After the pilot and the first couple episodes, I got a lot of feedback from people. Many of whom said, ‘Oh, fabulous,’ ‘Oh, you’re going to be the bitch,’ and then a lot of people saying ‘Wow, you’re really one tough lawyer. Ooh, you’re the mean one.’ And I just thought ‘Well, are we just going to fall into a stereotype?’ And I so didn’t want to be that. I always think that’s the best possible thing you can do as an actor, is not give people what they’re expecting.
I remember one of the things I did to prepare for this role was see that Anna Wintour movie, The September Issue. It was all about Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, at work. She’s got this reputation for being the ‘Ice Queen.’ ‘Nuclear Wintour,’ you know? I saw this movie and I have to tell you, she was a hard working woman, in sensible shoes… she was often photographed with circles under her eyes, and not a lot of lipstick because she was too busy to reapply it. She wasn’t mean, she just was getting the job done. And that’s what I would like to think of Diane, on any given day… yeah, she can be tough. She can be tough in court, she can use that particular skill. But on other days, she can have fun with her partner or be supportive of a female colleague. It’s just not so simple.
We do like to simplify our female characters, and I just have marveled at how [The Kings] have written it so that it’s just not the obvious.
- Christine Baranski, from the commentary on The Good Wife, 1.16 “Fleas”