×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Series Mania: Julianna Margulies Reflects on Her Career, George Clooney’s Set Etiquette, Politics

Actress also talks about domestic violence, ‘E.R.,’ ‘The Sopranos,’ ‘The Good Wife’

PARIS — Julianna Margulies was in Paris this week as a key note speaker at the 8th Series Mania.

She wasn’t pulling any punches in talking politics and was quick to defend the arts, advocate for victims of gun violence, and take a swing at the White House.

On protecting the arts: “What we have to remember is that what we are left with, our history as a people, is the arts. It’s so important in America now with the threat of arts funding being cut.”

She was cautious concerning what the future may bring. “Journalists are having to raise money to get paid to report truthfully. This is a frightening moment where our core values as human beings are being challenged.”

It was not all gloom and doom, however, as the actress noted that this is also a time of opportunity. “The beauty is the energy it’s created to overcome that. We can’t only cry about it, we have to get up and do something and it has stirred something inside a lot of people in America.”

Margulies was asked questions spanning the entirety of her prolific career from her most recent project, CBS’s recently-finished “The Good Wife,” back to her days as a “Puerto Rican prostitute with a heart of gold” in her debut feature film “Out for Justice,” in which she starred alongside Steven Segal. “I didn’t know who he was,” admitted the actress. Her initial unawareness would became admiration however: “I am very grateful to him, he got me my SAG card.”

Next, the actress regaled the packed auditorium of international admirers with stories from her time on NBC’s mega-hit “E.R.”, where she had originally auditioned for a different part. “They made me wait for two hours in a room,” she recalled. “Looking back, I’m appalled at my behavior.” Having other auditions later in the day, when her turn came up to read in front of Steven Spielberg, Michael Crichton and John Wells, she delivered the lines “with a terse, snide energy because I was pissed.” That energy prevented Margulies from getting the part, but to the benefit of everyone who watched the ‘90s phenomenon it caught the attention of the assembled super producers and she was asked to read for the part of the now beloved Carol Hathaway, a character originally meant to die in the pilot.

After a brief clip from her time on “The Sopranos” and commenting on the absolute quality of the writing of the show, the actress told the crowd the most important lesson she had learned working with James Gandolfini as well as George Clooney. “(Clooney) treated everyone with respect and dignity and he schooled me.” When an actor would hold up production, “He said it’s not us I’m pissed off about, it’s the crew that works harder, is paid less and want to get home to their family. He taught me set etiquette. James Gandolfini was the same way.”

Of her “The Good Wife” character Alicia Florrick Margulies noted: “I think one of the things Alicia suffered from was repressing everything down. As someone who is passionate and who can emote, I don’t.” The future of the series wasn’t always assured for Margulies, “When I saw the pilot I remember thinking it was interesting, and that it wouldn’t get picked up.” In the end though the “The Good Wife” enjoyed not just commercial success but critical acclaim with the actress having won the Prime Time Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2011 and 2014, and the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series in 2010.

As for her future, Margulies played coy. “I told my family I would take a year off, and that year is up in May.” In the meantime, she has been teaching master classes at universities across the U.S. She was offered a chance to revisit the role of Alicia in “The Good Wife” spin-off “The Good Fight” noting “the reason I declined was because I thought it would be a disservice to those women and they will carry that torch.” Audiences in the U.S. and France alike will be waiting to see what happens this May.

More TV

  • Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor

    Disney Channel Fires 'Andi Mack' Actor Arrested for Plotting Sex With Minor

    Disney Channel has severed ties with “Andi Mack” actor Stoney Westmoreland following his arrest for allegedly trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old. “Stoney Westmoreland, an actor working on the series ‘Andi Mack,’ was arrested in Salt Lake City today,” a Disney Channel spokesperson said in a statement Friday. “Given the nature of [...]

  • Russian Doll

    TV News Roundup: Natasha Lyonne's 'Russian Doll' Sets Netflix Premiere Date

    On Friday’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for “Russian Doll” and Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Brexit” film has a premiere date on HBO FIRST LOOKS Showtime has released a new teaser for the upcoming comedy series, “Black Monday,” which will premiere Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The series stars and is executive produced by Don [...]

  • Vanity Fair Review

    TV Review: 'Vanity Fair'

    There’s something comforting about the predictability of a period piece novel adaptation in the Masterpiece Theater tradition. Knowing the story, or even just the rhythms of the genre, there are rarely many surprises. The women will toss off witticisms and cry careful, pretty tears; the men will steel their jaws and declare their love, ideally [...]

  • FILE - In this April 5,

    CBS Claims Commitment to Ending Harassment. Its Actions Say Otherwise (Column)

    At this point, a new breaking sexual harassment case at CBS isn’t exactly a surprise. Over and over again, powerful CBS company men from producers to executives to the ex-CEO himself have made headlines for propagating decades of harassment and abuse, with dozens of witnesses affirming that the pattern was business as usual. But as [...]

  • Willow ShieldsVariety Portrait Studio, Beautycon Festival

    'Hunger Games' Alum Willow Shields Joins Netflix Drama Series 'Spinning Out'

    Willow Shields has been cast in a series regular role in “Spinning Out,” the upcoming ice skating drama series at Netflix. She joins a cast that also includes Kaya Scodelario, who was announced as the series lead on Thursday, taking over the role originally held by Emma Roberts. Shields will star as Serena, Kat Baker’s (Scodelario) [...]

  • Adam Levine Cardi B

    Maroon 5 and How the Super Bowl Halftime Show Became Music's Least Wanted Gig

    Who would have thought that the Super Bowl Halftime show, an American institution watched by more than 100 million people, would become the least wanted gig in music? But thanks to the ongoing controversy concerning the NFL’s stance on a player’s right to protest, brought to the forefront by football’s top conscientious objector Colin Kaepernick, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content