Téa Leoni tackles her strongest role to date in the new CBS political drama, ‘Madam Secretary.’ The actress tells HollywoodLife.com why she decided to take on the Secretary of State — spoiler alert: powerful women are ‘fabulous!’
Fall TV is getting some major girl power with new dramas How To Get Away With Murder, starring Viola Davis; State of Affairs starring Katherine Heigl; Red Band Society, starring Octvavia Spencer; and, of course, Téa Leoni‘s Madam Secretary. The movie star reveals what drew her to television, how she relates to her character, plus, the importance of having women of big power on the small screen.
‘Madam Secretary’: Téa Leoni Returns To TV As Secretary Of State
Why did Téa Leoni decide to return to TV?
“I knew what this woman was going to be. The title was a dead giveaway,” Téa told HollywoodLife.com at CBS upfronts, earlier this year. “This is the woman I want to see in office.”
The actress plays Elizabeth McCord, the newly appointed Secretary of State who is handpicked by the President for her strong will and wits, after the mysterious death of predecessor. She also happens to battle just as many issues at home, as she does in the office.
Téa tells us that she really relates to her raw and honest character because she has kids who takeover a huge part of her life, despite her high-powered position, “which at times, is a huge pain in the ass.”
“Here’s another way about it,” the actress, 48, adds. “There are a lot of shows out there that are leaning wonderfully to the left and the right and forward and back…and I think we were really shooting to come up with a very wide open woman.”
Téa Leoni: Why Real, Powerful, Working Women On Television Is Crucial
With so many female leads in the TV landscape (oh hey, Olivia Pope!), Téa explains why having working women in the spotlight is important.
“We’re seeing incredibly strong, intricate, interesting, dynamic women on television — lots of them, which I love that,” the mother-of-two tells HollywoodLife.com (their father is her ex-husband David Duchovny).
“I think about Julianna [Margulies, The Good Wife] and we’re coming up right in front of her on Sunday nights, and I think there’s room to see now the side of these women in office. The thing about men, men can compartmentalize. Men can just go do that one thing. We don’t even have that option. So I love seeing the expression of us! We are so busy and so fabulous!”
Amen, sister! We love how Téa expresses the realness of working moms, and we can’t think of a better major player to demonstrate the power of women than her tough-as-nails title character.
“That’s my life. It is my life,” she adds, about relating to her character. “When I had my daughter, I was so smitten, I thought, ‘Oh, I would never go back to work because I don’t want to miss a day with her,’ and then I realized, I need to go back into the universe…so I can bring something back to her — some life, some experience, some chaos, some romance, whatever it is.”
Madam Secretary premieres on Sunday, Sept. 21 (8:30/7:30c) on CBS.
HollywoodLifers, will you be tuning into Madam Secretary this season? Let us know if you’re adding Téa Leoni’s drama to your Fall TV list!
— Elizabeth Wagmeister