Christine Baranski has been a familiar face to viewers since the 1980s in projects as diverse as Cybill, The Big Bang Theory, Cruel Intentions and Mamma Mia! Nominated for an Emmy five years in a row for playing Diane Lockhart on Ten’s The Good Wife, a winis not yet hers.
Are you as tough as Diane? I think she might be tougher than me. I like to think I’m very strong and resilient, but to run a law firm, to get to the point where you’re a woman at the head of a law firm … I found it challenging as an actress.
You were very vocal recently when Season 5 didn’t get the Emmy nomination ... There was a bit of backlash for the fact that we didn’t get nominated. I’ve read many articles this year saying, it’s the best television show on the air period. It’s not like Season 5 was our high point and then it’s like, oh, well, now we’re going backwards. If anything I think Season 6 is the strongest the show has ever been.
What’s the definition of being a good wife to you? Well, you know, I just lost my husband in May (actor Matthew Cowles from All My Children who died from heart failure aged 69) and I was married for 30 years. It kind of brings tears to my eyes ... it takes two people to make a great marriage, so it’s not just if you’re a good wife you’ll have a good marriage. You need a good man and I had a good man ... he was such a unique human being and such an original. Do you have any famous women in your mind while playing Diane? No one in particular, although I have to say the body language in the women that I liked to observe for my character were women in media or women who run corporations. They don’t need to shout. Anyone with real power can talk very quietly and everyone will listen.
In the pilot Diane was the antagonist but has developed quite a lot over the seasons … In the pilot you could just smell off the page that this was going to be the female boss that would be the bitch. I always wanted to show that Diane, when she had to be strong she was strong and sometimes she was hard but she was also like really appreciative of who Alicia was. She in many, many ways nurtured Alicia.
Do other women see you as a role model because of the show? You know, I was at the Emmys this year and I finished the red carpet la-di-da and a woman approached me who is a law professor and she said, I just want you to know that my law students look to you as a model and I thought, “Okay, I don’t need an Emmy”. I can’t tell you how many women come up to me, professional women and say, I’m so happy to see a women who actually is like so many of us. The show, I think, has really been groundbreaking and will go down in history.
THE GOOD WIFE, CHANNEL 10, TONIGHT, 9.30PM