"I try to be conscious about what I do and how I do it, and saving my paper, and recycling," says "Smash" star Anjelica Huston, an ardent animal activist who was named PETA's Person of the Year for her efforts on behalf of animals, chimpanzees in particular. "I was just in Palm Beach, Florida, where we have a sanctuary for the chimpanzees that were kept in labs in New Mexico and for the space program. It's really made so much of a difference to hundreds, literally hundreds, of chimpanzees across America," says Huston. "It's quite fantastic."

"Smash," which returns to NBC Feb. 5, follows the behind-the-scenes story of a Marilyn Monroe musical called "Bombshell." This season introduces new characters for a plot about the launching of an edgier rock musical and features guest appearances by Jennifer Hudson (in an arc as a Broadway star) and Liza Minnelli.

Huston portrays producer Eileen Rand, and muses that it's more fun and easier to play a producer than be one. "I'm having a great time with my character. It's an opportunity to play a strong woman who has balls. She's a go-getter. She's having to go to her quite unpleasant ex‑husband to help facilitate getting 'Bombshell' on the road to Broadway. I'm playing Eileen on quite a few levels," she continues. "I also have her personal life, which is in a bit of a shambles since she fell in love with the nefarious bartender. I like that she's a woman of a certain age who's still putting herself out there, and that she has an optimistic heart and isn't afraid to get out there and fight for what she believes in. But I think she's probably braver than I am, and she certainly puts her money where her mouth is. She's maybe a bit more honest than I am but she's quite a lot like me. There's a certain amount of poetic license that I draw on and I use certain template combinations of Sue Mengers, Sherry Lansing, Paula Weinstein, all of the great female producers that I know from film."

The star of films including "The Addams Family," "The Grifters" and Oscar winner for "Prizzi's Honor" is relishing her TV experience: "For eight months out of the year it's very hard work, but at the same time, it gives you the opportunity to explore a character in a way that you don't on film." She has one unfulfilled wish, however. "I love to dance," says Huston. "I hope they let me dance a little."

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Anjelica Huston saves chimps
PETA Person of the Year returns in musical series 'Smash'.