From the Great White Way to the White House

While there won’t be a woman in the White House anytime in the near future, 24 took the reins and elected to cast two-time Tony Award winner Cherry Jones as its first female president, Allison Taylor, who is likely to have everything including terrorists, WMDs, and the kitchen sink thrown at her. Jones sat down with The Advocateto talk marriage, the White House, and her "fluid" relationship with partner Sarah Paulson.

BY Advocate.com Editors

November 21 2008 12:00 AM ET

While there
won’t be a woman in the White House anytime in the
near future, 24 took the reins and elected to
cast two-time Tony Award winner Cherry Jones as its
first female president, Allison Taylor, who
is likely to have everything including
terrorists, WMDs, and the kitchen sink thrown at her. And if
there’s an actress up to the task of filling a
pair of presidential pumps, it’s Jones, who
took home her first Tony in 1995 for The
Heiress,
and won a second in 2005 for
originating the role of the staunch, wildly suspicious nun
who accuses the parish priest of pedophilia in
Doubt.

Jones’s
extensive stage work has earned her a reputation as one of
the greatest actresses of our time, having turned in
heavy-hitting performances in Angels in America:
Millennium Approaches
and Perestroika
and in the 2000 revival of A Moon for the
Misbegotten
. But Jones, whose film forays include
The Perfect Storm, Signs, and
Ocean's Twelve, has also always been an out
lesbian. In her 1995 Tony acceptance speech, Jones thanked
her partner. A decade later, Jones made Tony Award
history when her name was announced and she kissed her
partner, actress Sarah Paulson, on live television.

The Advocate chatted with Jones just before the
election. And while Barack Obama’s presidency had yet
to be sealed and the fate of Prop. 8 had yet to be
decided, Jones had some pretty prescient things to say
about both. Plus, television’s prime-time
president weighed in on Meryl Streep taking on the role she
originated in the upcoming big-screen version
of Doubt, what it will take to get a woman in
the White House, and the possibility of her own
marriage.

The Advocate: Hi, Cherry. Thanks so much
for taking time to chat with us.
Cherry Jones: I’m about to go to a sort of
sneak, family screening of the movie Doubt. If
I sound harried, it’s because I got back to the
apartment a little bit later than I thought I would.

Since you mentioned going to the film, I’d love to
know what you think of Meryl Streep in the role
for which you won a Tony.
It’s pretty exciting casting. I was
smitten from the time I came to New York in 1978 and
saw her Kate in Taming of the Shrew with Raul
Julia, so from then on, I was hers. So…were there a
few days when I fantasized about doing the film when I knew
it was going to be made into a film? Of course. But,
honestly, after doing it on stage 708 times, they
probably did me a favor by not asking.

Seven hundred and eight times… That’s
a heavy role to do day in and day out.
The bottom line is, I’ve always been very
pragmatic in my career, which is very helpful and
helps you negotiate just about anything. And people
expect me to be bitter and angry, and fortunately, for
whatever reason, that’s not my temperament.

Well, it does certainly help navigate Hollywood. Are you
in L.A. or New York at the moment?
I have just arrived in New York.

Is that where you live? That’s where I live. But I’ve been
away from New York for the better part of two years
because I did the tour of Doubt, and from
working on the 24 that never ends.

Right. Well, that’s where I was headed. 24
is coming up and we have two big days coming up, namely
Election Day and the prequel for 24, which
premieres in late November. When your role as
Allison Taylor was conceptualized a while ago now,
do you think the idea was that Hillary Clinton would be
the likely Democratic nominee?
I absolutely think that was probably what the
boys in the smoking room thought. And also,
they’ve had two black male presidents and at least
three white male presidents, who were totally corrupt and
terrible, so they were sort of running out of options.
It was sort of a no-brainer that they would now --
even without a Hillary running for the Democratic
nomination -- probably would have gone in this
direction. 

Tags: television

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