Beverly Hills, CA -- Kaley Cuoco didn’t have to wait long for her first gig after the long-running CBS hit The Big Bang Theory. In fact, it came along while she was still playing Penny – and it’s a job that would send Penny’s pal Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) and husband Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki) into nerdgasms. “I think they’d think it was the hottest thing in the world!” she laughed during an interview at the Summer 2019 Television Critics Association tour. “I’m sure they wished an episode had been written about this, so yeah, it’s in their wet dreams for sure.”
She’s not kidding. Cuoco (third from left in photo at top) is providing the voice of the iconic title character in Harley Quinn, an upcoming animated series based on the mallet-wielding, mega-popular DC Comics anti-heroine (who used to be a straight-up super-villain). “You know, to be honest with you, it started with a call from [Warner Bros. Television Group President] Peter Roth, who is a dear friend to all of us,” Cuoco told reporters. “[He] said, ‘Do you want to be Harley Quinn?’ I was like, ‘Fuck yeah, I do!’
“He goes, ‘That's the right answer because that's basically what she says -- a lot!’” Cuoco added with a laugh. “I was so flattered that he called. Then, I met with [the producers]. They showed me all the drawings and what they were doing, and we just thought it was the coolest thing ever.”
According to Cuoco, her introduction to Quinn came courtesy of Margot Robbie, who portrayed Quinn in the 2016 movie Suicide Squad. “I’m a huge fan of [Margot’s] and seeing her in Suicide Squad, and with Birds of Prey coming out, that’s when I became obsessed with the character,” she explained. “The female empowerment, and doing what you want, [along with] her relationship with the Joker, seemed completely realistic. She does what she wants to do and even though in ways she is a criminal, she takes care of criminals that are way worse than she is.”
Given the fact that Cuoco’s portrayal will rely solely on her voice, finding the right one for Quinn became an interesting challenge. “I feel my voice is very recognizable,” she shared, concerned that it may hinder believability of the animated character. “She’s very New Jersey/New York/Chicago, and that’s not me. I knew people would know my voice instantly and I wasn’t going to try and be someone I wasn’t, so it’s going to be my voice on crack. That’s what was decided early on. I think we’ve accomplished the Kaley Cuoco voice on crack -- which might be a whole new thing!”
She’s thrilled to be starting a new chapter in her life -- one that includes being a producer on this project -- but the reality of Big Bang ending after 12 years has yet to fully sink in. “It still feels like a summer hiatus, so normally I would be on this break,” she said. “But in a few months when I am supposed to be going back to the show, it will feel more like this is a new life and things are a little bit different.”
Cuoco also admitted that while she wasn’t specifically looking to play a character who is the polar opposite of Penny, Quinn has been especially enjoyable. “It’s very freeing and I fucking love it,’ she declared. “It’s been so much fun. I do have a bit of a potty mouth myself, so it’s been great to be able to scream and cuss and fight and be the badass that Harley Quinn is.”
She’s so into it, she said, that sometimes she finds it hard to put Harley away. “I find that when I leave [the studio] all these Harley things come out and I’m like, ‘You need to calm down. You are not Harley Quinn when you are getting a coffee!’”
Harley Quinnis expected to premiere on the DC Universe streaming service in October.
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