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2012 February 14

Better Than Good

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Matt Czuchry and Archie Panjabi Matt Czuchry and Archie Panjabi
Ellen von Unwerth
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(NEW YORK) Archie Panjabi and Matt Czuchry aren’t  just brilliant actors currently co-starring  in The Good Wife—they’re also hard-core besties. Who better to provide the scoop on  fashion’s favorite TV fixation? BY EDDIE ROCHE

What were your first impressions?

Archie Panjabi:
I thought, What a sweet guy! He offered me a lot of advice since The Good Wife was my first American television job. 
Matt Czuchry:
During the pilot, the entire cast went out for dinner and we sat next to each other.
AP:
We had a brief conversation, and I think we both knew that we were going to be buddies.
MC:
It was a nerve-wracking time—it was a new job and a big opportunity.  We both felt very calm and comfortable with one another!

How are things now?
AP:
[laughs] We’re joined at the hip! We’re both uprooted—me from England and Matt from LA—and we have similar taste in music and the arts.
MC:
Creatively, we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of scenes together. We bounce ideas off of one another and take risks. It’s made the storyline of Cary and Kalinda feel very comfortable, creative, and balanced.
AP:
Cary and Kalinda’s relationship was unintentional. During episode five, the director said, ‘Why don’t we create this chemistry?’ I’m sure some of our own chemistry was responsible.

Do the characters love each other?
AP:
Love is such a strong word, so I don’t know if that’s appropriate, but they care about each other so much that they end up hurting each other. The audience wants them together, but it would ruin things.

What happens when you encounter Good Wife superfans?
AP:
I’ve always been asked about what’s going on between Kalinda and Cary. And the truth is, we never really know, so that keeps the audience interested!

The YouTube montages are very amusing. Have you checked them out?
MC:
Yes! There’s some good work out there. Those clips show that the fans are extremely passionate.

Ellen von Unwerth recently photographed you two in Paris for an editorial in Watch!. How was your trip?
MC:
It’s fun to relive it now because it was so special. We wrapped season two and the next day we flew to Paris. It was my first time there.

How is Ellen different from the other photographers you’ve worked with?
AP:
You can see it from the pictures, but I felt that she wasn’t just a photographer. It wasn’t like we were trying to pose—it
was just very in the moment!

What was your best meal there?
MC:
The night of the shoot, after a really long day, we all had room serviceat Le Meurice.

What did you order?
AP:
Everything was good! I also remember the pastries from Angelina. And the burgers...and the croque monsieurs...

What have you learned from each other about acting?
MC:
I’ve learned a lot because I’ve had a lot to learn! Archie has really taught me a lot about complexity and subtext, and how to make them come to life. Making the exposition conversational but also layered and complex is extremely challenging.
AP:
Particularly when you’re given scripts quite late, which is normal in television. If I get stuck, I always call Matt for great ideas. He makes me think about things in really new ways. I always know where I stand with him.

How is Julianna Margulies as a leader of the show?
AP:
Great. She’s hugely experienced. Matt and I have learned a lot from all of our fellow actors, to be fair—Christine Baranski, Chris Noth, Alan Cumming, everyone! Matt and I see ourselves as the kids. I know people often say this, but we do feel like it’s a family.

What’s Alan like?
AP:
A lot of fun! It’s actually quite difficult sometimes to keep a straight face during dialogue. I have the same problem with Matt sometimes! I can see the twinkles in their eyes. My character is so serious that it’s quite refreshing to laugh a lot.

How do you feel when you get the scripts?
AP:
Excitement! It’s like reading a novel. There’s also a bit of nervousness—we have two days to learn everything, and come up with a good performance!

Archie, you won the Best Supporting Actress Emmy in 2010. In your acceptance speech, you said that the award would be great for your career. Did it live up to the hype?
AP:
It’s been fantastic! A few days before the nominations were announced, Matt took me out for dinner and said, ‘I hope you’re going to nominate yourself! Don’t be stupid.’ And had it not been for that, I would have never done it.
MC:
That first season, I think she redefined the femme fatale. I was passionate about her performance. She’s broken down boundaries, not only for women, but women of color as well.
AP:
[laughs] Thank you! I had no expectations about the Emmy, but it was a very prestigious award to receive.

Would you be friends with your characters?
MC:
[pauses, then laughs] We have to be careful to never judge our characters because if you do, you can’t access things you may later need. I will defend mine to the nth degree! 
AP:
I would be friends with my character, but I wouldn’t cross her. I’ve found myself in situations where I ask, ‘What would Kalinda do?’ She’s so good at making decisions while remaining emotionally detached. I’m influenced by her, but in terms of being friends with her…

She really works her sexuality. Do you use yours similarly?
AP:
No. Does any woman? I think I’m naturally quite fun and sometimes that can be misinterpreted as being flirtatious. If you treat people well and look at the bright side of life, you’re going to make somebody’s day.

Let’s talk fashion! Have you ever been to the shows?
MC:
I went to Milan once for an Armani fashion show, and I hope to go to Joseph Abboud’s this season. Bernardo Rojo is opening his new line, and he’s designed some tuxes for me for the Emmys and the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, so I want to go and support him. 

We love Bernardo!
MC:
He’s a great guy, and I think that kind of spirit comes through in his clothes.
AP:
When designers have that positive spirit, you really do want to wear their clothes. I feel that with Carolina Herrera. They’re so helpful and excited and grateful and thankful!

Have you met Mrs. Herrera?
AP:
I haven’t yet, but I’ll be going to her show if I get time off!

Thoughts on the show’s fashion?
AP:
The costume designers, Dan and Michelle, really reflect the personality of the characters in the costumes. Kalinda is provocative, but also respected.
MC:
The clothes feel organic to the characters. We’ve bought basically all the Calvin Klein one-button suits we could find...and then we had more custom-made!

Which other designers do the characters wear?
AP:
DvF, Helmut Lang, anything that’s very fitted and structured. There’s a lot of Burberry, but sometimes I’ll wear a few things from Zara or H&M. The boots are Via Spiga.

Why is Kalinda always wearing boots?
AP:
In the pilot, the boots gave her a certain walk. When the series was made, they were looking to sex her up a bit more—so the heels got higher. 

Do they kill your feet?
AP:
They’re quite good, actually! The Via Spiga ones have a platform, so they make me stand straighter and give me better balance. I like wearing them.

What about the leather jacket?
AP:
I don’t carry a bag on the shoulder, so I can slip my phone in my boots or my jacket.

Do you guys read any fashion magazines?
MC:
I love Interview, GQ...
AP:
Vogue.
How is your last name pronounced, Matt?
MC:
It’s ‘zoo-kree’ but my mom says ‘zuh-kree,’ so I don’t think my own family even knows! After many years, a couple of people may get it right. Certainly more than when I first started out 12 years ago!




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