Playing a lesbian on the second season of Apple TV’s “The Morning Show” isn’t the first time that Julianna Margulies has taken on a gay role. She and Kyra Sedgwick played a couple in the 2000 indie “What’s Cooking?” However, that was years before there was a push for LGBTQ actors to be cast in LGBTQ roles. During an appearance on this week’s episode of the “Just for Variety” podcast, Margulies was asked if she had any reservations about playing gay on “The Morning Show.”
“Who’s to say I haven’t had my own gay experiences?” Margulies responded. “We’re making assumptions.”
In “The Morning Show,” Margulies is an out television news reporter who ends up dating Bradley, played by Reese Witherspoon.
“You’ve got Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon playing these two very strong characters, and in the second season instead of bringing a man in to upset that balance they brought in a woman. Hats off to that, because the truth is women are more afraid of women,” Margulies said. “They dress for women. We don’t dress for men. We dress for each other. We want to impress each other much more. … It made so much sense, and I thought, ‘Ah, a show that gets women. This is great.'”
Margulies acknowledges that there was some talk that her casting could get blowback. “I know there was some trepidation of, ‘Will lesbian actresses be angry?’ and I can tell you I would never, ever be angry if a lesbian played a straight woman,” Margulies said.
Showrunner Kerry Ehrin provided Margulies with a written back story for Laura which detailed her career being derailed 20 years earlier after she was outed. “It’s rare to get such a rich 20-year history of who this character was before you get to play her,” Margulies said. “That’s usually the homework I do on my own.”
By the time viewers meet Laura, she’s not only made a comeback but she’s thriving in the cut throat business of broadcast news. As drama unfolds around her, she proves to be one of the most level-headed characters on the show.
“I really love that she’s 100 percent comfortable in her own skin and has no ulterior motives. She doesn’t have a hidden agenda,” Margulies explained. “She is probably the only character on that show that has no hidden skeletons in her closet … I view her in the midst of all this chaos that’s going around and all these secrets people are trying to keep it’s like all she has to do is stand still just to make a difference.
“It’s almost like she’s the lens of the audience and the audience gets to watch these people absolutely spiraling down in front of your eyes but you sort of see it through Laura’s and Laura’s done all the work on herself to get completely comfortable with who she is in her sexuality to have gone back to field work in journalism and really earned her stripes the right way to get to where she is in her career, which is at the top,” she continued. “It’s sort of a wonderful place to play, to watch people squirming and to say, ‘Your life doesn’t have to be this hard. You’re making it much harder than it needs to be.'”
A third season of the show has yet to be given a green-light. “If they want me, I would be back,” Margulies said. “I would be back in a jiffy.”