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Patch Q And A: Sarasota-Born Carla Gugino Of 'Political Animals'

Equally dazzling on both the big and small screens, the Sarasota-born actress lands a new role in a sophisticated and addicting new TV series.

Millions are tuning in to USA Network’s addicting and sophisticated new show “Political Animals” on Sunday nights and might have recognized a familiar face.

“Animals” stars stunning Sarasota-born actress Carla Gugino who portrays Susan Berg, a smart and savvy reporter for “The Washington Globe.”  The ambitious Berg puts her own principles to the test as she pursues the inside story on Secretary of State Elaine Barrish Hammond (played by a steely Sigourney Weaver) and key members of her family. 

In real life, Gugino’s parents separated when she was two years old.  She traveled between her father’s Sarasota home and her mother’s California teepee and van.  Despite the cross-country travel, she remained a straight-A student throughout high school and became valedictorian of her class.  Before she caught the acting bug, Carla moved to New York to begin a short-lived modeling career at 15, working for the prestigious Elite agency.     

Gugino’s acting résumé is vast; she hasn’t stopped working since 1988.  On the big screen, she has starred opposite Robert De Niro, Russell Crowe, Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, and a host of other A-listers. 

According to the-movie-times.com, Carla’s movies have grossed nearly $1.5 billion when she has been cast as the female lead.  Her TV credits include “Spin City,” “Chicago Hope,” “Entourage,” and “Justified.” 

People awarded "Political Animals" 3.5 (out of 4) stars, Rolling Stone called it “bold,” and the Critics’ Choice Television Awards pronounced it the “most exciting new series.”

Patch spoke with the personable and talented 38-year-old who loves both her new show and her old stomping grounds.

Patch:  Congratulations on “Political Animals!”

Gugino:  Thank you so much!  We (the cast) just wrapped the finale, but there was such excitement when we were shooting. We couldn’t wait to get our hands on the next script!

Patch:  USA Network’s tagline is “Characters Welcome” and this show is full of strong female characters.

Gugino:  When I first came on board, only Sigourney was attached and I was so excited to work and play with her!  I had worked with Ellyn Burstyn before who is just exquisite, and then I learned about Blair Brown and Vanessa Redgrave joining.  Before I knew it, we were blessed with all these amazing, talented actresses portraying smart, complex women.

Patch:  Speaking of Sigourney Weaver, you two have a great dynamic.

Gugino:  People have commented on the “chemistry” between Sigourney and me – a term that is usually reserved for the opposite sex or characters that are sexually attracted to each other!

Patch:  Do you consider yourself a political junkie?

Gugino:  I vote and have my opinions but I wasn’t raised in a political family.  If you do love politics, that’s great; but even if you don’t, the stories being explored are about people and their complicated lives.  

Patch:  As a celebrity, you’re always being interviewed.  How does it feel to reverse roles and play a journalist who asks the hard-hitting questions?

Gugino:  I’m not tabloid fodder; my life isn’t that exciting in those regards and I’ve spent time guarding my privacy. 

But my character feels that the public deserves to know how these people live their lives so it makes perfect sense to her to pry, which is different from my own personal perspective.  I’ll admit that I’d much rather be the one asking the questions so I can learn about other people.

Patch:  Do you have any memories of Sarasota? 

Gugino:  Absolutely!  I remember playing tennis and swimming at Longboat Key, wiggling my toes in that white sand!  My dad and stepmom Linda still live there so I still visit often and love it! When I get off the plane and take in that warm air and look up at the birds …  it’s the sounds and smells that truly make a place home. 

“Political Animals” airs Sunday at 10pm EST on USA Network.  Full episodes, cast interviews, behind-the-scenes photos, and more can be found at: PoliticalAnimals.TV.

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