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Catherine Zeta-Jones on ‘Prodigal Son’ and Dreams of Working With Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren

catherine zeta jones
Courtesy of Catherine Zeta-Jones

Earlier this week, Fox broke the hearts of “Prodigal Son” fans by announcing that the show will not return for a third season. In this week’s penultimate episode, Dr. Vivian Capshaw (Catherine Zeta-Jones) held Martin (Michael Sheen) hostage, and her true colors began to emerge.

On this edition of Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast, Zeta-Jones discusses what drew her to the role, which was her first in TV since “Feud: Bette and Joan.” She shares what it was like to work with Sheen, and dives into her character’s obsession with butterscotch. “My character put perfume on because she knew she was meeting Martin Whitly that day,” he shares. “But he didn’t smell that, he didn’t smell the scent of a woman. He smelled butterscotch.”

Zeta-Jones also opens up about her ideal acting roles, lamenting the fact that she has not had the chance to work with many great female actresses. In an ideal world, she says, “I’d love to work with Helen Mirren. I’d love to work with Meryl Streep. I’m usually the woman cast opposite the man,” the Oscar-winning actress says. “There are so many great actors, women that I want to work with. And I want to be in stories that see a woman’s dynamic together.” 

During the podcast, Zeta-Jones revisits her first TV role, the BBC hit, “Darling Buds of May” (streaming on Prime Video) and becoming a national treasure in the U.K. before moving to America.

“When I came across the pond, it was paramount for me to be able to prove to the American producers, creative directors, that I was able to play an American,” says Zeta-Jones. She says the experience of starting afresh was “very humbling.” While waiting for casting calls, the actress would spend time picking up the different accents around her in case she would be called in for a job that required that skill.

A Tony Award winner for her performance in the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s 1973 work “A Little Night Music,” the actress says she would love to go back. And while she says there’s a wealth of characters she could play from classic theatrical roles to Shakespearean roles, she doesn’t rule out doing something original. “I would love to do something that I can put my stamp to because with doing a revival or doing another version of a classic play ‘Lady Macbeth,’ or ‘Uncle Vanya,’ people always go, ‘Hmm, I saw Judi Dench do that at the National and she was wonderful.’” She adds, “I would love to create a role in an original play or an original musical on Broadway.”

And she hasn’t ruled out a return to the West End, where she once played roles in productions of “Annie” and “42nd Street.”

The Oscar-winning actress also maps out the next chapter of her career, hoping to play more British roles, and “going back to my British roots. Maybe even doing a role where I can use my Welsh accent in its full entirety.”

She also launched her own lifestyle brand, Casa Zeta-Jones, curated by and designed by the actress. The latest addition to the collection is an equitably sourced and sustainable coffee line supporting people in need. “Being in America, I became a real coffee drinker,” she says.

Later in the episode, she discusses being open to starring alongside husband Michael Douglas, but not in a romantic film, “Maybe a remake of ‘War of the Roses,’ that would be fun.”

Variety’s Emmy edition of the “Awards Circuit” podcast is hosted by Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Danielle Turchiano and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in television. Each week during Emmy season, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday.