Julianna Margulies: ‘I never think of myself as a famous person’


These days, I’m totally over Julianna Margulies. Whatever went down between Julianna and Archie Panjabi – and something really did go down – left a bad taste in my mouth. My gut says that the long-standing rumors were true, that Julianna acted like a princess/diva and didn’t want Archie Panjabi’s character to overshadow special snowflake Alicia Florrick on The Good Wife. My gut says that Julianna was instrumental in the marginalization of one of the best characters on TV in a decade (not to mention the marginalization of one of the best TV actresses, Archie Panjabi).

So… yeah. I’m over Julianna. Which means I rolled my eyes a few times during her interview with The Edit. You would think that with this kind of online-magazine interview (with a quick turnaround), JM would have been asked about the recent controversies about Archie Panjabi. She was not. Which makes me wonder if JM’s precondition for this interview was “no questions about Archie.” Which makes me wonder why JM doesn’t want to talk about it. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

People love her character: “Women love Alicia. She was an underdog. She was in a sink-or-swim situation, and she swam. People love a flawed character they can relate to. Oh, she’s messed up! I tell the writers, ‘Seriously, she needs to be in therapy. She hasn’t gotten laid for a year and a half, the situation at home with her husband is so complicated, her children are leaving the nest, she has her own business and she’s completely overwhelmed.’ And the writers are always like, ‘Well, she’ll work it out!’ To be honest, when would she have time to see a shrink anyway?”

She doesn’t do Twitter: “I’m [not going to] ask 20 million people to believe my character, then go to a mall and tweet, ‘Hey, it’s me! I’m buying shoes!’ However, if I was just doing my philanthropic work, I would definitely tweet; it’s a great tool to open people’s eyes.”

Equal rights: “There is a generation coming up that understands equal rights. People fight for what they believe in – equal pay, gay rights, all of these things that should have happened years ago. [But] we have a long way to go.”

Getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: “As for the Hollywood Star… It still feels surreal. I always thought of it as something other people got; never in a million years did I think I would get one. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to do what I love and get paid for it. The rest is a bit overwhelming! Flattering, but overwhelming.”

Whether she has political ambitions: “I would never and could never be a politician. But God, it’s fun to play one. I have to say things that I personally disagree with, but you have to look at things from two sides. I’ll get emotional at the snap of a finger, but my husband will read the other argument. He’s very graceful at having an opinion, rather than having a gut reaction.”

Humility: “I never think of myself as a famous person. I think of myself as a working actor who happens to be in a show that everyone watches.”

Other people’s opinions: “I can’t control other people’s opinions of me, all I can control is my reaction to it. Someone in Idaho may hate me, but I don’t have to know about it!”

Online comments: “I don’t read any of it – ‘Did I wear the right dress, did I not?’ – because it’s not going to help me as a human. It will only make me feel bad…or good. And if I believe the good, do I believe the bad?”

Women want to work in TV: “Women are realizing that the most challenging and interesting things written for them are now on TV. Until five years ago, TV catered to male leads. I wouldn’t say it’s equal, but it’s getting there.”

[From The Edit]

Do people really love Alicia? I’ve watched all of the episodes through Season 5, and some of the Season 6 episodes, and I can’t really say I love Alicia. I loved Kalinda. I love Diane and I loved Will. I sometimes love Eli (more in the earlier episodes). Sometimes, I’ll have a moment where I really like Alicia, but for the most part, I’m more interested in the supporting characters, most of whom are infinitely more compelling than Alicia. Alicia is inconsistent and flawed, which makes her more interesting than most characters on TV, but after six seasons… I think you’d be hard pressed to find people who really “love” her.


Photos courtesy of Hunter & Gatti/The Edit.

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56 Responses to “Julianna Margulies: ‘I never think of myself as a famous person’”

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  1. Lucy2 says:

    I’ve never even liked Alicia much, and after this season and all the focus on her campaign? Ugh. More Diane please.

    • Nur says:

      I agree. Diane totally rox.
      I was never big on Kalinda but what went down was really crappy.

    • Mia V. says:

      More Diane, more Eli, more David Lee.

      • Birdix says:

        Agreed. And more Louis Canning. I also liked Rhoda and Lemond Bishop. And Alicia’s brother.

      • Feebee says:

        Yes! I loved the odd scene when they let David Lee loose, some really clever lines beautifully delivered. Cumming and Baranski are too brilliant to be so under-utilized.

    • Diana B says:

      MOAR DIANE! She is so fab. I want to be her when I grow up.

    • Sugar says:

      I have never liked Alicia, either. She’s a cold person, not a good mother with the way she infantilizes her kids and asks them to lie, and she’s always annoyed at people. Diane and Eli are my favorite characters. Kalinda I never cared for. I miss Will but won’t miss Kalinda.

      Lemond Bishop is my favorite minor character. The actor that plays him does such an excellent job of being quietly menacing and he’s so stunningly handsome.

      • Cricket says:

        Love Eli, Diane and this season Eli’s daughter too! Will miss Matthew Goode, liked him and wanted more!

        No one wears a suit as well as Mr. Bishop, well perhaps Mads as Hannibal 🙂

      • lucy2 says:

        She is a very cold character – which is fine, I don’t mind that at all, but I kind of wish JM would embrace that more, instead of claiming that people love Alicia.

        I irrationally hate the Florrick children. I’m glad their roles have been reduced, and anytime there’s a story about Alicia and one of them, I get annoyed.

      • Nur says:

        I totally hate Florrick children too! I actually love to hate the whole Florrick bunch tbh. LOL!

    • Annie says:

      I like her a lot less since she mean girled Archie Panjabi.

      • boredblond says:

        Maybe that’s why she’s now doing a cover story..don’t recall her doing many interviews before..an awful lot of pr is reactionary..hopefully they will go back to a true cohesive ensemble show–her political run was too much Alicia and a pretty nothing plotline.

      • K9 says:

        JM’s people planting a fake story about Archie being secretly a bitch-diva and everyone on set hating her was the PR misfire of the decade.

        Who handles her PR, Phillip Morris?

  2. Div says:

    I love Archie, but both she and Alicia seemed to be incredibly immature about the situation according to some of the TV bloggers. I’m more side-eying Alicia though since she actually forced Archie out, and was apparently the much bigger diva and a-hole.

  3. Greata says:

    “My gut says that Julianna was instrumental in the marginalization of one of the best characters on TV in a decade (not to mention the marginalization of one of the best TV actresses, Archie Panjabi)”…….ABSOLUTELY CORRECT ASSESSMENT IMO! Even when she is trying to be sexual, she is so wooden.

    • Ally8 says:

      Well Panjabi is pretty wooden, too, with the flat voice, stomping around in those ridiculous boots & occasionally getting rheumy-eyed to show emotion. The on-set behaviour of JM is ridiculous, but I’m glad the character’s gone.

      But yeah, JM, only super-famous people get to refuse to be in the same room with a co-worker even when it’s required and not doing so incurs great needless cost.

      • Greata says:

        @Ally8…I have to disagree. Archie is anything but wooden. She is a very emotive but subtle actor, whom the camera loves. Maybe , her subtlety is lost on you. I personally prefer that I not even notice that the actor is “acting.”

      • perplexed says:

        I think both believe in using subtle acting techniques for this show, but I think Archie is better at executing them. Kalinda is mysterious, but I think Archie’s eyes convey a lot even when she’s not saying much. Marguiles always looks kind of blank, whether she’s talking or not talking. I think subtle acting, like when done by Archie, can be very good, but I don’t think that many people can do it well like she can.

        I do think Archie has range though, because I’ve seen her in other stuff and she’s been different in each of her roles. Marseilles is alway the same. I’m kind of baffled by Marguiles’s success (well, at least in terms of name recognition and SAG wins), except that maybe she lucked out in being paired with George Clooney on ER.

  4. MelissaManifesto says:

    The unfortunate thing is I won’t be able to watch the show now without thinking about all the drama, I definitely cannot appreciate her character anymore because of it. I guess that is why I usually stay away from gossips and news about celebrities who star in shows I enjoy. This time curiosity got the best of me, made me not able to stand Julianna.

  5. Alessio says:

    It’s still surreal to me the last scene of them in the season finale was shot separately! such a petty situation that i think started when julianna became producer on the show and actually had lot of voice with that (she helped getting josh charles to stay for season 5 after all, he wanted to leave early). and for the walk of fame star….did she pay it herself or cbs? with all the drama with archie, i wouldnt be surprised she put her own money into it!

  6. Snowpea says:

    I thought that was Kim K.

  7. perplexed says:

    Honestly, she sounds good to me in this interview. But the rumours about her and Archie are affecting my ability to believe her words. If I knew nothing about her, I’d think she sounded smart in this interview. Unfortunately, I do know something about her by reading the tabloids.

  8. Mila says:

    What does a Star on the Walk of Fame mean anymore? that cheating tv cook got one. if it was really for big decade long careers i could see the flattering part, but come on its basically like an MTV Award now.

  9. tracking says:

    “I never think of myself as a famous person. I think of myself as a working actor who happens to be in a show that everyone watches.”

    Oh, PLEASE. By the way, niche show–not *everyone* is watching. And many fewer now!

    • Lola says:

      Yes. I know her from a few episodes of ER, that’s about it.

      • What was that says:

        You guys are right..IS it what is now known as ha Humble Bragging….She doesn’t do it very well does she???
        I did watch this for a couple of seasons ,but I have up on it before Will’s demise thank god…they really string out these series when they are past their best!
        I am glad now that I lost the impetus to watch it,she seems to have over reached herself …and there I was thinking she was nice when she was that nurse!!

  10. Esmom says:

    I don’t watch he show but something about her in recent years bugs me. She seems to have acquired a smugness that she didn’t have back in her ER days.

    That last photo is bizarre and awkward and these shots don’t do anything to dispel the smug vibe for me.

  11. PHD Gossip says:

    She strikes me as a huge phony.

  12. 313girl says:

    those are some weird looking toes

  13. Em' says:

    Well, I love Alicia :-/
    I love her because she is flawed. And also because she’s a fighter even though she can’t seem to catch a break.

    • anna2222222 says:

      Yep I love her on the show also. Kalinda really lost me with the whole ex husband story line. So while I’m sorry Julianne was an asshole, as a viewer I’m not that upset about it. Diane is the queen anyway so what does it matter!

    • Kitten says:

      Love Alicia, love TGW, and love Margulies.

  14. wendi says:

    I don’t watch the show but I like the fact that she doesn’t use Twitter and am onside with the rationale – if in fact, that part is true. I know lesser known celebs and wannabes use it a lot to promote themselves and keep themselves “relevant” but the heavy hitters seem to shy away from it. You don’t hear much about the likes of Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Cate Blanchett using it…

    P.S. Julianna lucked out in the husband department — scoring a hot, younger man, way to go!!

    • goofpuff says:

      they are all older actresses though in the time before social media which is probably why you don’t hear a lot from them

    • Jessica says:

      I don’t know many 40-50yr olds who are active on Twitter. Facebook maybe, but not Twitter and Instagram. My father is a software designer and is easily the most tech savvy and up to date person I know, but even he doesn’t really get social media. He could write the code for a social media platform but he wouldn’t understand the point of it.

      The only people in that age range I know who have a big social media presence do it for work, and their 20 something assistants are the ones actually posting things.

  15. Jessica says:

    Alicia is the worst part of the show for me. I don’t mind her when she’s working, but anything to do with her personal life is a snooze. The whole thing with Will was only good because of Josh Charles. Otherwise she’s just so boring and unlikeable. I’ve never forgotten that scene early on when Alicia finds out Peter threatened to have the sex worker he cheated with murdered, and she finds that so hot she immediately tracks him down and jumps him. That’s one of the more messed up things I’ve seen on TV, and I watch a lot of messed up shows. Since then her whole prim and proper schtick has grated on me massively.

    TGW was at it’s peak through seasons 2-4 when it was less the Alica show and more of an ensemble. Now that it’s gone back to being all Alicia all the time I’m losing interest fast. If next season doesn’t shake things up a bit I think I’m done.

  16. layla says:

    Why don’t we EVER talk about how much her face HAS CHANGED over the years?!

    Ugh…it’s so distracting to me, but she seems to get away with it somehow…

  17. Feebee says:

    I liked Alicia when she was the underdog, when she had vitality with Will. Now she’s flat and uninteresting and too experienced to continually to be the underdog, thus she’s annoying.

    I wish Julianna would realize she’s a famous person because then she might have a clue that people are paying attention and yeah, we’re on Archie’s side.

  18. Cali says:

    Is she seriously trying to act like she was “surprised” with the star on the walk of fame? Yeah, sorry, we know that’s not how it works.

    • kibbles says:

      Exactly. She or her network paid for that star. It’s not like winning an award at a ceremony where you don’t know the winner until the envelop is opened. She is full of lies.

  19. Caroline says:

    Funny how she says all the good writing for women is on TV. JM is working in TV because when she left one hit show, ER, to embark on a movie career it was a huge fizzle.

    I agree TV storytelling has been amazing this decade, and you’d think she’d know enough to recognize it was exactly that: the strength of the writing in the early seasons that grabbed people, not her wooden performance. I’m done with feeding her ego, there is zero doubt in my mind that JM took Archie down because she didn’t want to share the spotlight.

    So now I’m done with TGW, Scandal, Grey’s … I need to find some better LadyTV 🙂

  20. EN says:

    I always liked how she looks, but I’ve seen her at a couple of awards ceremonies and OMG, the woman is so shallow.

  21. winelover01 says:

    I think Julianna has come off as sort of stiff and uncomfortable in most recent interviews, including this one, and I don’t love the Alicia character, although I find her interesting. However, I am in the minority on the Archie love. Whatever happened off-screen, I thought Kalinda was one-note and predictable for a number of years. I never got the love for Archie’s acting in this particular role – she has very limited facial and vocal expressions and rarely convinced me that she had any emotions going on behind the blank face (with the possible exception of her reaction to Will’s death). The fab wardrobe and ability to magically solve every case do not count as good acting in my book.

  22. Jen says:

    I’ve watched TGW from the beginning and have never loved Alicia. I think she’s the weakest character of the leads and would much rather watch Diane, Kalinda, Carey, etc., especially later in the series.

    I think there is no coincidence in her putting out this story following the on-set fallout and viewer backlash over the ridiculous divided storylines.

    I’m team Archie 100%.

  23. iheartgossip says:

    Guess she didn’t / doesn’t like all the bad stuff that’s come out regarding her little t.v. show. Peddle back, Julie. Peddle it hard.

  24. Rosie says:

    I feel like there was something of a miscalculation this season on how far the audience was willing to go with Alicia. I always loved her because she did have these great human flaws, but it didn’t translate to the kind of money-in-the-bank required for them to pull off making her so hard to swallow. The affection I tend to have for the character didn’t really automatically carry over into this season enough to sell me on her this time around, and it ended up making all the unappealing sides of Alicia off-putting as opposed to understandably human.

    I think this gets thrown around as a gender issue a lot — if Alicia were a man, we wouldn’t even be talking about whether or not she’s likable and we’d all be totally down with whatever misadventure she’s on every week — but it’s more like all the flaws they really underlined this year were so difficult to relate to as a normal person. She’s just like you! She’s just too politically ambitious! Her governor husband just won’t stop cheating on her! She’s just too much fun at bars! She just can’t hold down a boyfriend! She’s just too competitive! She’s just too good at what she does! It’s like going into a job interview and saying your biggest personal failing is that you’re just too dang hard a worker.

    I mean, Cary is a young white guy from Harvard who makes a fortune actively profiting from Chicago’s drug and violent crime epidemic, and I still found him infinitely easier to take than Alicia. And he is like the equivalent of an old-timey war profiteer.

    • Mrs. Darcy says:

      To be fair Cary has been cut off from his family’s money for awhile, his Dad wouldn’t even help him when he was going to jail! So he’s not exactly Conrad Hilton. But I know what you mean, he’s a privileged white male and he is still more innately likable that Alicia (I think it’s down to him perfecting this character on The Gilmore Girls – Cary Agos is basically Logan Huntzberger all grown up am I right?!). I felt like the intense scrutiny on Alicia’s character this year just kind of highlighted the gaps in her character that they’ve never bothered to fill in. As with Kalinda, there was always a level of mystery, you didn’t know completely what was going on in her head – like you suspected she was repulsed by Colin Sweeney/Lemond Bishop (BTW I loved Linda Lavin re-appearing and calling him “Lemon-d” again!), etc. but she managed to stay professional. With the political aspect she was actively selling her soul to creeps and she just lost some of that integrity. I don’t know. It just lacked humour and lightness this season, any time David Lee appeared I wanted to cheer and I think I was one of the few people who loved the return of Elspeth, this whole season felt so dreary to me.

      • laughing girl says:

        I used to love TGW and never in a million years did I think I would become disenchanted with it but this just finished season has finally managed to do that. Whilst the lead up to Josh Charles’ departure featured some of the finest eps ever to grace tv in the aftermath it’s become obvious now how much the show really relied on his energy and charisma. Without him the show has been rather directionless. TGW is an ensemble show – yes I know it says TGW on the banner but still – it’s the ensemble that sells the show. Diane, Eli, David Lee, etc. Alicia on her own isn’t really watchable – I don’t have to like a character to watch them but at least they have to be interesting: she’s smug (oh so smug), cold, unengaging, selfish etc. but ultimately, she is boring. Oh and then there is the Archie Panjabi debacle. Which I’m laying entirely at the feet of JM: she – as one of the producers – apparently got the network to agree to her no longer sharing scenes with AP (if she went to the showrunners with this request they would have laughed her out of the room). The network has to humour her though so we end up with this cut together good bye scene. That is so petty and unprofessional. JM sounds like a nightmare.

  25. Hannah says:

    I only started watching The Good Wife in season 5 & 6. It is watchable but Alicia is very cold. I find it really far-fetched that all these men are throwing themselves at her! She is attractive, not beautiful and I hate her personality- she lacks charisma! It’s hard to believe men in their late 30s and early 40s are running after her- Will, the campaign manager- she looks too old. If I were her, I’d settle for Mr. Big- Chris Noth- I love him and he still looks so handsome & powerful. I love Diane, too!

    • Mrs. Darcy says:

      My Mom only picked it up later in too, it’s amazing what a different perspective she has from me – I do recommend you watch it from the start if you get a chance, it’s such a different show the first couple of seasons! Peter is not so likable! Though honestly at this point I’m kind of with you on Peter – he’s not perfect but neither is Alicia! I would not be surprised at all if they end up together, which seemed unthinkable at one stage.

  26. Mrs. Darcy says:

    I never thought I would question my love for The Good Wife, it was tested pretty hard with Will leaving but after this season I’m seriously wondering why I bother. It used to leave your head spinning with the twists and turns of the cases and the office politics, now it all feels predictable and immature. Alicia’s transition into a politician was initially interesting, but it lost steam quickly and took up way too much of the show’s focus. I hate the bitterness of the Archie leaving thing too, it all just feels very mean girl which is ironic considering how Julianna and the showrunners are always spouting about the importance of Alicia as a woman blah blah blah when they have treated the most intriguing female character on the show so abominably. The loss of Will was mainly conveyed through Archie’s powerful performance imo, when I was expecting it to be Julianna – that was kind of a sea change for me in terms of caring about Alicia. I honestly stopped caring about her so much when Will left, something about her chemistry with Josh really humanized her in a way that honestly hasn’t really come back since he left.

    It really bored me the whole thing being about Alicia this season, there needed to be much more Kalinda/Cary/Diane/everybody else especially Eli. I don’t like the direction this is taking at all. I also don’t like Julianna’s lank hair in this shoot, fair enough you straighten/wear a wig for the show but she looks much better/younger with her natural hair imo (cough another curly girl posing as straight, we fellow curlies see you hiding! Same goes for Keri Russell, Lauren Graham, etc.).

  27. AJB says:

    In regards to the title of the article, only famous people say those kind of things!