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Kaley Cuoco said she would have played her “Big Bang Theory” character Penny for “20 years” if the show hadn’t ended.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter as part of their comedy actress roundtable, Cuoco revealed that she was worried her experience on the long-running CBS sitcom would influence the reactions to her critically-acclaimed role on HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant,” for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe.
“Coming from a sitcom of 12 years, it was about trying to do something different — but not so different that people are like, ‘Why is she doing that?'” she said of her work on the drama. “It was a bit of a fine line.”
According to Cuoco, she wanted to “flex different muscles,” but was still grateful for her role as Penny.
“I get asked a lot, ‘Are you trying to get away from Penny?’ And the answer is not at all. I would’ve played Penny for 20 years,” the actress said.
“But I was nervous, wondering, like, am I going to be accepted, even by the business? Or are [people] going to be like, ‘Why is this sitcom girl trying to do this semi-serious show?'” Cuoco added.
“The Big Bang Theory” ended in 2019 after 12 seasons.
Cuoco recalled earlier this year that she was stunned to learn the hit sitcom was coming to an end.
In an February interview with Variety, the star recalled how she was “summoned” to cocreator Chuck Lorre’s office along with her costar Johnny Galecki in 2018, right when season 12 had started production. The two actors thought they were heading into a meeting about doing a 13th season of the show.
But their costar Jim Parsons was in the room, too. And according to Cuoco, Parsons told them: “I don’t think I can continue on.”
“And I was so shocked that I was literally like, ‘Continue on with what?'” the actress said. “Like, I didn’t even know what he was talking about. I looked at Chuck: ‘Wow. I thought we were — I’m so blown away right now.'”
Despite Cuoco and Galecki’s desire to continue on with the popular show, “The Big Bang Theory” cast and creators had all agreed they wouldn’t do additional seasons without Parsons.
“That was the one thing we all agreed on — we came in together, we go out together,” Cuoco told Variety, adding that she was “in a state of shock” when she learned the show would be ending.