Chimerica’s Cherry Jones: ‘Everything progressive in America has been trampled on’
Jones has played nuns, poets and even the US president in 24 … while working with problematic men. ‘If we condemn by instinct, we’re on a slippery slope,’ she says
The American, high-culture audience will know Cherry Jones as an icon of Broadway, high priestess of off-Broadway, giving definitive performances since the 1980s: famously, Sister Aloysius in Doubt and Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, a Tennessee Williams play she describes with such persuasive, feeling admiration that I bought it on the way home (it is really good, by the way).
Dedicated consumers of schlock will be catapulted back to Jones’s President Allison Taylor, from series seven of 24. While the box-set connoisseur will know Jones from Transparent, in which she played Leslie Mackinaw, closely modelled on creator Jill Soloway’s partner, the poet Eileen Myles. Jones says with ridiculous modesty that she usually gets parts at the last minute, when someone else pulls out. “I always like to find out who, so I can send flowers.” But not this part, which was as good as written for her. “No,” she concedes, “Jill wanted a true-blue lesbian. The real McCoy.”