Tea Leoni: Well, I’ve always really enjoyed a fish out of water — a lively fish out of water — and pretty much by about Page 2 of the script, I knew that’s what this was going to be. And Barbara’s (executive producer Barbara Hall) writing is just, well, spectacular. I called Nina (CBS programming chief Nina Tassler) after my first read through the script and said I was in.
Zap2it: You’ve been pursued to return to series work for a number of years. Was that a factor in prompting you to say “yes” this time?
Tea Leoni: Boy, that feels so good, and I’ve loved it. Maybe that was what it is. Actually, it’s really that my kids at 15 and 12 are ready.
In fact, I turned to my 12 year old son and said, “This is going to be a little tricky. I’m not going to be sort of around as much, you know, to take you to school and all that kind of thing. Are you cool with it?” He said, “Yeah. I was getting kind of sick of you.” So, I’m back.
Zap2it: How are you finding it to get back into the pace of doing a weekly series?
Tea Leoni: Physically, I feel like I’ve gone to the grocery store, picked up 50 lbs. of ground chuck and strapped it to my back. Spiritually, I haven’t been this happy about a job in years.
Zap2it: How politically aware do you consider yourself, and how is that helping your performance?
Tea Leoni: I am politically aware of my own politics. And it’s not helpful at all.
“Madam Secretary” premieres Sunday, Sept. 21, on CBS at 8:30 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.