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Five Questions with Calista Flockhart

Calista Flockhart left dancing babies, fantasy sequences and drinks at the local bar with Vonda Shepard behind her when Ally McBeal wrapped in 2002, but that doesn’t mean the actress lost her knack for playing strong women who are unlucky in love.

The Illinois native returned to television last fall as right-wing TV pundit Kitty Walker on the ABC hit Brothers and Sisters among stars like Sally FieldRachel Griffiths and Balthazar Getty. With her family’s help, Kitty deals with her high profile career, new relationship with a Republican senator (Rob Lowe) and a half-sister (Emily VanCamp) she learned about after her father’s death. We caught up with Flockhart to chat about the role that brought her back to the small screen.

Hollywood.com: Was your return to television everything you thought it would be?
Calista Flockhart:
It’s actually been much better than I anticipated… There are no guarantees. You never know if the show is going to last or if it’s going to work or if people are going to like it. So it’s been really rewarding and I feel very lucky that people like it and that people are watching. We’ve been having a great time working on it and finding it and discovering the show. I think that we still have a long way to go. It’s a work in progress, but doing it has just been fun.

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HW: What would you improve about the show?
It’s hard to have a perspective that way, but I think that a show takes its time to find its voice, and unfortunately in television you do that on the air. So when a show hits its stride, and I think we are I think we’ve come a long way from where we started and the show is just getting better and better and better.

HW: How do your fans react when they see you on the street?
Sometimes people will say, “Are you? Are you? You are!” It’ll be like that and then they’ll run away, but it’s really nice. It’s nice to have a fan base that comes up and says that they really appreciate your work and I guess basically what they say is that they love the family dynamic. They feel like they’ve walked into their own family and they can relate to the characters and especially people who happen to come from big families. They kind of get that family thing and I think that people are enjoying that.

HW: What has surprised you about your character as the show has developed?
Well, it’s interesting because for some reason she was supposed to be this conservative political person and that was just kind of a by the way, and now I think that people have high expectations of what that was going to be, but she’s just become more sort of about family life and about personal things. It’s not so much about the workplace. I enjoy that. I think that the political stuff is still there and I think that it will always exist, but it’s nice to see a political person in a family element. We get to see her in a family environment and then in her love life as well.

HW: Some critics compare Brothers and Sisters to thirtysomething, were you a fan of that show?
I never really saw thirtysomething, but I’ve been a fan of Patricia Wettig because I saw when I was very young a play called The Wool Gatherer and I wanted to be her. I thought that she was so amazing and I love that play and I’ve always wanted to do that play because of her. So I’ve been a big fan of hers for a long, long time.

Reporting by Scott Huver

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