Say hello to TV's newest power woman, "Political Animals'" Elaine Barrish. She describes herself as a "bitch with a capital C," but don't call her that to her face.
Played by Sigourney Weaver, in her first series regular role on TV, Elaine's political resume may sound familiar. She's a former first lady, who stood by her popular liberal husband's side despite numerous affairs and infidelities. After his time in office came to an end, Elaine went after her own political dreams, putting in her own presidential bid some years later, only to lose, divorce her husband and eventually become the secretary of state.
Elaine's similarities to Hillary Clinton on "Political Animals" (premieres Sunday, July 15 at 10 p.m. ET on USA) may seem obvious, but according to Weaver -- who says she was more inspired by her grade school head mistress than by the current secretary of state -- Elaine is not a fictional version of the former first lady.
"I know that there are obvious superficial similarities with the Clintons, but I think ["Political Animals" creator] Greg Berlanti has been inspired by all of the families in the White House. The families who have been in the White House have paid a price for that experience, and oddly, they all want to get back in the White House," Sigourney Weaver explained to HuffPost TV during a round table interview in June. "So it's inspired by the Roosevelts, the Kennedys, the Bushs -- all of these different families -- that's why he wrote this. I have great respect for the Clintons, especially for her ... I think she's awesome, but Elaine is just her own person, completely."
Weaver's co-star James Wolk, who plays Elaine's politically ambitious son Douglas, echoed his TV mom's statements, telling HuffPost TV that he was particularly inspired by Bobby Kennedy.
"They were projected as these perfect icons, but as I started to research Bobby, I discovered that he was a very dark, tumultuous individual," said Wolk. "He was very cerebral, and he became the family protector -- so ruthlessly ambitious that it took him down many interesting roads."
Elaine considers herself to be a strong female leader. So strong, in fact, that she even comes with her own catchphrase: "Never call a bitch a bitch." So she's definitely not about to let drama with her two sons (played by Wolk and Sebastian Stan) and her ex-husband/occasional friend with benefits Bud (Ciarán Hinds), an international crisis or a determined D.C. journalist (Carla Gugino) bring the Hammond family down. But that's going to be pretty tough.
"Bud used to have this line, where he said, 'Now this family is broken just like the rest of this country,'' Burlanti explained during a round table interview. "I think we struggle a lot with that as a country. Were we great at one time? And what can we do to get back to that? This family embodies that."
Click through the gallery to read more from the cast and Berlanti. Find out how "The Devil Wears Prada" factored into the show, what Sebastian Stan thinks of his character's sex addiction and more on what to expect from "Political Animals."
"Political Animals" premieres Sunday, July 15 at 10 p.m. ET on USA Network
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