Catherine Zeta-Jones Explains What Drew Her to Wednesday & National Treasure

Jan 1, 2023

Catherine Zeta-Jones is closing out 2022 strong. She plays Morticia Addams in Wednesday, Netflix’s Addams Family series featuring Jenna Ortega in the title role. Wednesday isn’t just any old smash hit for the streamer; the series managed to cross a billion views within the first 28 days of release. That alone would make 2022 a win for Zeta-Jones, but she isn’t done just yet. She also stars in the highly anticipated Nation Treasure series on Disney+.

National Treasure: Edge of History calls for Zeta-Jones to skew sinister while playing the series villain, Billie Pearce, an antiquities dealer for the black market. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, this new treasure hunt branches away from Nicolas Cage’s Ben Gates and centers on Lisette Olivera’s Jess Valenzuela, a young dreamer with a knack for solving puzzles who’s determined to track down a centuries-old treasure that might be connected to her late father. Making the mission more challenging, Billie is never far behind Jess and her friends, determined to unearth this ancient treasure for herself.

Before we join the hunt on December 14th, Collider’s Perri Nemiroff had a few questions for Zeta-Jones about her involvement in Edge of History. During their chat, Zeta-Jones discussed what draws her to creators like Bruckheimer and Wednesday’s Tim Burton, and also what it was like striking a balance between Billie’s more villainous qualities and infusing the role with some humanity and nuance. You can watch their chat in the video at the top of this article or read a transcript of the conversation below.

Image via Disney+

PERRI NEMIROFF: I was reading about how this and Wednesday came your way via personal phone calls from Jerry [Bruckheimer] and Tim [Burton]. They’re two completely different types of creators, but I’m wondering if there’s a constant between them that signals to you that, no matter the project, you have to sign up and work with them?

CATHERINE ZETA-JONES: There is a bit of that. I was always like, “I wish I was in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie,” … and I was like, “I wish I was in a Tim Burton [project].” And then all of a sudden those chances come your way. I’m always starstruck. I’m never like, “Whatever.” I’m always really excited when people that I love their work think of me for something. The same thing happened with Steven Soderbergh. I did three movies with Steven Soderbergh and every time he calls up it was like, “Oh, thank you, thank you! I just love working with you!” And what’s great about it is that it’s never disappointed me. There’s nothing worse than really admiring people, and then you meet them and go, “Oh, god. Really?” That’s never really happened to me, but that would be awful if it did.

The double whammy with Jerry Bruckheimer was that I was also a fan of this particular franchise that he has, the many that he has. But [these] particular movies, I love them, and they’re right up my alley. I’m a complete history fanatic, as are my children. And so the whole adventure — there’s an Indiana Jones quality to this show, too, I have to say. And then also getting to play the not-so-nice character in it all. As an actor, it’s just fun to do that because you keep it all in reality, but you’re able to kind of manipulate a little bit more than you would if you’re just playing a good old, goody-two-shoes.

Image via Disney+

I am really enjoying that quality of Billie thus far. I love how she does feel like the quintessential action-adventure villain that we can have fun watching being evil, but then at the same time, you’re adding just enough nuance and more vulnerable moments to still make us feel like she’s a real person. What was it like finding that right balance?

ZETA-JONES: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much because that is important. People are usually bad for a reason, and it’s usually through insecurity, fragility, or something very traumatic that has made them that way. It’s much easier to be nice, but she’s a little dark. I’m not gonna give too much away because as the story unfolds in our series, you kind of get a glimpse of why she’s like that and why this treasure is so important to her, which makes sense.

The Wibbs we call them, the writers of the original movies and of our show, created really great characters. Not for me, but for everybody. They didn’t decide, “Oh, 20 years on, what about National Treasure? Let’s just make an old TV show about that.” They really took the beauty and the love and the greatness of those two movies and rooted it with some really great characters of today, of a young generation that are on the hunt for treasure. Or, even if they never thought about looking for treasure, are really into it. Escape rooms and treasure hunting, how cool is that? And I think it’s a generational thing, you know? We all would love to find — I watch the Antiques Roadshow all the time. I want to be that person who found his grandmother’s suitcase in the attic and inside was the missing documentation of the Magna Carta. I want to be that person! [Laughs] And, so I have my kind of fix doing this show of, “Hm, it could happen. I could find it.”

National Treasure: Edge of History premieres exclusively on Disney+ on Wednesday, December 14th. Stay tuned for more cast interviews right here on Collider!

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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