Director Jennifer Phang was thrilled to join the second season of HBO Max’s The Flight Attendant since she was such a fan of the freshman outing. The space inside Cassie’s mind–properly titled, the Mind Palace–is a playground for any director, but Phang knocks it out of the park with two back-to-back episodes that find our distressed heroine trotting around the world and reuniting with old friends.
I couldn’t begin the conversation with Phang without addressing one of my favorite surprises of season two: Alana Urbach as a flight attendant adversary in Carol. Or, as she should properly be credited, Fucking Carol. In addition to Kaley Cuoco’s Cassie blackmailing Urbach’s character, Phang had the distinct pleasure of directing scenes featuring four comedic powerhouses: Cuoco, Rosie Perez, Michelle Gomez, and Margaret Cho. With such high-wattage talent, a director might just let the actors play and try to capture as much as they can, but Phang knew how much she needed to balance these huge personalities in order to not lose ground with the scene.
With a show like The Flight Attendant, you have to become a master of the tease, so you don’t give too much away. There are two clues that hints towards Cassie’s relapse (which is revealed in episode five), but Phang knew that she needed to not push too much for the audience to dwell on them.
The Flight Attendant is streaming now on HBO Max.