Our exclusive interview with talented actress Joanna Going who recently hypnotized audiences as the resolute “First Lady Tricia Walker” in the Emmy® nominated Netflix series, “House Of Cards” and returns to television this fall to reprise her starring role in DirecTV’s gritty, provocative and highly anticipated second season of “Kingdom.”
Going plays hard-edged, drug addled, prostitute,”Christina Kulina,” the estranged wife of “Alvey Henderson” (Frank Grillo) and mother to “Jay and Nate” played by Nick Jonas (“The Jonas Brothers”) and Jonathan Tucker (“Parenthood”), set against the backdrop of a Mixed Martial Arts gym. KINGDOM premiered in season one to FANTASTIC ratings and Going’s captivating performance and combination of brains & sex appeal promises to steal the show from the minute she walks on screen and we would love to set up an interview to discuss her exciting multifaceted role, returning for Season 2B on June 1st.
When and how did you start in this business?
I started shortly after graduating from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City in 1985. I went to an open call audition for a contract role on the TV daytime drama “Search for Tomorrow” and got the part.
Did you always know that you wanted to become an actress?
When I was 14, I began focusing on acting.
Do you get nervous when you go to an audition?
Always, to varying degrees.
Tell us about “Kingdom” and what we can expect on this second half of the season?
“Kingdom” is a raw family drama set in the world of Mixed Martial Arts which centers around the Navy St. Gym in Venice, CA, owned and operated by Alvey Kulina and his girlfriend, Lisa. Alvey’s sons, with ex-wife Christina, Jay and Nate, are among the Navy St. fighters, along with Alvey’s star fighter, Ryan, and new-to-the-crew, Alicia.
When “Kingdom” returns this Summer, Christina takes more serious steps toward getting sober, and starts to see the depth of damage that her addiction has inflicted upon the family — especially Jay.
Where is this series being filmed?
We shoot “Kingdom” in and around Los Angeles, North Hollywood and Venice, California.
Tell us about “House of Cards”. How did you get the role?
I got the role using a self-taped audition. My agent sent me the material, and the next day my friend Brooke Smith read the audition scene with me in her living room, while her husband filmed me on my iPhone. Then I emailed the video to the casting director. I did not meet anybody involved with the show until I got off the plane in Baltimore, walked in to the table read, and introduced myself to David Fincher, like a complete dork.
What do you think has been responsible for the success of “House of Cards?”
“House of Cards” is set in the roiling belly of US politics — a world which can seem so glamorously distant, yet affects each and every one of us; a world that is a necessary evil that we love to hate. Audiences relish a good dastardly duo. The Underwood’s are thrilling in their villainy, and are made even more horrifying with Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright making them so disarmingly charming and attractive.
And how was working on ”Mad Men”?
“Mad Men” was great fun. I was a big fan of the show from the start, so it was a thrill to be a part of it. My role was colorful, campy and fabulously dressed. It was a blast.
What role has been your favorite?
That’s impossible to answer — that would be like choosing a favorite child. But I am awfully in love with “Christina Kulina” right now.
And the most challenging role?
“Christina” is challenging because I love her, and I want her to have a better life, but she just makes such consistently bad decisions.
This is a strong role, how did you prepare for it?
I did a lot of research into heroin addiction and prostitution, which often go hand-in-hand. I learned as much as I could about the physical effects of heroin use, and incorporated that into the role. I also studied the detox process, and found a surprising amount of material on YouTube that was harrowing to watch, but extremely helpful. As Christina continues to go through her ups and downs, I still seek out stories of addiction, recovery, and the ramifications upon family relationships and the ability to function in society.
Who you would love to work with?
Joss Whedon, Mark and Jay Duplass, Lena Dunham
What do you like to watch on TV?
The list is long. I’m always a few steps behind, trying to catch up on the new shows, or old ones that I missed, usually by binge watching. I love love love that we can do that now. I’m a big fan of Turner Classic Movies. That’s what I usually have on in my trailer at work, or while I’m cooking dinner at home.
Do you support any charities?
People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), Saving SPOT Dog Rescue, The Breast Cancer Site (thebreastcancersite.greatergood.com)
What are 3 things you can’t leave your house without?
Cell phone, eye drops, and lip balm.
What’s a normal day in your life?
I have days that are all about getting up and going to work.
I have days that are all about getting up and going on an audition. (On those days, I can rarely accomplish anything else till the audition is done. When the audition happens at 10 AM, a lot can happen. If it’s at 5:30 or 6, the day is a wash.)
The rest of my “normal” days are spent driving my daughter where she needs to go, grocery shopping, gardening, doing laundry, dog walking, cooking and generally engaging in the mundane activity of life. On a lucky day I’ll also get some yoga in, or a visit to the chiropractor or acupuncturist, or my new favorite thing — a session of infrared sauna.
Best advice ever given?
When I decided to leave college in Boston and move to New York, one of my professors told me to be sure to make the city my own. It was good advice and I did.
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “This too shall pass.”
Music: I love music of all genres, and have way too many favorites to name.
Book: Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin
Movie: “Harold and Maude”
TV Show: Ever? Probably “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.
City: New York
Travel Destination: Europe
Sports Team: I’m not a big sports fan
Celebrity Crush: I just saw Bubba Watson on “60 Minutes” last night. Came away thinking he was pretty damn cute.
Photo Credit: Jeane-Calude