Lifetime's To Be Fat Like Me (premiering tonight at 9 pm/ET) presents 8 Simple Rules alum Kaley Cuoco as Aly, a pretty, popular and athletic softball star who, sidelined and boxed out of a scholarship by an injury, enters a documentary-making competition by going undercover at high school wearing a fat suit, aiming to prove that personality can outshine physical appearance. Instead, the teen learns an even more illuminating lesson. TVGuide.com spoke with Cuoco about the experience.
TVGuide.com: Did you have any hesitation about taking this role, figuring people would grumble, "Aww, look at the thin, pretty actress 'slumming it'"?
Oh, yeah, totally. I felt weird the whole time doing it. Working with some of these people who are actually heavy, I felt stupid, silly.
TVGuide.com: That said, what made you want to do this movie?
I've been acting since I was 5, literally since I could walk, and I've always said, "I think one day I have to be in a fat suit." So when this script came around I was like, "I have to do it," even though I knew I would be miserable and probably hate every second of it. And they did not hand it over to me easily, which was even more interesting. I had to fight like crazy to get this job. At first they were like, "She's too old," "She can't hold her own movie," blah blah blah.... I finally said, "You guys have got to trust me. I have prepared my whole life to do this."
TVGuide.com: And did you get good notes on your performance?
I got good notes. Everyone was really, really happy — unless they were lying to me! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Were you familiar at all with your "mom," Caroline Rhea, having both at one time been on ABC shows?
I had never met Caroline, believe it or not, but when we met we just hit it off. She is absolutely hysterical.
TVGuide.com: What do you hope viewers come away with after seeing this movie?
I think there are going to be a lot of mixed feelings. Some people will probably be offended, which is ridiculous, but they will be. And some people will probably love it. I have no idea how they are going to take it. I think it has a great message.
TVGuide.com: And what is that message, in your words?
It all comes down to how you perceive yourself. Being in the business, it's not like I don't wake up every day going, "How do I look in this? Will I look fat today on camera?" Girls especially have that image problem constantly, and heavy girls have it thrown in their face, people are so mean about it.... It's just an eye-opener. It's funny, in these interviews people have asked me, "Are you nicer now to fat people?" I was never not nice. I just didn't care! But I'm completely more aware of it now.
TVGuide.com: Was it hard saying goodbye to your last show, Charmed?
Cuoco: No. [Laughs] I was only on the show for a year. It was way harder for everybody else to say goodbye. These girls had been doing it for eight years. But they were wonderful to me. Alyssa [Milano] still checks in on me every couple of days.... It was a great experience.
TVGuide.com: Wasn't there at one point some spin-off talk for your character?
Yep, there was definitely spin-off talk, but I don't think it was ever really an option.
TVGuide.com: Have you ever caught your 8 Simple Rules mom, Katey Segal, on Lost?
Cuoco: I don't watch Lost (although my dad does), but I caught her episodes. She was great. It's always fun to see people you love working.
TVGuide.com: What's going on with your new sitcom, The Big Bang Theory?
We're shooting that in January. If it gets picked up, fantastic; if it doesn't, I'll just have to do another one.
TVGuide.com: But if it does, when would it be on the air?
TVGuide.com: This was another role you had to fight for, right? They at first said you were too young?
This pilot was up in the last pilot season. And when I went to the network [for casting approval], Chuck Lorre, who I love and he loves me, said, "We love you, but we think you're too young." So they cast somebody else, did the pilot, and then wanted to recast her and change the whole outlook on this character. So Chuck called me like a month or two ago and was like, "Kaley, come meet with me." Twenty minutes after [meeting with the network] Chuck called and said, "You've got the job."
TVGuide.com: The premise is that two brilliant young physicists [Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons] are thrown for a loop by this hot chick?
Cuoco: That's exactly what it is. I don't know if I'm hot, but I'm the crazy girl next door.
TVGuide.com: But you are not another physicist.
I am definitely not a physicist. [Laughs] Absolutely not.
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