Interview with Carrie Preston

Carrie Preston thought she had blown her chances of returning to “The Good Wife.”

Preston got the job playing Elsbeth Tascioni during the CBS drama’s first season, then Season 2 came and went and she never got heard from producers.

“I was back at work at ‘True Blood’ and then they did a whole season and didn’t invite me back,” Preston told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. “I thought, ‘OK, I guess that was a one off.’ I just thought that was that.”

Then, in Season 3, her agents got the call. “The Good Wife” wanted her back and for multiple episodes. “I just was so excited. When you’re an actor, you get a little paranoid that maybe you did something wrong, that they didn’t want you back — we’re very neurotic sometimes,” she said with a laugh. “I was relieved when I did get the call and just held my breath going, ‘Oh gosh, I hope I can do this part justice,’ because on the page it’s just so delicious. Thankfully, it worked. They continued to invite me back and I feel very blessed about that.”

Preston made her eighth appearance on “The Good Wife” on Sunday, Feb. 17 in “Red Team/Blue Team.” On this outing as Elsbeth Tascioni, Preston got to share the majority of her scenes with Alan Cumming and new guest star Kyle MacLachlan. Preston opened up about how she makes the quirky character tick, what’s ahead on “The Good Wife” and life with new talent behind the scenes of “True Blood.”

What do you think it is about Elsbeth that clicks so well with viewers?
I think she’s so unusual, she’s just not like the other kids. I think it’s just maybe refreshing to come at that show from another angle. She’s kind of like a little cayenne pepper, you know? A spice into the show. I think that grabs people’s attention, but I also think the writing is quite interesting and different, rather unpredictable. I think anything that is unpredictable is usually something that people want to pay attention to….

Have you added anything to Elsbeth that wasn’t in the script/direction?
I guess it’s a real marriage of the actor and the words. It’s one of those parts that could be played in many different ways, I think. I try and bring a vulnerability to her that may not be apparent on the page that makes her — and any character, I think — more complicated. A lot of people probably don’t realize how difficult it is to stick that lawyer speak when you’re not a lawyer. [Laughs.] I see everyone on “The Good Wife” — everyone, people who have been there since day one — struggling with that language because it is just not how people talk. So trying to make that language sound like it’s natural and it’s something that you’ve been speaking for decades or something, it takes a special kind of work. We all try to abide it with as much truth and reality as we can. I think with Elsbeth, because she is so out of the ordinary, I have license to do maybe a few more twists to that dialogue and that way of thinking….

Do you have a favorite episode that you’ve done?
I guess I like “Executive Order 13224,” the one with Bob Balaban. It was I think the first time that for me where I really was able to synthesize the character in a way. The first couple of episodes I did, I was still discovering what she was about too, as were the showrunners and the [creators, the] Kings and Brooke Kennedy, who directs some of the episodes. Brooke directed “Executive Order 13224” and she and I really work well together. She was very helpful in a couple of takes, just helping me to rediscover this woman I hadn’t really done in a year and a half. That was really thrilling for me. It was like getting on a bike and going downhill at a 100 miles per hour and just going “Wheeee!” [Laughs.] It felt like that!…

What can you tell me about the next season of “True Blood”? Probably nothing, but I have to ask.
I know you do. We have a new showrunner because Alan Ball is not running the show anymore. Mark Hudis, who is one of our writers, is our new showrunner. We also have a couple of new writers, so it’s interesting. It still has the flavor of “True Blood,” as it always will, but it does have something — a little spring in its step in an interesting way, I think. Everybody is finding the new chemistry between all of that and all those players. And of course, with “True Blood,” there’s always still a million new characters that are being introduced. I don’t know how they keep that many balls in the air and continue to juggle, but they do.-Huffington Post

It sounds like Carrie has been keeping herself busy!  And, I’m interested to see just how different the new season of True Blood will be, even though they didn’t talk much about it in this interview….