Tony Goldwyn remembers the 2001 anthrax scare all too well.
While promoting his upcoming National Geographic series The Hot Zone: Anthrax on People (The TV Show!), Goldwyn, 61, recalled the biological attack that followed 9/11. The plot killed five Americans and sickened 17 others.
"I remember it vividly," Goldwyn told correspondent Sandra Vergara. "I live outside New York City, so three weeks after being traumatized by that, we were — you know, these letters were discovered and people started dying."
The fear altered Goldwyn and his family's lifestyle.
"We didn't open our mail for a month. A postal worker a half hour from where I lived died," he said. "Cipro — the antibiotic you take when you have anthrax poisoning — we put that in our kids' backpacks when they went to school. So, it was vivid."
In the series, Goldwyn plays Dr. Bruce Ivins, the man accused of growing the anthrax spores that proved to be fatal. To fit the role, the actor sported a mustache for six months and cut his hair to resemble the microbiologist, who died by suicide before charges could be filed against him.
"Bruce suffered from some severe mental illness, which he hid," Goldwyn said. "But that really had an impact on our story. I wanted to make sure I got that right. That's why I learned to juggle. Bruce was obsessed with juggling."
The Hot Zone: Anthrax premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on National Geographic. It's the second season of The Hot Zone; the first focused on the Ebola virus.