Jean Smart Says Sigourney Weaver Turned Down Her Watchmen Role: 'Thank You'

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Jean Smart, Sigourney Weaver

Jean Smart almost wasn't part of the Watchmen cast.

Smart, 69, revealed that another actress almost played the character of Agent Laurie Blake (a.k.a. Silk Spectre) in the 2019 HBO miniseries Watchmen, which earned Smart her most recent Emmy nomination.

"They hired me two days before I started," she told Saturday Night Live star Bowen Yang in an interview for Variety. "I'll be really honest: I had Sigourney Weaver to thank for turning down the role. So, thank you, Sigourney."

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Based on the 1986 DC comic book of the same name, Watchmen features Smart as Laurie, an FBI agent and former superhero who now works with the Anti-Vigilante Task Force. The show is rooted in the mythology of the comics, as well as the very real history around the Tulsa race massacre of 1921. Smart has praised the show's creator, Damon Lindelof, for the "amazing" writing.

Mark Hill/HBO Jean Smart in Watchmen

"I knew nothing about the graphic novel," she said in her conversation with Yang, 30. "I knew nothing about the story at all. I started reading the pilot, and I said, 'Oh, my God, this is amazing.' I'd never really done that science-fiction genre, and the fact that Damon was able to use that tragic part of our history that almost no one knew about - that was what was so shocking, that I had never heard of the Tulsa massacre. That's why I think he said no when I asked him to do a second season because I think he put everything into that."

Smart discussed playing Laurie on PEOPLE Now back in November 2019. "The term 'badass' keeps coming up," Smart said of the fans' response. "Which I thought, 'Okay, I'll take that.' I'll definitely take 'badass' at this stage of my career."

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"I just find her really interesting because she's obviously very wounded," she explained of her character. "But she acts like she's just cool as a cucumber and totally in control, until we see her."

Smart recently stole scenes in HBO's limited series Mare of Easttown, in addition to leading an ensemble in HBO Max's Hacks.