There were few shows on TV as fast as HBO’s wacky thriller-comedy Max The stewardess. The protagonist of the series Cassie, played by Kaley Cuoco, was always on the move, scurrying from one beautiful place to another, eluding the federal government while trying to figure out how her tall, dark, handsome one-night stand Alex (Michiel Huisman) woke up dead next to her in a hotel room in Bangkok.
While Cassie is literally on the run from the FBI, she also tries to outrun and avoid her inner demons, demons that stem from decades of alcohol abuse and deep-seated guilt over her father’s death. In a crucial and surreal fantasy streak from the penultimate episode of season one, Cassie accidentally ends up in an AA reunion and runs into a bevy of Alexes, a spoiled version of herself and a gigantic bunny. as she tries to escape her past. . In a climactic monologue at the end of a montage of painful memories, Cassie realizes with emotion that it’s time to stop running and face her demons head-on. “She presses the pause button,” Huisman says. “No need to run anymore. “
Vanity Fair spoke with Huisman and Cuoco about filming the Memory Palace sequence, the technical tricks used to make it as surreal and real as possible, and, in Cuoco’s words, the “tightrope of emotions” she has had to travel to get there.
In the middle of episode seven, “Hitchcock Double,” it looks like Cassie is running out of options. Still a prime suspect in Alex’s murder, with an assassin named Felix chasing her, Cassie said goodbye to her best friend and legal representative Annie (Zosia Mamet) for what she believes was the last time and agrees to leave town with her former attempted murder turned ally Miranda (Michelle gomez). Before shipping to Montreal or Toronto, however, they must meet Miranda’s contact at an undisclosed location.
This undisclosed location just happens to be the very last place Cassie would like to be: a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Cassie, who has just been arrested for drunk and disorderly driving, still deeply denies her own alcohol addiction and is not yet ready to face it. “I don’t need to take this step,” she told the group. “I am not an alcoholic. Sorry for the rest of you. Despite her protests that she’s okay, the AA reunion triggers something within Cassie and she disassociates herself from the hotel room – now ironically aligned with the whale’s “Keep Your Head Out Of The Whale” poster. water “from the AA meeting – with Alex, who pushes her to face her drinking problem.
“It’s not like Alex to be… such a dick,” Huisman said of Alex’s confrontation with Cassie during the Memory Palace. “What I like about [this scene] it’s that all of the trauma – everything Cassie ran away from – gets to a point where she can’t control it anymore, ”Huisman tells me. “It’s not fun anymore.” To get her attention, Alex smashes several glasses, a metaphor for how Cassie’s life is falling apart. Huisman says the bottles were glass of sugar – “this is the safest” – and he must have smashed about 10 to get the shot. Still, Cassie isn’t quite ready to face the music on her drinking problem just yet, which also takes its toll on Alex, as he relies on Cassie to solve her murder.
“He was really pushing her… because he had an agenda for himself,” Huisman says. “He wants to know what happened to him. He wants her to get to the bottom of what happened, but he sees her as an out of control spiral.
And just like that, Cassie is sitting in the AA meeting, anxiety levels are skyrocketing. She sits at the back of the AA meeting and people from her past begin to populate the church basement: her father, the other car crash victims, her young self and a drunk version. of herself the night she met Alex, all looking straight at her. Throughout it all, Cuoco does an incredible job of calibrating her emotions, allowing audiences to take the journey with her, from a little uncomfortable at the start of the sequel to a full-blown panic attack in the middle. “Nothing was really turned out of order, so I had to be emotionally ready to crack at all times,” she says. “Before each scene, I would ask producers, ‘Okay, where was I right before that and where are we next?’ It didn’t help my process to do more than that.
As Cassie begins to panic more and more, dozens of Alex’s flood the AA room, sitting in chairs and looking directly at Cassie. As to how they shot all these Alexs in this AA room, apparently “it’s a relatively easy trick,” Huisman explains. “It requires locking the camera and deciding where you are going to focus. Once the camera is set, Huisman says he’s hit his different marks in the room and each take is ultimately layered to give the illusion that there are dozens of Alex’s in the room at the same time.