Hugh Laurie Interview on NPR Fresh Air

Interesting interview with Hugh Laurie on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. It’s weird hearing him in his English accent for a lengthy interview; I’ve only heard him in short snippets before.

On directing Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson):

But I also do – I defer to others. You know, if I’m doing a scene with Robert Sean Leonard – he’s a man I would put my life in his hands, and almost have on occasion. And I would say to him, you know, did that seem all right to you, and he will definitely say not quite, or he’ll say yes.

On the decision to end House M.D:

Yes, I did have a vote, although it never really came to that, you know, the paper, scissors, stone moment. It was a sort of consensus that we had run our course. And it occurred to me the other day that I suppose one of the problems is that the character is so inherently self-destructive, to the point of being virtually suicidal. A person cannot be a character – a fictional character cannot sustain that suicidal tension indefinitely. You can’t have a man on a window ledge threatening to jump forever. At some point, he’s either got to jump or get back into the building because the crowd below, who are either urging him to jump or not jump, eventually will lose interest.

On his father, who actually was a doctor:

I think – well, first of all, with great affection obviously, but also I think my father gave me, bequeathed to me a great reverence for medical science. He was about as opposite to the personality of House as one could imagine. He was the most polite and gentle and easygoing of men, and would have gone to great lengths to make his patients feel attended to and heard and sympathized with. And he probably would have been somewhat horrified at House’s behavior, but at the same time he had a sort of steely honesty about medical and psychological truth, that there are certain things – one must be humble in the face of facts. And he was not someone who would allow sentiment to cloud an issue.

On playing an American character:

The great trap for non-American actors trying to play Americans, I think, is to start thinking of American-ness as a characteristic. It isn’t. It is no more a character trait than height. It is just a physical fact and that’s all there is to it. It says nothing about the psychology of a character, and you therefore have to not let it overpower the character and walk – you know, I’m going to walk around in an American way. That’s obviously absurd.

You can listen or download the interview here:


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