Let's get something straight: "From the creators of The Good Wife" does not mean BrainDead is The Good Wife 2.0. Actually, far from it. Robert and Michelle King's new science fiction-drama-thriller-comedy hybrid about alien bugs that eat the brains of people in Washington, DC (seriously), may feature some familiar Good Wife faces like Megan Hilty, Zach Grenier and Nikki M. James, and follow a female protagonist, but the similarities pretty much stop there.
"I once had a car and it was in a car accident. I wanted to get a different car and I very deliberately went out and got the most different car I could get. This is not that," Michelle King told E! News when asked if it was a conscious choice to do something completely different than the couple's Emmy-winning legal drama.
"I was wondering where that was going," Robert King added with a laugh.
"It wasn't as though we thought to ourselves: 'OK, we finished The Good Wife, how can we do something completely different?' We did what we wanted to do and it turned out it was quite different," Michelle concluded.
"I think it's because we are reacting what is going on in the world, politics of the world, and it felt that the only way to address it in a new way was to go more ludicrous," Robert said. "I mean, it is a ludicrous situation we're in."
Alien bugs come to town and start infecting people, including high-powered politicians who suddenly take sharp turns on their stances. In place of the stoic mom Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), who struggled to reclaim her life and find her place in the world, there's struggling documentary filmmaker Laurel Healey, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
"Tonally the shows are so different. I think that in and of itself sets the characters apart. Laurel's story is so different than Alicia's story, where she's coming from and who she is. The time in her life is very different, so, I think there's certainly a world in which Laurel could become this hardened woman as the seasons go on, but she's a bit of a softy in a lot of ways as of now and she's a bit goofy and a bit silly and a bit of a wild child and a lot of fun," Winstead said. "I definitely see her as her own character. It will be interesting to see where she goes. I think that she can go any number of places depending on what happens to her because they're putting her through the wringer on this show. She's not traumatized at this point. I'm curious to see where they want to take her as the seasons go on because anything can happen."
The Kings also pointed out the character is relatively untraumatized, especially when compared to their other leading lady.
"I think she doesn't start in as vulnerable a place as Alicia," Robert said. "Where Alicia ended up is much stronger than Laurel [this last season]. The key thing is Alicia knew what she wanted to do and then became an opt-out mom, then tried to reclaim what she wanted to do. Laurel doesn't know what she wants to do, or she can't finish anything. She's in this very youthful state. I remember getting out of college and not quite knowing how to get from A to B, that's I think Laurel more than Alicia. She doesn't know how to get to the goals she's after."
Michelle said Laurel has a bit more of a voice than Alicia did at the start, but doesn't know what to do with it. "She's not battle-hardened, she's been fortunate enough not to be traumatized pre-season," she said.
Winstead, who has numerous TV and film credits under her belt, said she was looking to do something with a bit more comedy and found that with Laurel on BrainDead.
"I like her kind of goofy side. I like the comedic moments that we play with on the show because she feels like a real person to me. She doesn't feel like this steely kind of tough woman trying to make it in politics. She's just this real girl who really doesn't like politics but has this innate ability to work within that…She's still kind of finding herself and trying to figure out what she's good at," she said. "Ultimately, I think she'd make a good politician, but she's fighting against it so hard because she doesn't want to be in politics. She doesn't want to be good at it, but she's definitely the kid who ran for class president and was competitive and had all those traits, but she's really fighting to not be that person...Once she gets [back to DC], I think her innate competitiveness and drive to help people and get things done really kind of kicks in and she wants to do her job well."
Winstead said she didn't base her role of a woman who was raised in the world of politics on anybody in particular. In fact, it's more her than anybody else.
"I think in terms of how she feels about politics I'm very similar to her. It's why I didn't really base her on anyone, I didn't think, 'Oh, she's Chelsea Clinton or Kristin Gore,' I didn't do any of that," she said. "I really relate to her and I think I can bring my personality to her a lot in terms of the way I feel overwhelmed and saddened by politics most of the time. I can't imagine trying to actually work within that."
BrainDead premieres Monday, June 13 at 10 p.m. on CBS.