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Rozie Perez on Turning Down Flight Attendant and Flubbing Lines with Alex Trebek

  • Flight Attendant star Rosie Perez came on The Drew Barrymore Show Tuesday and revealed she initially turned down the role because she hated flying.

    "Oh my god, Drew, can you believe I turned down the role when they first offered it to me?" Perez gushed. "Yes, because I'm scared to fly and I hate flying! I hate the whole thing. I hate the whole thing! I was so stupid! Then my manager... called me back and he said 'Kaley Cuoco is not accepting no for an answer, she wants to meet with you,' and I go 'oh, god.' And they said 'she's gonna meet with you around the corner in your neighborhood,' and I was like 'whoa, she's gonna come to my neighborhood in Brooklyn, that's cool.' We met, and she goes 'why don't you want to do this role?' And I go 'well, I don't like to fly,' and she goes 'you do know it's called The Flight Attendant and we will be flying'... we both started cracking up. We were high fiving. It was supposed to be a ten, fifteen minute coffee chat. It turned into over an hour. She had me at hello, but I kept her waiting for two weeks later."

    Perez also told the story of Alex Trebek's ad-libbing saving her from a flubbed line while filming her famous Jeopardy! scene in the 1992 film White Men Can't Jump.

    "It was an honor and I was beyond thrilled," she said of working with Trebek. "I'm a nerd and a geek and I love game shows and I always watched Jeopardy! and then Wheel of Fortune with my aunt, and I couldn't believe I was gonna be in a scene with this man, and we had no pre-rehearsal with Alex. So when we went to shoot, he walks out on the stage, and we were on the actual Jeopardy! stage, and my heart just went up in my throat... I was so nervous, and I knew my lines, but my speech impediment came out, and instead of saying [Mount Vesuvius] correctly, I said 'Mount Suvius.' And I paused, and I'm thinking to myself 'holy crap, I just messed up,' and he goes 'that's not correct, but we will check with the judges. The judges say ok. Ok'... That was all ad-libbed on Alex's part. He was so smooth and everything, and when the director Ron Shelton yelled 'cut,' we all was like 'yeaaah, that was awesome!' And I said 'well, can I do it again so the mistake's not in there?' and the director goes 'oh no, that's in there. That's gonna be movie history.'"

    The Flight Attendant is now streaming on HBO Max.

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    Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.

    TOPICS: Rosie Perez, The Drew Barrymore Show, The Flight Attendant, Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek, Kaley Cuoco