Naomi Watts Felt 'Deep, Deep Pain' for Gretchen Carlson While Preparing for 'The Loudest Voice'

Naomi explained to PEOPLE (The TV Show!) Special Contributor Gretchen Carlson what it was like to portray her in the Showtime mini-series

Naomi Watts is opening up to Gretchen Carlson about her role in Showtime's mini-series, The Loudest Voice, in which she portrayed the former Fox News host.

During Thursday's appearance on PEOPLE (The TV Show!), Watts, 52, explained to Carlson, 54, what it is was like to portray her in their first public interview since the limited series' premiere in 2019.

"Well, first of all, I want to comment that this is all quite odd because I spent hours looking at you, scrutinizing your every move and hearing every word — really just trying to absorb every little piece of story that might help support getting this character underway," Watts told Carlson, who is now a special contributor for PEOPLE (The TV Show!).

The Loudest Voice followed the rise to power of late former Fox News chief Robert Ailes, who abruptly exited his post at the network following multiple allegations of sexual harassment in 2016.

Starring Russell Crowe as Ailes, the seven-parter also chronicled the sexual harassment lawsuit Carlson filed against the CEO.

Naomi Watts, Gretchen Carlson
Gretchen Carlson (left); Naomi Watts in The Loudest Voice (right). GETTY; SHOWTIME

On Thursday's episode of PEOPLE (The TV Show!), Carlson — who couldn't participate in The Loudest Voice's production due to a non-disclosure agreement — asked Watts about the "most challenging aspect" of her role in the series.

"There were some moments that just gave me the creeps," the actress replied. "There were definitely some grizzly moments where I felt deep, deep pain for you and all the other women whose stories you unlocked."

Watts told Carlson, "You were very responsible for unlocking, so we still thank you for being courageous and brave like that."

During her interview, Watts also spoke the experience of playing a role that longtime friend Nicole Kidman had also portrayed in the 2019 movie Bombshell.

"It was definitely odd and something we discussed," she said. "But yeah, we cheered each other on."

the loudest voice
Russell Crowe and Naomi Watts in The Loudest Voice. SHOWTIME

Carlson first met Watts in June 2019 at the red carpet premiere of The Loudest Voice. At the time, Carlson raved to PEOPLE about having someone with Watts' caliber play her on the TV screen.

"I feel like I've known [Watts] forever," Carlson said. "I've watched her interviews, I was told how much research she put into the project. So, I'm just really happy that an actress of such high caliber decided to take on this role."

Since then, the two have become friends — with Carlson and Watts sitting together at the 2020 Golden Globes.

"Gretchen was the first, she was the pioneer and that took unimaginable courage," Watts wrote in an Instagram post in August 2019. "Before there was #MeToo, Gretchen was taking an incredible stand for herself. And since, has led the way for so many others. Taking on Goliath took a lot of courage… She lost her job, she lost her chosen career, her identity and she was pushed away, undermined and undervalued. But she endured it and came out stronger in the end."

"As women we owe her a debt of gratitude," Watts added. "I sure as hell do."

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