Edie Falco’s Past Addiction Helps Inform Her Role on “Nurse Jackie”

Edie Falco’s Past Addiction Helps Inform Her Role on “Nurse Jackie”

Three-time Emmy winner Edie Falco became a TV icon playing strong-willed mob wife Carmela in the HBO series “The Sopranos.” Now she’s already received a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nomination for her starring role as a flawed yet no-nonsense nurse on Showtime network’s critically-acclaimed dark comedy, “Nurse Jackie.”

Falco said on CBS’s “The Early Show” that she has a role many actors are looking for. “You hope you get to do something like this, where you get to be dimensional and hopefully play stuff you haven’t played before. So I consider myself very lucky,” she said.

Falco said television seems to be moving toward characters that have layered or flawed personalities. “I think people may be tired of seeing the sort of cookie-cutter versions of what people should be and, in fact, they prefer to see people that look more familiar such as themselves or people they know,” she said. “Give people a chance to feel like you don’t have to be perfect.”

“Early Show” co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez noted Falco’s own battle with alcoholism, and asked her if she draws on her past experience for her current role.

“I think addiction is a very specific physiological mindset. So it certainly does help to have some background with that. Because if you explain it to a non-addict — that you’re pulled to something that’s so bad for you — it doesn’t make sense. But to me, it makes perfect sense,” said Falco.

As for the second season of “Nurse Jackie,” Falco says her character’s not ready to “cash it all in.” She said, “She’s still got to create a little more chaos. She’s still trying to make it work for her.”

Rodriguez pointed out that it was amazing how, in the first season of the show, Falco’s character got away with so many secrets.

“That’s addiction for you,” Falco said. “Really some of the most wily, resourceful individuals you’ll meet.”

“But eventually it has to catch up,” Rodriguez added.

“It does,” Falco said. “Either it catches up with you or you die from it. So hopefully she’ll get her life together.”

Falco also responded to criticism from nurses who say “Nurse Jackie” doesn’t accurately represent the nursing profession.

“I don’t think it’s relevant,” she said. “I think we’re not saying, ‘This is what nurses are like.’ We’re saying it’s what this woman was like. And I think if she was a plumber, she’d be dealing with this problem. She just happens to have easier access.”

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