Anjelica Huston, <EM>Medium</EM> Anjelica Huston, Medium

Cue the nightmares! After a month-long hiatus, Medium creeps back to the air on Feb. 18 (10 pm/ET, NBC) with another guest appearance by Anjelica Huston. The Oscar-winning actress plays Cynthia Keener, a locater of lost people, who has been waving paychecks like crazy at the show's desperate, dead-broke psychic Allison DuBois (Patricia Arquette). This week the duo teams up to find a deaf girl who has been kidnapped and held hostage for millions — possibly by someone she knows. In a baffling show of paranormal empathy, Allison is struck deaf, too. But there's an even bigger mystery going on here, and we went to Huston to solve it. What the heck is your movie-queen self doing on episodic TV?
Anjelica Huston: Well, one doesn't want to become a dinosaur! To rely on movie work these days — especially if you're an actress over the magic age of 40 — is to rely on something quite flimsy. And some really remarkable people are working in television these days. Just look at Glenn Close absolutely rocking on Damages! Why Medium in particular?
Huston: Patricia Arquette, largely. I'm her biggest fan! I fall back in admiration of her and the talent and energy she puts into the show. Word is, she pretty much runs things on the set.
She runs the show in a most beautiful, maternal way that makes for a very nice experience, even though the hours are ridiculously long and the work ridiculously hard. There's such a wonderful sense of family there, and you can feel it when you watch the show. I think the DuBois family represents a lot of people in America, especially in their struggles to stay ahead of the system. Arquette has admitted she was kind of embarrassed to have you come to her TV show, where there's so little time to do the job well. It's not what you film stars are accustomed to.
Huston: They were all very patient with me! I like to come to the set fully armed, knowing my lines backward and forward, and that's hard on episodic TV, where you get your script the night before. I've turned down episodic work in the past, but the idea of a six-episode arc with this very rich character was intriguing. So what the hay, why not do it? [Laughs] And I'll tell you this: My business manager was not disappointed in my decision. Your character is a total gas. On one hand, Cynthia seems like a sincere advocate for missing persons, but she's also a bit of a mercenary, an ambulance chaser. Oh, and a snide, snippy b--ch.
Initially, that was my belief. That's pretty much all I was given to work with at first, so I just went along with it and flew by the seat of my pants until they filled me in on her full story. Yes, Cynthia is flinty and weird, but there's a reason for that. She harbors a dark secret and is on a quest. She needs money because of a personal interest I won't divulge. There's something very strongly at stake. In the end, you'll see she's actually a pretty good egg. I like that my character starts out being quasi-skeptical about Allison's powers, then starts to believe in them to the point where it unites the women. Are you into this psychic stuff?
Oh, absolutely! I find it very fascinating. I don't want to sound like a page out of the National Enquirer, but I have some psychic powers of my own — a modest sixth sense, if you will. I think a lot of women have it, certainly not as acute a gift as Allison's, but we've got it! [Laughs] We weren't burned at the stake for nothing!

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