Art imitates life as Emmy-nominated actress/producer Kaley Cuoco calls on her lifelong love of true crime to star in Based on a True Story, a satirical look at America's obsession with the genre. The comedic thriller premieres June 8 on Peacock. Reflecting on her prolific career in entertainment, Cuoco muses on the highs and lows throughout the journey in emmy, the award-winning official publication of the Television Academy, on newsstands May 30.
When Cuoco signed on to play Ava Bartlett, a down-on-her-luck LA real estate agent, she had no idea she'd be asking producers to write her real-life pregnancy into the script. Getting pregnant "was not a goal of mine," Cuoco says. "But Tom" — Pelphrey, a 2022 Emmy nominee for his performance as Laura Linney's brother on Ozark — "came along, and something changed. Then we got so blessed."
Creator/executive producer Craig Rosenberg embraced the change and saw the pregnancy as an opportunity. "We would still get the Kaley we wanted, but we'd have a new Kaley, so to speak, going through all different story elements and the challenges that come with being pregnant," Rosenberg says. "It added another interesting complication, which was great for the character and the show."
In "Surprise, Surprise!" emmy talks with Cuoco about this life-changing transformation developing on-screen. While the story aligned perfectly with Cuoco's pregnancy, the show's producers were amazed by her ability to manage 12-hour days as the months progressed. During the final days of production, as they were shooting at an LA tennis club, Cuoco — who was a ranked junior tennis player — showed off her skill during a match with Rosenberg. "I was on the court — nine months pregnant in a crop top — kicking his ass," she recalls. The show wrapped just three weeks before her due date.
Under the calm exterior, though, lies a disciplined pro who started acting in kindergarten. "I'm amazed at how normal I am," Cuoco says, crediting her parents for believing in her while keeping her grounded. Despite the support, it wasn't always an easy road for the performer. During the second season of HBO Max's The Flight Attendant (which Cuoco executive produced and starred in as Cassie Bowden, earning three Emmy nominations for the series), life had become difficult. "I was depressed, and this character was depressed," Cuoco says. "There was so much sadness that I didn't know where Kaley started and Cassie ended. It was a tough few months."
Without that pain, though, Cuoco believes she wouldn't have gotten to the happy place she's in now. "I've had such an amazing life, but I'm starting to learn why I made [certain] choices as far as my personal life goes," she says. "I would not be here in this moment without all those people and those things that happened to me."
While she hopes to do a second season of Based on a True Story, the future is open. She does, however, believe she and Pelphrey's daughter Matilda, who was born March 30, is destined to act. "She's going to be thrown into it, and there'll be a lot of dogs and a lot of animals and a lot of crazy. I never saw my life going this way; but I also love working, and I'm not going to be stopping anytime soon."
Additional feature highlights from the new issue include:
- In "Pitch Perfect," Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds talk with emmy about reviving Welsh football club Wrexham Red Dragons for their FX docuseries, Welcome to Wrexham. The duo discusses working with the team, the fans and the people of Wrexham, a working-class town in North Wales, to transform the club.
- Comedian and actor Keenan Thompson talks with emmy about celebrating his 20th season on the revered NBC sketch series Saturday Night Live. In "Look Both Ways," Thompson reflects on his experience as the longest-running cast member on the iconic show.
- In "Welcome to the After Party," the talented team behind the cult comedy classic Party Down talks to emmy about returning to Starz for a third season 13 years after its last episode aired.
Emmy, the official publication of the Television Academy, goes behind the scenes of the industry for a unique insider's view. With wide-ranging, inclusive subjects representative of the Television Academy membership and the medium as a whole, emmy showcases the scope of television and profiles the people who make it happen, from the stars of top shows and artisans behind the cameras, to programming trends and technological advances. Honored with dozens of awards for editorial excellence, emmy is published 12 times per year and is available on selected newsstands and at TelevisionAcademy.com for single print and digital copies as well as subscriptions.
Download the press release here.
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