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House Interview: Lisa Edelstein Says Hugh Laurie is a Good Kisser!

by Lynn DeVries on May 4, 2009 · 0 comments

in House MD,Interviews

Lisa Edelstein
[Photo: © 2009 FOX Broadcasting Co.]

I finally got the entire conference call interview with House star Lisa Edelstein ready for you. As you’ll see when you read it, she was as funny and lively as ever, but had to be a bit guarded about the storylines and the Huddy relationship in general.

I was both thrilled and surprised to get to ask my questions first. (You all had such great questions!! Thanks!!) I actually cheated, since they told us we were only allowed one or two questions. But thankfully, they didn’t scold me, since I tried to frame it that some questions were from you readers and one was from me. :-)

I hope you enjoy it:

L. DeVries: I did something kind of fun and I posted the question for my readers, asking them to let me know what they wanted you to tell them the most. The number one thing my readers want to know is about the House and Cuddy hookup scene. They want to know what it was like to film a sex scene with a long-time colleague and they also want to know if he was a good kisser.

Lisa Edelstein: [laughs] It was great. I wouldn’t complain.

L. DeVries: How many takes did you have to do to get it right?

L. Edelstein: We did probably about five takes. Yes, probably about five takes. We didn’t really do it for that long, but it was more a question of making sure the cameras wanted to capture a lot of different things. But you know, I have a great friendship with Hugh and he’s super sexy, so who could complain about kissing him?

L. DeVries: Really. Rough duty.

L. Edelstein: Yes. Exactly.

L. DeVries: Now here’s a personal question I want to know. How much of Cuddy is a result of the writing and directing and how much of the character is your creation?

L. Edelstein: I think initially it’s, of course, just the writers and then eventually you sink into the character, aspects of your personality that suit the character start to shine and the writers become inspired by the Cuddy that you portray. That takes over the Cuddy that they originally have in their minds, so it’s really a marriage of the two.

L. DeVries: You have a huge fan base and they’re all begging for you to get involved in Twitter. Do you think you will?

L. Edelstein: No. [laughs]

L. DeVries: Oh, darn.

L. Edelstein: I don’t understand Twitter at all.

M. Mitovitch [TV Guide]: So, was the sex good?

L. Edelstein: Apparently.

M. Mitovitch: As evidenced by…?

L. Edelstein: As evidenced by, well, you’re not going to see me get naked or anything, but it was a pretty hot scene.

M. Mitovitch: And then what can you tell about the season finale as far as the Carl Reiner character? How does Cuddy get involved in that story line? She kind of like forces House to, I don’t know, hang out with this guy. What’s the story there?

L. Edelstein: Yes. I think she thinks it will be an amusing thing to push this guy on House. It was great fun working with Carl Reiner, by the way. How exciting. He’s legendary. We had a lot of fun. The story line is great and touching and I think he does a wonderful job, although I haven’t seen anything. I’ve just seen what I experienced with him in the room.

C. Borzillo-Vrenna [E! On-line]: So there are lots of good rumors out there about what’s going to happen with Cuddy next. I think the latest thing we’ve heard was that you might end up pregnant with twins.

L. Edelstein: Oh, really?

C. Borzillo-Vrenna: What do you make of that? Is that close to the truth? What can you say?

L. Edelstein: I guess I can start eating spaghetti again. I haven’t the faintest idea. I have not heard anything to that effect.

C. Borzillo-Vrenna: What would you like to see happen though?

L. Edelstein: I don’t know that Cuddy should be wandering around the hospital carrying twins. I’m not sure that that’s really the House that everyone knows as a show, but it’s pretty funny that that’s the rumor.

I. Rudolph [TV Guide Magazine]: Can Cuddy and House be more than a passing comfort to each other? I mean why is a smart, accomplished woman so ga-ga over such a messed up misanthrope? I guess that’s two questions.

L. Edelstein: I don’t think it’s a passing thing. I think it’s been going on for a long time whether or not they’ve acted out on it. I don’t necessarily think it will ever be a satisfying relationship in terms of both of them kind of settling in and saying this is what we’re doing, but she has a complicated relationship with men it seems. She likes the screwed up ones. I totally relate.

I. Rudolph: What will having sex finally do to the relationship?

L. Edelstein: [laughs] Well, you’ll have to find out.

I. Rudolph: Will we find out anything in the finale?

L. Edelstein: Yes.

I. Rudolph: About how it’s changed?

L. Edelstein: Yes.

J. Halterman []: What was your reaction when Kal Penn announced he was leaving and the way they wrote out his character? How did you feel about all of that?

L. Edelstein: We were all taken by surprise. They really kept it under wraps until the actual episode came out. From then on in, for the rest of the season, they were top secret scripts. We were given one copy of the script, the daily sides that we got; you know, you have these sides that are just the scenes for the day that you’re shooting. Usually they’re kind of floating around the stage and you grab them and you lose them and you grab another pair and you lose them, but this time they all had our names on them. We had to return them at the end of the day. It was all very top secret, very hush-hush.

But I’m happy for Kal. I think it’s a really bold move. He has a passion for politics and certainly for the Obama administration. I think it’s an incredible thing. It’s very brave. It’s hard enough being an actor, let alone walking away from being a successful one.

Although, I have a feeling that if he wanted back in, his career would be waiting for him on the other side.

J. Halterman: What are you doing for your hiatus? Are you going to be doing some work with Best Friends in your time off?

L. Edelstein: I’m mostly traveling. We work ten months out of the year and so, having two months off, which, last year wasn’t really what happened because we were all on strike and it was very nerve wracking, so having two months to myself, if I’m not doing a film or something like that I just want to see the world. I just came back from Asia and now I’m going to go to New York and then to Europe and just kind of feel my freedom as much as possible.

D. Martindale [Hearst newspapers]: We’ve talked a few times, including the first time during the first season, only a few episodes in. You told me at that time that people who would meet you, people watching the show during that first season, they would accuse you of being mean to House.

L. Edelstein: Yes.

D. Martindale: Which I find fascinating, because it goes to show how people can perceive things in a skewed way, because House is the mean one. Always has been; always will be. My question is, are there still viewers out there who think that you’re the mean one to that nice Dr. House or have they figured that out?

L. Edelstein: The people that talk to me are usually the people that are really into the House/Cuddy dynamic. I think if they’re not into it they just leave me alone, so no, I don’t get that so much any more. I think part of it too is when you start a series the characters are all really broadly drawn. As the series goes on you get more specific and more nuanced in both, writing and performance because everybody is getting to know each other. So you get these kind of; what’s the word I’m looking for; there’s a word for it; I’ve completely blanked on the word, but you get these characters that are representative of I’m the arch enemy. I’m the good guy. I’m the pretty girl. Do you know what I mean?

It’s kind of uncomplicated when it begins and I think whether or not I was playing it that way, that was kind of the position that people put me in in their minds; the one that says no. She always yelled at him.

D. Martindale: I don’t think you ever twirled your mustache on the show …

L. Edelstein: [laughs] No. I definitely shave it off.

D. Martindale: There you go. But this season there were, I think, two episodes in particular where Cuddy was mean to House and then he was nice to her in response. That’s what made me think of it, because she can be mean, but even that was more layered than what you were talking about at the very beginning.

L. Edelstein: Yes. Their relationship is just, like I said, so much more nuanced now. It’s a beautiful, complicated, adult relationship between those two characters and neither person is one thing or another. They’re dynamic individuals and that’s what makes it such a spectacular show to be on, because that’s where all of the characters have gone.

B. Barnett [Blogcritics Magazine]: There is a promo, a promo still from this … that shows Cuddy holding House’s hand while he’s sitting or they’re both sitting on his sofa in, I think, the next episode. He seems like he’s in a lot of pain. Why is she there at his apartment at that moment? Can you give us any insight into that scene?

L. Edelstein: I can’t divulge. I can’t divulge. I don’t want to ruin it.

B. Barnett: We know Cuddy and House’s back story in very broad strokes. She knew who he was when she was a student at university. They had one night together that we learned, I think, back in season three. She hired him when no-one else would. Have you, either by yourself or in consultation with David and Katie and the writers, defined that back story any more? How do you think that they became so close?

L. Edelstein: Well, initially he was kind of legendary in the school she was an undergraduate in and she, I think, was maybe even a little bit obsessed with him and she ended up auditing a class that she knew he would be in. I think he was doing like a brush up class or something and she audited it to kind of check him out, because he was exactly the kind of lunatic she liked.

I relate to her taste in men. I definitely don’t have the best taste in men. I don’t know that intelligence and taste necessarily go hand-in-hand. I think what we’re attracted to in finding a partner is usually something that resolves some complicated piece of our past. For Cuddy it’s House and it always has been.

E. Hodgburg []: I know you don’t really want to tell us much about how it happens, but can you tell us maybe how satisfying it will be for viewers after? Is there going to be any nice time together or basically are they going to go back to ignoring each other like they did after they kissed?

L. Edelstein: [laughs, acting cutely coy] I can’t tell you that.

E. Hodgburg: I thought I’d try.

L. Edelstein: I will say that episode 23 and 24 are really exciting episodes. I’m so excited to see them myself. We had great direction and the writing is really tight and it’s going to be a good one.

E. Hodgburg: Also … haven’t seen Cuddy’s daughter in a while. Is she going to be more in the story line …?

L. Edelstein: I don’t know. I never know what they have planned.

E. Hodgburg: What do you think about Cuddy’s wardrobe?

L. Edelstein: I love Cuddy’s wardrobe.

I tell you, I’ll never wear another pencil skirt again, but I do, I love the wardrobe. I think it’s sexy and chic and edgy for somebody in that position. I love what it says about her; that this is her realm. She lives her entire life in the hospital, so I think it’s great.

T. Rogers []: With the upcoming “Under My Skin” episode, what are some of the hallucinations that House is fearing?

L. Edelstein: Well, we’ve already established that Amber is a big part of what’s happening. She, for some reason, has become the voice of his subconscious and she’s not going away.

T. Rogers: I also wanted to know what was it like working with Carl Reiner for the season finale.

L. Edelstein: It’s Carl Reiner. I mean that’s incredibly cool. He’s great. He’s 87 years old and that guy is showing up to work and doing his thing. He’s hilarious.

T. Rogers: Ton of stories?

L. Edelstein: Yes. I’d actually met him once before at a restaurant, sitting at a table with Mel Brooks. I had to go over and say hello, because I just love both of them. It was a really funny moment. It’s hard to describe on the phone, but it was great to see him again, great to work with him and actually have that kind of experience to talk about for the rest of my life.

T. Rogers: How long do you think it will be before we see a swine flu related episode?

L. Edelstein: Who knows? We’re not shooting right now. We’re finished. We have done pandemic episodes. We did an episode about meningitis where the whole hospital had to be quarantined. Remember that one? It was like season three or something, so we’ve already done that. That’s so ’05. [laughs]

P. Buckley []: What is your favorite moment out of the two episodes that are coming up?

L. Edelstein: Well, certainly I’m not going to complain about the kissing scene. I haven’t seen them yet, so I can’t say, because I don’t know if I’m going to be embarrassed or happy. They were great episodes to shoot. I had a lot of fun and worked really hard. I can’t really tell you much without ruining it.

P. Buckley: For the rest of the season preceding these two episodes what was your favorite moment?

L. Edelstein: There are too many. I loved the episode. It’s another kiss, but I don’t mean to be hard up, like that’s the only time I get kissed, but I loved the way they got House and Cuddy together. I loved it. I loved that she was suffering so much and he was suffering so much and that’s what brought them together initially. I thought that was a beautiful moment of writing.

E. Wilkinson [Give Me My Remote]: I wanted to ask you about the other male character on the show that you kind of spar with, which is Robert Sean Leonard as Wilson. You’re sort of rivals for House’s attention and I was wondering how you play those scenes and how you approach that relationship, because it’s very unusual on TV.

L. Edelstein: It’s interesting that that’s how you perceive it. I don’t feel like they compete for his attention. I feel like they’ve got each other’s back. One kind of knows what the other one’s job is in relationship to manipulating House. They’re good friends. I think they’re really good friends.

E. Wilkinson: Were you sort of affected, the scene where I think Wilson a couple of episodes sort of puts his foot down and maybe it’s an overreaction, but sort of accuses your character’s motivations as being somewhat less than that? I was kind of wondering. That’s kind of where my questions came from … Whether or not you were there for him or whether or not you were sort of being selfish as a character.

L. Edelstein: I’m trying to remember what you’re referencing.

E. Wilkinson: I think it was in reference to you sort of using Wilson to facilitate House and sort of get him out of the way to deal with a problem as an administrator as opposed to a friend.

L. Edelstein: I think, like real, live, human relationships everything is complicated and sometimes we’re doing things for ourselves and sometimes we’re doing things for others. If you’re going to be that tight with two people, meaning her and Wilson and House, you do fall sometimes awry of being actually the most honest person in the world. I think he just calls her out on it, but I think that’s a sign of a healthy relationship more than anything else.

C. Cardoval []: I’m very interested in knowing how the rest of the staff reacts to Cuddy and House being together, because there are no secrets at Princeton-Plainsboro.

L. Edelstein: I think that the rest of the staff is pretty much waiting for them to get together. I don’t think it’s a secret. Sometimes when people have chemistry with each other it’s just so obvious. It’s not like he doesn’t talk about it.

He’s constantly referring to her body and her way and teasing her in front of everybody else. It’s like schoolyard banter. He might as well be chasing her and pulling her braids.

C. Cardoval: But there’s no jealousy between yourself and Cameron?

L. Edelstein: I don’t think Cameron feels jealous. I think Cameron, part of her sees the House/Cuddy relationship as the right thing and maybe a part of her will always have that crush on House, like we all carry a torch for somebody, but no. I think if anything Cuddy worries about Cameron.

J. Medino [Entertainment Weekly]: In this upcoming episode is there any chance that this is a twist? Will the Cuddy and House hookup be some sort of fake-out, a dream sequence or House is delusional or anything like that?

L. Edelstein: [laughs] Well, I mean there’s a chance for anything isn’t there?

J. Medino: There’s nothing specific that you can give me on that?

L. Edelstein: [teasing] No.

So now we just have a few hours to wait for the big episode to air. I’m more excited than for any episode so far this season. Wow!

What did you think of what Lisa had to say? Leave a comment to share your thoughts! :-)

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