Sigourney Weaver is known for playing strong female characters. She played a high-powered investment banker in “Working Girl,” the First Lady in “Dave” and now Secretary of State in the new television series, “Political Animals.” (The role is loosely inspired by Hillary Clinton.) However, Weaver has a lot to say about women off-screen as well as on.
She spoke to the New York Post’s Cindy Adams about her latest role and the importance of having more women in power in Washington, decrying the fact that only 15 percent of Congress is female. She also said that she believes now is the time for women to become more prominent political figures:
It’s a women-in-general era. Something’s afoot in this country. Besides Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright, proven is we’re terrific and smart. ... You can admire Angela Merkel of Germany, but maybe our nation isn’t yet primed for a woman president … only … why not? We just aren’t getting sufficient support.
Weaver also spoke to Adams about the challenges facing women in politics -- and the specific qualities that female candidates could bring to Washington:
Why’s ambition considered unattractive for us but not for a man? Women speak right out. From the heart, not a prompter. We’re not in this for ego or power. We can work together. Ask questions nobody asks. Roll up our sleeves, don’t intimidate, get things done in a different way. I know. I’m a mother.
Business as usual isn’t working. A female’s needed to stir things up, get our country moving again. This stalemate in Washington can be broken by a woman.
This isn’t the first time that Weaver has spoken out about women’s issues while discussing an on-screen role. In a July 13th interview with NPR, she commented on her choice to portray independent women on-screen:
I feel that we're incredibly resourceful and strong and keep our heads. So all I'm doing is reflecting women to me as they are because the women I know are strong. My god, they hold this world together. So it's not that I'm avoiding playing damsels in distress. I don't really buy them.
Sigourney Weaver On Elaine Barrish
"I was really delighted to have an opportunity to channel some of the amazing mentors that I've had in my life, even from grade school. My head mistress, Mildred Berendsen, and my English teacher Florence Hunt were very influential in building this character. Elaine brings a different kind of energy to politics ... She's a very mainstream woman, and I've never gotten the chance to play that before. I wasn't looking to play an All-American person like Elaine, so it's been very interesting for me ... I'm so weird, and Elaine is so mainstream. I've never been anywhere close to that type of person."
Ciarán Hinds On Bud & Elaine's Relationship
"He still loves her. He always will. In Episode 2, there's a flashback to when Bud was president and what he was doing and all of the affairs. Then there's a scene where he goes to her and says, 'I'm sorry. You should leave me.' But he loves her. He's cheating on her and lying to her, but he doesn't want her to go."
James Wolk On Douglas Hammond
"[Doug and TJ] are both struggling to find their place in the world, and it's not easy. They're in this pressure cooker. They're expected to be perfect. But none of them are. As the series goes on, you start to realize that maybe Doug doesn't have it all together. There's something brewing there."
Carla Gugino On Susan & Elaine's Relationship
"It's interesting because one of the first things that Greg Berlanti said to me was, 'I'm so intrigued as to why these women who are smart, successful and ambitious are so often on the opposite sides of the fence when they probably understand what it took to get there more than anyone else.' So that was something that I wanted to keep in mind throughout the show. What's interesting is that I don't think Susan wants to tear Elaine down, but she felt that Elaine epitomized everything that she wanted to be. So when Elaine stayed with her husband after all of these affairs, it was like a personal insult to her."
Carla Gugino On Susan Berg
"I felt like her idol would have been Bob Woodward. Susan Berg would definitely say that if you're going to be running the country, the way you live your life is going to be reflective of the way you run the country, so we need to know how you live your life."
James Wolk On First Families
"I think what's so interesting about Douglas and TJ is that they're a part of a generation where the media is watching you 24/7. William and Harry have grown up in that spotlight, and it's a completely different spotlight than the one the Kennedy brothers grew up in. TJ and Douglas are dealing with that and figuring it out. They're both being revealed to the public in these different ways that I think wear and tear on them."
Greg Berlanti On The Clintons
"Gosh! I hope they like [the show]! I think it's a love letter to anybody in politics. It does try and get at the sacrifices people have to make when they're in that world."
Sebastian Stan On TJ Hammond
"They all have their problems, but TJ's are just much more on the surface."
Greg Berlanti On Elaine Barrish & Hillary Clinton
"I think my mom would be upset because she thinks [Elaine] is based on her. My mom's hope is that one day, I'd write a female character ... I think part of the reason I wanted to write about a female character at the center of the show is because there was an element that appealed to me and interested me. There's a certain fortitude and strength -- and the ability to do so many things at the same time and having to balance life and family. And also, the loneliness of it."
Adrian Pasdar [President Garcetti] On Dancing With Sigourney Weaver
"They didn't even play the music! The scene starts, and then they roll sound and they stop the music, so then you're up there like the biggest doofus, just hoping to God that you don't look like a complete idiot. I hate moments like that because I get so embarrassed. You don't want to look foolish! And then there are these people there, who have been standing in the sun all day long, and if you get anything wrong, they hold you culpable!"
Ellen Burstyn On Margaret Barrish
"She's the truth-teller. I met this woman and I told her, 'You're like the character I'm playing,' and she replied, 'Flimsy filters, huh?' That's a great description of her. She has a great sense of humor too."
Ellen Burstyn On The Relationship Between Margaret & TJ
"They are very close, and their relationship will be expanded in later episodes. There is more about them. She is the one in the family that he's safe with and open with. Margaret is his safety."
Greg Berlanti On Elaine Barrish & The Hammonds
"[The show] is similar to 'The Devil Wears Prada' and Miranda Priestly. Here's this character, but you want to create your own version of it. The resume is similar, but once she says -- after 10 minutes -- 'I want a divorce' and goes her own way, the story becomes very different. I really wanted to do a former first family because I hadn't seen that on TV. This family is our equivalent of royalty, and now that they're not in power, You realize that they're just like us. There's a sex addict, there's an alcoholic, there's a rageaholic kid and a drunk grandmother. All we want is to see them get back in the White House. They're all dealing with having been something great once, and trying to deal with getting back to that."
Sebastian Stan On The Sex In 'Political Animals'
"I think the show is called 'Political Animals' for a reason. These people all come at things with an agenda in mind. I don't know that the sex in the show will always be as manipulative, but I certainly think that sex isn't off limits for these political animals. They're very motivated people."