'I'll look good when I'm 80'
The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies’s secret to staying young
Julianna Margulies is surrounded by a library of leather-bound legal tomes in a boardroom on the Brooklyn set on The Good Wife.
It’s the place the awardwinning actress has called her second home, the site of high drama for her character, Alicia Florrick, since 2009.
With her hit show now in its seventh season, Margulies talks about what audiences can expect from the legal drama.
“We find Alicia at the bottom of the barrel after being in such a place of power from winning the State Attorney election and then of course things went south with the Democratic Committee,” she says, smiling.
“Alicia is at her best when she’s climbing out of a bad situation and what’s happened to her through that process is really interesting. I think there comes a point in someone’s life, especially as a woman in her 40s who has spent her life yesing people, where she’s now on her own, she doesn’t have anyone to answer to, and she’s found an incredible sense of freedom in that.”
Margulies clearly relishes the evolution of her muchloved character.
“She gets a little sassy and I love that about her. She doesn’t care anymore about what people think. She’s gained a certain maturity and she’s lost her naivety.”
The show welcomes two new cast members this season — Cush Jumbo, who plays Lucca Quinn, a bond court attorney, and private investigator Jason Crouse, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Margulies laughs, and says without much prompting, “Who doesn’t have a crush on Jeffrey Dean Morgan?”
The show’s drama, meanwhile, has not been restricted to battles onscreen but off-screen too.
One of the most compelling storylines on the show had long been the friendship between Alicia and Kalinda Sharma (Archie Panjabi), another private investigator.
Sharma, it transpired in a long-ago season, had slept with Florrick’s screen husband Peter (Chris Noth), a revelation which naturally strained their friendship. Panjabi left the show at the end of last season, following a “sign-off” scene with Florrick where the pair said goodbye over cocktails. Except that eagle eyes noticed that Margulies and Panjabi were not together in the same frame, but had been filmed separately and spliced together in the editing suite.
Bad blood between the two actresses had long been rumoured, ever since Panjabi won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama in 2010, a year before Margulies won her own for Best Actress in a Drama (she also won in 2014).
Asked about the supposed spat at the New York Film Festival last month, Margulies brushed off the reports as nothing more than rumour, noting that Panjabi was at work on her new show The Fall which caused a scheduling conflict.
Panjabi immediately fired back on Twitter, noting that The Fall was not even in production at the time “and I was in New York ready to film the scene.”
Panjabi fans, and there are many, were delighted. Margulies is yet to respond.
Back on set in Brooklyn, a production assistant scurries into the room to let Margulies know she’s needed in makeup.
Moments later, Christine Baranksi, who plays Diane Lockhart, enters the room.
The co-stars chat happily for a brief moment before Baranski turns to me and offers a firm handshake, before groaning. “Oh, we sat here at this table until midnight last night, and for the last three days we spent 14-hour days straight in here with cameras circling us.”
Baranski is engaging and animated. “In this season you see Alicia and Diane wanting to get back on track but being in directions that compromise their integrity and their morality. I love that this show is not about crazy women who are out of balance. It’s women who are very intelligent, well-educated and accomplished.”
The award-winning drama has been good to Margulies, who has earned a Golden Globe in addition to her two Emmys. She and husband Keith Lieberthal, who is a real-life lawyer, also have a son, Kieran, 7.
Sounds like when it comes to happiness she can tick all the boxes. “I have a great kid, I have a great job, I love the city I live in, New York, and I’m happy,” she shrugs.
And what’s the secret to her looking at least a decade younger than her 49 years?
“I’m in a happy marriage. I married a man six years younger and I take care of myself. So I’ll look good when I’m 80 and he’s 74.”
“She gets a little sassy and I love that about her”
JULIANNA MARGULIES ON ALICIA FLORRICK
THE GOOD WIFE, CHANNEL 10, TONIGHT, 9.30PM
Julianna Margulies is in a happy place, personally and career-wise;
(above) with co-star Chris Noth.