Margulies tackles claustrophobia

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actress Julianna Margulies knew she was claustrophobic. But she didn’t realize just how much until she had to wear a sealed, full-body biosafety suit while filming the upcoming limited series “The Hot Zone.”

Margulies had to spend hours in the suit while filming the six-part show about how the deadly Ebola virus appeared on U.S. soil in 1989.

“I hated it,” Margulies said in a recent interview. “You immediately start to sweat. You are ensconced in rubber. There’s two fans keeping the air ventilating so you can’t hear yourself think and you can’t hear anyone else, so you’re sort of looking at everyone but you’re isolated. It’s a very lonely, strange experience.”

It was so intense, she said, that she cried on camera three times, “not when I was supposed to.”

“I’m very claustrophobic,” she said. “Didn’t realize how much until they zipped that thing up.”

But Margulies said the story she was helping tell was worth the stress. She plays Nancy Jaax, a veterinary pathologist with the U.S. Army faced with containing the highly contagious Ebola virus when monkeys shipped from the Philippines began testing positive at a facility in Reston, Virginia.

“What drew me to this story was the fact that Ebola hit U.S. soil in 1989 and I didn’t know anything about it,” she said. “To me it was always this thing way off in Africa — didn’t affect me. When I read the book and the first four scripts they sent me, I realized this is a global problem.”

Margulies, 52, said she hopes the show helps shine a light on the problem, and the fact that “we need to stand behind our scientists and start supporting the research.

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