors of Bad Behavior: ‘I Certainly Don’t See Myself as Being Difficult’

Katherine-Heigl-State-of-Affairs
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

State of Affairs” star Katherine Heigl was asked to address speculation that she and her mother are “difficult to work with” at NBC’s Television Critics Assn. summer press tour presentation Sunday.

Seeming momentarily unsure how to answer, a flustered Heigl haltingly offered, “I certainly don’t see myself as being difficult. I would never intend to be difficult. I don’t think my mother sees herself as being difficult. I think it’s important to everybody to conduct themselves professionally and respectfully and kindly, so if I’ve ever disappointed somebody, it was never intentional.”

Showrunner Ed Bernero attempted to come to Heigl’s defense and answer the question in her stead, but the reporter insisted that Heigl respond.

The star once described Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up” as “a little sexist” and criticized the movie’s portrayal of its female characters: “It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. It exaggerated the characters, and I had a hard time with it, on some days. I’m playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy?” she told Vanity Fair after the film’s release.

Heigl also caught heat in 2008 for revealing that she withdrew herself from Emmy contention while she was on “Grey’s Anatomy” because, “I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention. In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”

A year and a half later, Heigl departed “Grey’s Anatomy” after being released from her contract early.

While the reporter also asked Heigl whether she thinks some of the criticism she’s received in the press is due to the fact that she’s an outspoken woman in an industry that doesn’t want to hear what actresses really think, Heigl didn’t seem to remember that portion of the question and didn’t address it in her response.

The actress did admit that while she loves watching romantic comedies and enjoyed starring in them, she was worried that she was no longer “exercising [the] different muscles of my ability” with her most recent big screen endeavors, and that “State of Affairs” was “an extraordinary role and an extraordinary story” that she couldn’t pass up.

Executive producer Joe Carnahan told reporters that “State of Affairs” aims to “create something that would move in lockstep with a cable program. We really needed to endeavor to do something that was a step beyond [regular broadcast shows]… In laying out these first 12-15 episodes, in terms of the progression of dramatics and pathos, it’s really impressive. Our goal is to outdo what in cable has become the standard-bearer.” He confirmed that NBC has not put any restrictions on them in terms of content, and has pushed them to be competitive with cable’s brand of storytelling.

Bernero agreed, “There’s nothing that cable does that we can’t do.”

“Except show boobs,” Heigl wryly added.

Alfre Woodard co-stars opposite Heigl as the President of the United States, and noted that since the “world didn’t spin off its axis” when a black president was elected, the “gorilla in the room” is the fact that she’s a woman playing a president. She voiced hopes that people would grow used to hearing characters say “Madam President” in their living rooms so that they would be comfortable saying it in real life when the first female president is finally elected.

Heigl plays a CIA analyst tasked with giving the president her daily briefing on global security concerns. Carnahan directed the pilot for Universal TV. According to a recent Variety survey of commercial-ratings projections from four major ad buyers, “State of Affairs” is expected to generate the most commercial viewership among freshman scripted programs in the 2014-15 season in viewers between 18 and 49, the demographic most coveted by advertisers.

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  1. JoelR says:

    Of course, you are wrong (as most with similar arguments are). You can always walk away if it frightens you so much. By eliminating it EVERYWHERE, you have removed freedom. The freedom to walk into a bar if it allowed smoking, or to go to a non-smoking bar…THAT is choice. What you are espousing is removing freedom…not just from patrons but from business owners as well. You support choice as long as it aligns with YOUR choice…otherwise, to hell with that “freedom” stuff.

  2. niki says:

    all new series shot on Kodak film seem to do really well!

  3. rosecolored says:

    I agree that nothing on network will ever be as good as cable but I totally disagree with Steve about the smoking thing. I may not smoke but its a personal choice that shouldn’t be banned just because you don’t like it. I lost my grandmother from cancer and she never smoked a day in her life. I’m so sick of people wanting to keep the things they like and get rid of the things they don’t. Everyone has to make their own choices. That’s what makes this America. We’re already losing more things than we should I dont think taking away a persons choice on what they do with their life is gonna make this country any better.

    • Dave Baxter says:

      Smoking isn’t a “choice” when everyone else has to breathe it in as well. Smoking has to be a communal choice because only the “smoker” gets to actually choose. Everyone else has to just put up with it. So it’s more than a personal decision, hate to break it to you.

      • JoelR says:

        Of course, you are wrong (as most with similar arguments are). You can always walk away if it frightens you so much. By eliminating it EVERYWHERE, you have removed freedom. The freedom to walk into a bar if it allowed smoking, or to go to a non-smoking bar…THAT is choice. What you are espousing is removing freedom…not just from patrons but from business owners as well. You support choice as long as it aligns with YOUR choice…otherwise, to hell with that “freedom” stuff.

  4. Paul lane says:

    I give this 5 episodes -tops.

  5. Chef Rob says:

    I catered the pilot for State of Affairs and Katherine and her mom were a pleasure to work for and around. Always a kind word and a thank you, can’t speak for onset.

  6. Jim says:

    No, honey, your mouth is difficult!

    “Dear Television Academy;

    Please do not nominate me for an Emmy. Writings have been below standards.”

    Whatta moron!

  7. JoelR says:

    Not just boobs…they aren’t allowed to show ANYONE smoking. This has hamstrung the upcoming CONSTANTINE series, for which it is both a character trait and story element…but NBC won’t allow it. Network will ALWAYS be second-rate to cable…they don’t have the cojones for non-PC storytelling. (Imagine MAD MEN on NBC…it would’ve been like PAN AM!) THAT’S why we turn to cable.

    • davebaxter says:

      Smoking is a pretty lazy “character trait”. I’m certain the talented creative team can work around smoking just fine, if they are indeed talented.

    • Steve says:

      The last thing anyone needs to see on TV is smoking. I have no issue with it being banned everywhere. I’ve lost three friends to smoking: brain cancer, multiple cancers and even second-hand smoke. I have zero interest in seeing a character smoke.

      The only thing JoelR is correct about is that network programs will continue to be second-rate vs. pay TV. There is no network show that could approach Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Masters of Sex or numerous other shows.

      I find it interesting that early indicators point to this show being sampled heavily; time will tell if that’s true or not. What I do think will happen is an early cancellation and I think the same thing will happen to Tea Leoni’s show despite thinking she’s terrific, usually better than the material.

      • Michael Anthony says:

        If TV took into account everyone’s personal losses, then you’d have a blank screen. Yes, smoking is bad, but 20% or more if people do it. They also overeat, commit crimes, and all sorts of bad behaviour. Yet, none if those ate banned, and guns are far more dangerous. Even fatty foods will kill more people!

        If we must sanitize TV so as not to offend, then as I said, it’ll be a blank screen. Either show people as they really are or don’t show them at all.

        And forget the argument that smoking encourages kids! Video games dont and guns don’t either. Otherwise all kids would be packing.

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