‘Watchmen’s’ Jean Smart: Actors are responsible for their roles’ ‘negative influence’

Jean Smart in a scene from HBO's "Watchmen"
Jean Smart in HBO’s “Watchmen.”
(Mark Hill/HBO)

In the latest episode of The Times’ TV podcast “Can’t Stop Watching,” taped amid the recent protests over the police killing of George Floyd, “Watchmen” star Jean Smart discusses the responsibilities of making art in a time of crisis with host and staff writer Yvonne Villarreal:

There was a quote from an actor a long time ago that said, as an actor, if you want to believe that you can affect people in your audience in a good way, in a positive way — open their eyes to something — you also have to accept the fact that you can be a negative influence as well. You have to make your own personal, wise choices about the kind of material you do. So when you get to do something like “Watchmen,” it’s extremely rewarding, and it was nice that the audience responded the way that they did. Of course, we had no idea what was coming. ... It’s prophetic to an alarming degree.

Listen to the full episode to hear Smart talk about her “Watchmen” character, ex-vigilante Laurie Blake; a “Designing Women” reunion; and the Trump administration’s use of fear tactics to achieve political power. Plus, catch previous episodes with Smart’s “Watchmen” costar, Tim Blake Nelson, and “Mrs. America’s” Uzo Aduba.