Kaley Cuoco is crediting her late TV dad John Ritter with teaching her how to be a leader.
In a new interview with Variety, the Golden Globe nominee, 35, who both stars in and executive produces HBO Max's "The Flight Attendant," recalled how thoughtfully Ritter, who died in 2003, treated his co-stars on the set of the ABC sitcom "8 Simple Rules."
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"The respect and the kindness and the joy he brought to that set, it was unbelievable," said Cuoco, who remembered Ritter telling her, "I really think you’re going to go places," and introducing her to his management team.
"In the future, if I was that No. 1, I knew how I was going to run my set," Cuoco recalled thinking at the time.
In "The Flight Attendant," Cuoco plays Cassie, an alcoholic flight attendant who's forced to confront her childhood trauma while investigating the brutal murder of one of her one-night stands.
Though that description sounds grim, the show tosses plenty of comedic, romantic and spy thriller fun into the mix.
Zosia Mamet co-stars as Annie, a no-nonsense lawyer who's one of Cassie's closest friends. The former "Girls" star told Variety that just like Ritter, Cuoco created a friendly environment on the show's set.
"It’s such a trickle-down situation. The captain of the ship — the way they are infects everybody else. And it was so clear that Kaley was so proud already of what we were doing," said Mamet.
"Everyone here matters. Everybody here is a part of this process. Even when we came back during COVID, it was still fun," she added.
In December, HBO Max announced that the series had been renewed for a second season, so what can fans expect from Cassie? Cuoco says she's just as interested in depicting her struggling with her newfound sobriety as she is showing her solving crimes.
"She thinks this is going to be quick and easy, and ‘I’m nailing this!’” Cuoco said. “And she’s going to learn really fast that this is a lifelong issue that will not be cured for her overnight.”
Shortly after the 78th annual Golden Globes nominations were announced earlier this month, Cuoco posted videos on Instagram of herself bursting into tears after learning she'd been nominated for the series as both an actor and a producer.
"Oh my god, I can't believe it," she cries in one of the clips.
Cuoco told Variety that her shock in the videos was genuine. "I never thought I’d get a nomination for anything, ever — that was not a goal, or a thought in my mind," she said.
Still, the nominations were clearly a boost.
"I'm going to keep going up, and there’s nothing stopping me now. And I feel there’s a lot more on the horizon, because I think my career just started," she added.