Exclusive Interview with Kingdom’s Joanna Going

Joanna Going is not one of those actresses who likes to be typecast. Well, unless you want to typecast her as a beautiful, diverse actress. She is as likely to inhabit the role of First Lady Tricia Walker in Netflix’s House of Cards, as she is to make hard-edged, drug addled prostitute Christina Kulina her own person in DirecTV’s Kingdom.

Season 2B of Kingdom returns to DirecTV on June 1st, and we talked with Joanna about her character, the show, the roles she’s played in her career, and even the last book she read! Check out her interview below, and don’t forget to tune in for Kingdom on June 1st at 9PM ET.

What can we expect from Christina this year? How do you think she’s changed from the woman we saw back in the first episode of “Kingdom”?

Christina has changed in that she has gained the desire and incentive to stay clean since living with Jay and Nate. Unfortunately, her path to sobriety continues to be rocky. We are going to follow her down a new and more advisable road toward kicking her drug habit, but, this being Christina, she does not always make the wisest decisions.

You’ve played a great number of strong female characters. Which one is your favorite, and what do you think we can and should learn from that character?

One of my favorite roles (and my first feature film) is Josie in “Wyatt Earp.” As presented in the film, Josie is an independent and strong woman in what was very much a man’s world. She would not be humiliated or made ashamed of her body or her sexuality. She stood up for herself, did not care what anyone thought of her, went after what she wanted, and loved passionately and loyally.

You’ve never shied away from talking about your own struggles. Do you think there’s a certain sense of empowerment in being in the position you are and sharing your experiences with others? In an ideal world, what do you hope to achieve?

I don’t really feel qualified to get on a soap box on any subject, but, as an actor, I have the opportunity to research and learn about a variety of issues. Whatever struggle a character may be dealing with, I look for ways in which their struggles may intersect with my own personal experience; the details may not be the same, but there is usually some emotional thread to relate to and build upon. People need to know they are not alone, and I’ve lived long enough to learn that it’s a lot more joyful and a lot less exhausting to just be open and connect with each other in the absurdity of our human condition, than it is to hide yourself away.

Kingdom is certainly an intense show. How’s the interaction with your costars? Just as intense, or are you able to crack jokes and relax between takes?

Oh, the best way to deal with intensity is to crack jokes. We respect and trust each other enormously, but also have a great time. And we have the most wonderful and supportive crew. They are right there with us in intensity and focus, but know that it’s a whole lot nicer to get through the day with a light heart and lot of laughter.

You’ve done both films and TV. How does one medium differ from the other? Which one do you enjoy more?

I enjoy both, for different reasons. In film you know the complete story, you are able to chart the emotional journey and understand the way in which your role fits into the piece as a whole from the outset. You do your work to fill in the blanks, and breathe, and serve the vision of the director. And then you let it all go because anything can happen in edit.

In TV, the character is being revealed to you episode by episode, and you never know what could happen or fully who this person is and what they are capable of. There’s always this moment of nervous anticipation when you open the next script. We ask, “What is she going to do next? What is going to happen to her? What am I going to learn about her past that I didn’t know before?” It’s a strange paradox of being the expert on this person and not knowing them at all at the same time. As an actor you must stay open and fluid, and hang on for the ride.

We know you currently have two dogs and that this is a cause that’s very close to your heart.  Tell us a little bit about what this means to you. What made you decide in favor of rescue dogs?

Choosing rescue dogs is simply a no-brainer for me. There are so many very wonderful dogs available in every city, urgently in need of homes. Dogs have touched my heart, ever since I was a small child, I’m not sure why — I was just a born dog person. Growing up I read every dog story, and saw every dog movie.  Later in life I came to the understanding that the modern dog is truly a creation of humans, evolved to work, serve, protect, and most importantly be a comfort and companion to man. We made them, they are devoted to us, and they are at our mercy for their every need in this world.

And now, for a lighter question. What’s the last book you read?

“The Royal We” by Jessica Morgan and Heather Cocks. Loved it!

New episodes of Kingdom will be available for DirecTV subscribers on June 1st, at 9:00PM ET.

Lawyer. Dreamer. Geek. Eternal optimist. Fangirl since the dawn of time. Hates the color yellow, olives and cigarettes. Has a recurring nightmare where she’s forced to choose between sports and books. Falls in love with fictional characters.