Julianna Margulies on acting in a hazmat suit in 'The Hot Zone'

The actress talks about the new National Geographic series and offers career advice to "Game of Thrones" actors.
7:28 | 05/20/19

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Transcript for Julianna Margulies on acting in a hazmat suit in 'The Hot Zone'
You know our next guest from Hur TV series "E.R." And so much more. Well, now she's taking on a terrifying new role in national geographic's brand-new miniseries "The hot zone." Please welcome three-time Emmy award winner, Julianna Margulies. Good to see you. Good to see you too. So great to see you again. Hi. Hi. Oh, I get a chair. Thank you. It is great to see you. Sit at the desk. I've never done that. Come on. I love it. So we can't wait to talk to you about this new series because it's so interesting but before we get to that. We know you're a big "Game of thrones" fan. You have viewing parties at your house. Let me rephrase. My husband has viewing -- I mean and when I say party, I mean my brother-in-law lives four floors below us in the same building and his best friend, my husband's best friend lives two blocks away, so it's a bourbon party because for some reason they can't watch the show without bourbon. I do not partake in the bourbon part because, you know, it's usually Monday the next day. You have to be here. They all sit there sipping their bourbon, yes. What did you guys think of the ending of the series? So, I loved it listen, no one is going to be happy with the ending of any series, no one liked the ending of "The good wife." No one likes the ending of anything because it's the end and it's a very difficult -- I think what the writers did with those characters was exactly right. They all went to where they should have gone and I loved it and I think -- Big thumbs up. Everyone is a critic and no one is going to like -- That's a great point. That's a very good point. We did hate to see "The good wife" end. You were tremendous. You are tremendous and "Hot zone," I know, really. I'm really intrigued. It is based on a true story when ebola first arrived on the yours soil in 1989 and you play Dr. Nancy Jax. It was a little challenging with the medical dialogue I hear that you had to tackle. Yeah, I didn't want to do this role at all because -- What? Rid DI Scott who executive produced it and also my boss from "The good wife" and Linda opes had owned the rights to this story three decades ago and never were able to make the actual movie. And in a way it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because you need six hours to tell this story. Two hours wouldn't do it justice so I play Nancy Jax, a colonel, a pathologist at U. Samrid. United States -- United States infectious disease -- shoot. Too early in the morning. United States army infectious disease institute something like that. You got it. Close enough. But usamrid, she's there and there's a monkey house in reston, Virginia, and she -- think think these monkeys have simian fever which is common in monkeys. I didn't know if anyone -- I didn't know this but 40,000 monkeys are imported into the United States every year. 40,000? 40,000. Wow. And oftentimes they contract -- they get diseases and usually it's simian fever which is containable and a lot of times some of these monkeys die and then they have to separate the monkeys. Anyway, she gets a weird package and it's -- looks like a monkey's liver and she goes into the biohazard level four lab that rolls off the tongue easily and she says something is wrong. This isn't simian fever and she realizes it's ebola. This was so terrifying at the time. Thank goodness. We'll show you a little bit of it. Hey, you need to be straight with me. Can you do this? Welcome to the hot zone. You got to spend some time with her. What did she think of it. I got to spend time with nanny and was so grateful to her because she's a busy lady and truly an American hero. She stopped 6 million people from dying. Ebola will wipe out a village and she was fighting the CDC because they didn't believe -- they didn't want a panic people so they didn't want this to get out and Nancy did it quietly and she sadly had to euthanize 400 monkeys, but in order to do that, you have to -- you're putting your-at risk because if there is a tear in your suit, you get it through fluid, so anything can happen and it's a sort of life and death situation every day but Nancy -- so those hazmat suits were the bane of my existence. They are -- you see in the clip on the back there's those two -- those are fans that keep it ventilated so when you're in them you actually can't hear anything. All you hear is rrrr and I'm saying things like immunofluorescent. It's like writing a thesis with a jackhammer going on next door so you'd have to really focus because it's all scientific lingo and I would text her at the end of the day saying I can't -- how did you manage in these hazmat suits. I can't stand plus I'm claustrophobic so it was all a nightmare. And she said, oh, that was my happy place. Her happy place, no one can bother her. She's doing her work. It's her passion. It's her -- this is what she was put on the Earth to do. Truly is a hero. Yeah. I'm glad she was. Glad she was. Your lines with her, you had a unique way of learning your lines. These lines -- I've been doing this for so long and I was on "E.R." And "The good wife" and would have nine-page summations and would learn them in bed which my husband would say don't bring your work to bed. Dude, this is the only way they're going in here is if I look at them, you know, just before but to sleep. With these lines because I was constantly -- I had to also technically be doing what they did in the lab, plus I had this crazy hazmat suit on where I couldn't focus, so I learned, thank good I shot in Toronto because if I was home my kid would have thought I was insane. I would take my script and I would put my lines all over my hotel room and try and learn them by as I was learning I'd pick up a pen and then I would go and brush my teeth and learn them and go and fold my laundry and I just had to put them everywhere and keep moving while learning because if you learn them still, the second there's a distraction, they're out of your so when you're saying things like immunofluoresce, that was the only way I could learn my lines and I was sort of like a little monkey. Yeah. Well, we're happy -- this is a great story and happy you are telling it because it needs to be told and national geographic's "The hot zone" premieres Monday, may 27thment make sure you guys check it out.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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