Longtime Hollywood star Sigourney Weaver is preparing to take her more than 30 years of acting experience to the small screen for a soapy view of American politics in USA’s new show “Political Animals.”
In the new series, which kicks off this Sunday (July 15), Weaver stars as Elaine Barrish, the divorced first lady of philandering ex-President, who — after running for president herself and failing — has risen on her own to the office of Secretary of State.
Story sound a little familiar?
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out that many of the characters, situations and events in “Political Animals” are clearly inspired by real politicos.
When asked about the her character’s striking similarities to the real-life story of Hilary Clinton, Sigourney told the Toronto Sun:
“Initially I went, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to play Hillary Clinton,’ ” said Weaver, best known for breakout role as Ellen Ripley in 1979’s “Alien” and its sequels. “But in fact, it’s not at all about Hillary.
“It’s inspired by a lot of the families who have been in the White House and want to get back in the White House, so not only the Clintons, but the Bushes, the Kennedys, even going back to the Roosevelts. Our creator Greg Berlanti couldn’t resist some of the facts about the Clintons. But that’s where it ends. Elaine actually is inspired by a head mistress I had in grammar school.”
Berlanti, who was also one of the creative forces behind the TV series “Brothers & Sisters,” added of Sigourney’s role:
“I don’t want to be coy of Hillary and Bill comparisons.” he said. “Their resume is sort of the same and I liked the dynamic of a power couple. But it comes more from Madeleine Albright’s book. We were trying to draw (on) what it means to be the first female secretary of state.”
Although “Political Animals” marks Weaver’s first regular TV role, the movie veteran notes this is not her first taste of Washington’s unsavory elements.
In college, Sigourney says she worked for a New Jersey congressman and was put in charge of his gun control mail. She left the experience with a foul taste in her mouth for politics.
“…I was a fierce gun control person — I had to send out one letter to people who wanted gun control and another letter, similar but quite different, to the people who didn’t want it. I think it’s called ‘straddling the fence.’ So it made me a little cynical.”
“Political Animals” premieres on Sunday, July 15 at 10 p.m. ET on USA.
Check out a sneak peek of the show in the following video clip which shows Sigourney Weaver addressing the Cabinet and President Garcetti (Adrian Pasdar) about a diplomatic crisis involving a hostage case.