Amber Tamblyn Talks ‘House’ Role & Working On The Set

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 9th, 2013 at 1:00 am,

House fans are ecstatic that their favorite series is finally returning from its brief hiatus. Fortunately, when the series returns, there will be a wonderful, new addition to the cast.

Complimenting House’s team, all while annoying the can-wielding diagnostician, will be Amber Tamblyn playing the literal genius med student Martha Masters. Tamblyn will be a reoccurring character throughout the season. While no specific number of episodes have been revealed, she is still currently filming the series as of this week.

Today, Tamblyn participated in a conference call to discuss her upcoming role in the series, where she revealed that the character of Martha Masters is actually based off of her best friend, who just happens to be a genius med student. Not only that, but Tamblyn also discussed her first day on the set of House (joining a series that has an extremely close-knit cast), and what viewers can expect to see from her character when two geniuses, Martha and House, have it out in Princeton Plainsboro.

If you happened to glance at the extremely chaotic, yet informative You Ask, We Answer: House Season 7 ‘Office Politics’ & ‘A Pox On Our House’ feature, you’ll know how much I truly enjoyed Amber Tamblyn guest starring on the show. Although, after an extremely nice conversation with Fox and House executive producer Greg Yaitanes, I decided to stop “discussing” just how much I enjoyed her episodes.

While you won’t be able to see Tamblyn’s premiere until next Monday, her comments below, combined with our previous feature about the series, are more than enough to hold you over. If not, just take some Interferon and everything will be ok.

On what research she did for the show:

I didn’t do any medical research. I did episode by episode research. So, if something was involving Small Pox, then I would look that up. If there was a specific word that I didn’t know – which was 90% of the words – I would look up that and see what it meant. As far as the on-set training; when you’re trying to do something like draw blood or I.V.’s, there’s a woman there, who is incredible. She used to be a nurse for many, many years and she does all the teaching. That’s the training. There was no reading anything beforehand.

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How Martha Masters came to be and how the character is based on her real-life best friend:

The character of Martha Masters was originally just an idea. David Shore and Katy Jacobs had come to me and said, “Hey, we want to write a character for you. Are you interested?” I said, “Yes!” Then, it wasn’t until I signed on to do a bunch of episodes that I finally got to see the script. It was a very personal thing to me because my character is based on my real-life best friend, who is a med student and whose real name is Martha Masters. In fact, they made her sign a release that she wouldn’t sue Fox. It’s pretty hilarious.

She is a med student and she’s very much like this character. I’m not saying anything out-of-turn or mean about her, but she’s incredibly brilliant, but sometimes she can be very socially awkward. So, I think the fact that David Shore still has never met the real Martha Masters and has written this character so much like her is just amazing.

What made joining House so appealing:

The main thing was, of course, Hugh Laurie. I’ve never seen the show before, but as soon as they came to me and said that they wanted to write something for me, I went “I don’t know if I want to do a medical show.” Then, I started asked my friends and they all went, “Are you in idiot, it’s not a medical show. Have you ever seen it?” I went, “No.” I felt very stupid for ever thinking that.

So, I rented a bunch of the seasons and was really blown away. It’s not just Hugh, but it is him. It’s the idea that you learn so much about these doctors and these characters not through long monologues about their backstory or through their life or what they’ve been through. You learn about them based on how they’re tested in their work environment. So, you put them in certain environment and it creates a certain type of person and that’s how you learn who they are. To me, I think that’s incredibly interesting and very smart writing. I think that’s a great way to create a character. So, I felt like I was in good hands to have a character written for me by David Shore.

What the first day working on the set was like:

The first day was a lot of fun. We had a lot of the diagnosis dialogue where we’re sitting around the office and throw ideas around. It’s a lot of dialogue and can be really difficult. That was my first couple of days, actually. But, it was really fun and sitting next to everybody really closely, you get to know them. It was great, it was almost too easy. I wish I had some crazy story about how mean someone was, but it’s nothing like that.

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What it’s like joining a currently running series:

I wish I had some crazy story about how mean Jesse Spencer was to me or something, but I just fell right into it naturally. Maybe they were even relieved because I can imagine being such a well-oiled machine like that and you have someone come it and possibly slow it down. It can be frustrating, I don’t know. We just sort of really clicked instantly, all of us.

I’ve always preferred working with a large group of guys… I think it’s because I don’t have any brothers and I talk like a dude and I cuss alot. It’s really fun because I get to play around with them and it’s really enjoyable.

Continue to hints about Martha’s story arch…

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

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What we’ll see/learn about Martha has the season progresses:

I think you’re going to see someone who has been so much in the world of academia and the world of knowledge – and accumulating knowledge – that she really never progressed or matured in a social sense. So, you’re going to see someone that has a hard time communicating on some of the most basic levels.

Which I think is common for people who are highly, highly intelligent, functioning people. I think Martha may even have Asperger’s. That’s something that we’ve talked about. I know that Hugh’s character does. So, it’s potentially like she’s a young version of him. Only, she believes so strongly in the ethics of truth telling, to the point of a fault. Just in the same way that [House] believes so much in lying, to a fault. So, the two of them have really instinctive ideas about how to get to the same thing.

I think you’re going to see her try to come into the real world, for the first time, and it’s going to be really intense for her.

What aspects that she enjoys most about Martha:

I love the fact that she’s so filled with non sequiturs. When Martha is not talking about the scientific or medical things, when she’s trying to talk to someone about like her life, it just comes out in non sequitur sentences and really bad, poorly judged metaphors. I love her awkwardness. How incredibly awkward she is. It just gives the character so much potential to grow.

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How she would compare herself to Martha:

I wouldn’t, actually. I think because she’s sort of a homage to my very, very good friend Martha in real-life. I think I know her so well that I can put a lot of that into it. She and I are not very similar in certain ways. I am more dumb and instinctual and Martha is hyper intelligent and not instinctual at all about anything.

Memorable moments on the set of House:

There’s so many, but they’re so tiny. I love the fact that Omar Epps is always getting “food truck” for everybody. It’s very great for our crew. They’re always bringing food on the set, like special things. It’s like a very happy and great atmosphere. Omar will always go, “Hey, Amber. I’m going to go get something from Rock Sugar, do you want something?” and we’ll end up getting a huge thing of food for everybody. It’s a very, very friendly crew and cast.

On her false impressions of being medically inclined:

It’s very fast-paced and you get very good at doing [medical procedures]. So I feel like if something happens to one of my friends, I might be able to actually help – which is really dumb and a not smart thing to think, but I do think that way. I could probably give CPR now.

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Whether she has any scenes with Wilson and how the real-life actors compare to their characters:

I have not done one scene with Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson). I did a scene where I pulled House out of his office and we just looked at each other, it was kind of funny. I only did two scenes with Lisa Edelstein. Individually, each of those actors are their own characters, too. Peter Jacobson, Omar Epps, Jesse Spencer. They’re real-life characters of themselves and they’re really great people, all three of them, and Hugh.

On whether Martha is a young version of Cuddy:

So far, Lisa and I only had [two scenes in episode 6] and one other scene that we just shot a couple of days ago.

I do think Martha is a young Cuddy, an extremist version of Cuddy. I think that’s why she brought Martha on. I believe House even says that. I remind Cuddy of herself.

Lisa is amazing. She’s funny, very health oriented. I’m learning a lot of health things from her. She’s a very interesting woman and incredibly gorgeous. I mean, she’s gorgeous onscreen, but in real life she’s the real deal. Her skin is insanely flawless.

On what it’s like working with Hugh and how House and Martha will get along:

It was absolutely delicious. I annoy him and fascinate him. The two characters both annoy and fascinate each other. I think House probably even seems a little of himself in her. Expect the opposite. He’s usually mean and she’s usually overly nice. Both make for funny television.

-

House airs Monday @8pm, on Fox

Follow me on Twitter @anthonyocasio

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  1. The whole super I.Q , genius thing is a big turn off for me .The I know every thing plus the ethic part is just a boring combination .Why didn’t they write her as a regular person joining House’s team to learn how to diagnose cases ? Wasn’t that the point of joining the diagnostic team in the first place ?It was what made the interaction between House & his team during diagnostic interesting .
    If she is a medical genius like House what does that leave for the rest of the team now really ? become listenners to the two of them bouncing back ideas & do what she refuses to do ? Lie to patients & break into their homes?
    And what is with the young version of House & Cudy thing ? They better not make her their secret daughter from a past one night stand between them & cudy decided to introduce her to House now because he is less insane. Because if so , I would so regret the day I started watching the show .

    If she is a medical genius like House , then what does that leave for the rest of the team really ?become Listeners to the two geniuses bouncing back ideas & doing the things she refuses to do, lie to patients & break into their homes?
    And what is with the whole young version of cudy & house thing ? They better not making her their secret daughter from a past one night stand between them & cudy decided it’s time to introduce her to him because he is less insane now , because if so I would so regret the day I started watching the show.

  2. I’ll wait and see what she adds to the show, but personally I think there are enough cast members already and more to learn about them. On the other hand, if it means less Huddy, I am all for it!

  3. Late post here, but seeing tonight’s episode and how it looks like the end for her character, I wish she were a permanent character!!! She’s my favorite next to House.

  4. She all but ruined the show for me, which is saying a lot, because it’s just about the only TV show I watch and enjoy.