Rosie Perez Recalls “Terrifying” Covid Diagnosis, Says Reopened ‘Flight Attendant’ Set Resembled ‘Contagion’

Rosie Perez remembers her Covid-19 diagnosis in the early days of the pandemic as so “terrifying” she pleaded with her manager, “Don’t let me die in Bangkok.”

Perez says she contracted the coronavirus while traveling last December to shoot her new HBO series The Flight Attendant, starring Kaley Cuoco. In an interview with Uproxx, the actress described the day she was diagnosed. At that time, she says, “they were saying it’s a new respiratory tract infection.”

A doctor in Bangkok told Perez, “It’s a virus that’s going around. We don’t really know what it is and what it does, but it attacks the respiratory system first and then travels to other parts of your body. And I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ It was terrifying. I remember my manager was with me, and I said, ‘Tarik, don’t let me die in Bangkok.’ And he goes, ‘Oh my God, you’re scaring me.’ And the head of the ICU says, ‘You should be scared, sir. This is serious. We’re going to have to put her in a separate room.’ Because it was new.”

The new series had just a few more episodes to complete before the industry shutdown hit, Perez says, and the actress recalled later returning to the reopened – and Covid-protected – set.

“I was very nervous,” she says, “but when I got on set, everything was run so efficiently. I was like, ‘This looks like the movie, Contagion.’ It was bizarre. Standing in line for the COVID test, having hair and makeup with the goggles and the face masks, and then the face shields and the blue emergency room gowns. They took every precaution possible. They were really professional about it, real champs, and put everyone at ease.

“But it was hard. On my last day, I was so emotional. I turned and I looked and Kaley was crying and she hugged the back of me and we were not supposed to do that. And I just turned around and I hugged her. We were both so emotional, I said, ‘Thank you, Kaley. Thank you for convincing me to do this show. I cannot believe how much fun and how much satisfaction I got from this. Thank you.’”

The Flight Attendant is streaming on HBO Max, and stars Cuoco as the title character who gets caught up in a murder mystery. In addition to Cuoco and Perez, the series also stars Zosia Mamet, T.R. Knight and Michiel Huisman.


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