Anyone who witnessed West Wing First Lady Abigail Bartlet's reaction to her husband-in-chief's decision to run for a second term earlier this season knows that Stockard Channing has that whole psycho thing down pat. But if you thought she was mad then, wait until you see her lose control in The Business of Strangers, her new indie, opening Friday in New York and Los Angeles.
In the film, the Emmy- and Oscar-nominated actress plays a high-powered female executive who goes into meltdown mode while cooped up in a hotel room with Julia Stiles. "I had to get down and dirty and ugly and strange," she tells TV Guide Online. "I knew I had to go someplace I'd never really [gone] before and I wondered if I could still do that — because I haven't done this kind of craziness in a long time."
"It was pretty crazy," she adds. "I was scared everybody would laugh at me — and maybe they will!"Channing can relate to having bouts of temporary insanity, having once stalked the late Sir Alec Guinness while shopping on Rodeo Drive. "I thought, 'Oh my God! He's going into a book store!' and I followed him." Although she never did approach the acting giant, merely stalking Obi-Wan Kenobi was enough of a shock to her system. Laughs the thesp: "I didn't think I'd have [it] in me to do that!"