Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Today Online Singapore: Téa Leoni on female politicians, high heels and multi-tasking - October 2014

Madam Secretary’s Tea Leoni would let The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies win an election

SINGAPORE — To answer the call of politics, Tea Leoni gave up valuable time that could have been spent fishing.
The 48-year-old actress plays Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord in Madam Secretary, the latest television series to mount the bandwagon of shows about female politicians, such as The Good Wife, starring Julianna Margulies, and Scandal, starring Kerry Washington.

Leoni, known for films such as Deep Impact and Fun With Dick And Jane, hasn’t worked regularly in television since the late ’90s sitcom The Naked Truth. But Madam Secretary was too attractive to pass up, said the mother of two teenagers.

“I’m always apprehensive about taking a role. I think you can look at my career and probably guess as much. I don’t work that often. I like my kids a lot and I like fishing, too. But sometimes, I enter into things backwards — often, actually. And such was the case with Madam Secretary,” she said. “I read the script and thought, ‘I can’t not do this’. And I was so encouraged by what I was seeing portrayed by my peers on TV.”

As to the differences between her character and herself, Leoni quipped: “I don’t think she’s as thrilling as I am. I think I’ve got her in the fun department. I’m just scintillating, fun to talk to, up for anything. Elizabeth’s very busy.”

Q: It has been 16 years since your last TV series. How are you coping?
A: It’s worse than that — I’ve never played Number One on the call sheet on a one-hour drama. I think I’m coping quite well but I’ll tell you one thing: My feet are killing me. There are a lot of high heels in this show. John Kerry had some real heels to fill.

Q: What do you think are some things women are better at than men?
A: I think that women are not raised to depend on our solid right hook. We have an understanding that physically, that is not going to be our greatest might. So I think women are born with a great appreciation and knack for diplomacy. (Also) I read a study that said men just can’t multitask the way women can because they can’t hear two different sounds at the same time and process them. In other words, you walk into a room and the guy is sitting on the couch watching TV and he doesn’t hear that the washing machine is off-kilter and banging against the wall, and the dryer buzzer is going off, and the children are screaming and killing each other in the next room. Women can hear all of that and deal with all of that — break up the kids’ fight, re-balance the washing machine and turn off the dryer. That talent probably plays very well for women in politics. Because there is a hell of a lot of noise in politics.

Q: How would you begin to resolve some of the world’s political problems?
A: I do think it would behoove all of us all around the world for almost every issue, to stop and consider the state of our children. No matter the country, I think children are everyone’s greatest asset and greatest promise.

Q: Between you and Julianna Margulies, who do you think would make a better politician? Who would win in a fight?
A: (Guffaws) I just have to tell you that Julie is a friend of mine and I cannot wait to find her tomorrow and tell her about that question. Maybe because she’s a friend, I can’t even imagine trying to take her down. That would be a really good ticket. Maybe by Season Four of our show, before she’s ready to quit her show, maybe she could join ours. We could have these two women run for President and Vice President. I want to be Vice President. I think his job is easier.

Catch Madam Secretary on Thursdays at 8.50pm on Sony Channel (SingTel mio TV Ch 316).

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