Laura Linney has been called the thinking man’s sex symbol, states HBO in an interview with the Oscar-nominated actress about their epic 7-part miniseries scheduled for March 16-April 20. Linney plays Abigail Adams — “wife, advisor and confidant to John Adams (Paul Giamatti), one of the great minds behind the founding of America.”
“It’s the largest thing I’ve ever done,” says Linney. “I’ve never seen a company like this. I’ve never seen costumes like this, I’ve never seen prosthetics, and locations, and production design …”
Linney spent six months filming in Virginia and Budapest (only in Hollywood would a movie about America be shot in Hungary). She immersed herself in the life of this “steely, no nonsense, get-it-done figure,” reports HBO.
“We are spoiled, spoiled, spoiled. We would not survive. I wouldn’t survive,” Linney said, referring to the physical challenges of daily life back then. The Adams family did most of their own household tasks themselves, having no slaves.
Abigail Adams must’ve been quite a woman, especially in the underwear department. According to Linney, the biggest challenge of playing Abigail was “Wearing a corset for 14 hours a day. There’s a reason they don’t exist anymore. They’re not fun.” Abigail’s corsets must not have bothered John too much, since they stayed married 54 years.
In addition to Giamatti as John and Linney as Abigail, the cast features Stephen Dillane as Thomas Jefferson, Danny Huston as Samuel Adams, David Morse as George Washington, and Sarah Polley as Nabby Adams/Abigail Adams Smith.