Kaley Cuoco simply flipped for 'Charmed'


Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 11:41 p.m.

Facts

'Charmed' airs Sunday

  • What: "Charmed," a WB series starring Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs and Rose McGowan as the Halliwell sisters - Phoebe, Piper and Paige - who are duty-bound to use their powers to protect the world from evil demons.
  • When: 8 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: WB (Cox cable channel 10)

  • Even with the aid of wires, Kaley Cuoco says she's still struggling to get the hang of tumbling through the air as the newest witch to land on the WB's "Charmed."
    "I thought it was going to be easy, but it wasn't. I got tangled in the wires so many times doing my flips I almost strangled myself," says the 20-year-old actress. She might be terrible, she adds, "but I try, I try so hard."
    Cuoco joined the cast of the supernatural drama series this season as Billie Jenkins, a college student with telekinetic powers.
    Stunt co-ordinator Noon Orsatti says that although Cuoco sometimes needs a stunt double for the more dangerous sequences - as do the rest of the cast - the actress is "very determined and professional" about learning the technical skills necessary to be a witch.
    Now in its eighth season, the show (8 p.m. Sundays) stars Alyssa Milano, Holly Marie Combs and Rose McGowan as the Halliwell sisters - Phoebe, Piper and Paige - who are duty-bound to use their powers to protect the world from evil demons.
    "Kaley's character keeps the show young and fresh by challenging the existing stars with a new perspective and new powers," co-executive producer Brad Kern said in an e-mailed response. "Kaley has such a strong screen presence that, along with her uncanny sense of comedic timing, complements Alyssa, Holly and Rose perfectly."
    "They've basically taken my character on as kind of their little sister. I think they are training me so I can go off to do the dirty work," says Cuoco, best known as Bridget Hennessy, one of the daughters on the sitcom "8 Simple Rules."
    "We don't really know yet why she's a witch. She just has this power, and luckily found the Halliwell sisters. She wants to learn more about herself, but she's very naive and always getting in trouble," says Cuoco, chatting in a makeup trailer on the Paramount Studios lot while her blonde hair is being flipped into shape.
    Cuoco says the trainee witch's fashion style, though "cute and fun," is "all over the place ... but that's what I like because that's the way I am. Yeah, she's a bit all over the place."
    Cuoco grew up in Southern California and has been acting since she was a tot. She was ranked as a junior amateur tennis player, but no longer plays actively. She has two horses and several rescued dogs.
    "I would have 55 dogs if I could," she says. "I'm hoping one day to open my own shelter. I would be the person with the three-legged dog ... I just love animals more than people, I really do."
    Cuoco occasionally watches reruns of "8 Simple Rules," now airing weekdays at 4 p.m. on the WB. "It was really weird to see...I thought I was so cool when I was on the show, but I don't think I was," she says, noting the big difference four years can make when you're in your late teens.
    Just 16 when she started on the sitcom, Cuoco had to survive the sudden death of star John Ritter at the start of the ABC series' second season in 2003.
    "It was traumatic," she recalls. "It's just so difficult to talk about. But now that 'Rules' is playing on the WB, I'm actually excited because John was just so...hysterical. I remember every moment I was with him. That year on the show was the best year of my life. I'm glad they are showing it and giving him some respect."
    The show continued until early 2005, but "it was never the same without John," says Cuoco. "It was kind of bittersweet when it ended. To be honest, I was ready for it to end because the situation was so hard, and growing up in that situation was so strange, just a weird thing."
    Cuoco is still getting used to the start-stop, one-camera world of dramatic television, as opposed to sitcoms, which are typically shot with multiple cameras in real time.
    "Sitcoms are so much easier to understand," she exclaims in her freewheeling conversational style. It's only when she sees "Charmed" episodes cut together with the special effects included that she realizes "what took us so long to shoot."
    "It turns out kind of cool," she adds. "But when you are working, you are waiting and waiting, and then things are invisible, and things are being thrown, and nothing's in your hand, and I'm like so confused and always asking everyone, 'What's happening?' "
    "They've basically taken my character on as kind of their little sister. I think they are training me so I can go off to do the dirty work."

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