Sigourney Weaver turns political animal for new TV show

Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:44pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - In new TV series "Political Animals," Secretary of State Elaine Barrish Hammond, who has just lost a presidential bid, laments that the country just doesn't adore her as much as her womanizing husband and former President.

If that sounds like current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, actress Sigourney Weaver, who portrays Elaine, disagrees.

The similarities between the real-life politician and the TV one are clear in the frothy series premiering July 15 on the USA Network, yet Weaver swears she did not have Clinton in mind. She points to other women she has met, mostly those in non-profit work, upon which she based the character.

"I admire Mrs. Clinton immensely, (but) I don't know anything about her except the little bit we are allowed to know. I never think of her when I am playing this part," Weaver told Reuters in a recent interview.

The 62-year-old actress said "Political Animals," a soapy dramatization of sex, greed and politics in the White House, is based on many families who have lived there - not just the Clintons. She noted that while Elaine's ex-husband, Bud Hammond, "had been a successful president, not unlike Bill Clinton," her character "was first lady, then became a governor, then ran for president, failed, then became secretary of state."

"Some of the details are similar to the Clintons, but in fact, if you talk to the creator, he has been a real political junkie for most of his life, and he is fascinated by all these families who have been in the White House," she said.

Creator Greg Berlanti gives the show's pilot a light tone, setting it apart from more serious, recent political TV dramas such as "Game Change" about Sarah Palin.

SOAPY WHITE HOUSE   Continued...

Actress Sigourney Weaver poses for a portrait in New York July 10, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton