Fresh from her win at the People’s Choice awards, the beautiful voice of reason on House, Lisa Edelstein, took some time today to talk to the press about what fans can expect in the second half House’s seventh season.
Now that Candice Bergen has joined the series as Cuddy’s mothers, viewers will be provided with a more in-depth look at what makes the character of Cuddy tick. As the Cuddy matriarch sets to make her return to the series, she’ll be bringing along Cuddy’s sister. As Edelstein says, “it’ll be very, very messy.”
On top of that, Edelstein took time to discuss the intricacies of filming the fan-favorite House season 7 premiere, what the future holds for House and Cuddy’s relationship, working with Candice Bergin, the character of Cuddy and so much more.
In total, the entire conversation ran around 30 minutes, here are some of the highlights:
On what she would have said if someone told her in season 1 or 2 that House and Cuddy would become a couple in season 7:
I wouldn’t have been surprised. I thought I saw it in the pilot, but then it just didn’t become a story. I just felt like they have a complicated relationship and if the show lasted long enough, it would be a relationship worth exploring. If [someone] told me that House and Cuddy would be getting together in season 6 or season 7, I would have been more [surprised] that we had a season 7 – that’s probably more shocking than anything else.
On what it’s like for her and Hugh to portray such an intimate relationship on screen:
We know each other really quite well now. We’ve been working together for over 7 years, which in our line of work is like dog years – it’s like 49 years. I really feel like our friendship as people – as we got to know each other better – this kind of intimacy between the characters was an easier thing to do than if it started with day 1 and just kind of jumped in and pretended to know each other. It’s been great. If there’s anybody that I would have to be intimate with on camera, I'd want to have it be someone I knew and trust as much as I do Hugh.
How it was like filming the House season 7 premiere:
It was more like a play; it felt more like a play. It felt very intimate and the writers felt – and I certainly agreed – that you couldn’t just get these two characters together and just go on like [everything was] normal right away. You have to take this moment and experience these two people together, and then get back to the hospital stuff and House stuff.
They really thought about it long and hard. They went down several different roads trying to figure out how to handle it and that’s where they ended up - at this very intimate, play-like episode where you’re just with these two people alone, experiencing intimacy and friendship.
Where the relationship between House and Cuddy is headed:
I think they’re very two complicated people, who really want to be together. Whether or not they can is another thing, but they’re going to try as hard as they can.
On what it’s like working with Candice Bergen:
Candice is amazing. She’s an incredibly bright woman, which I think just shines right through all the dialogue. She’s really fun to work with. I was really happy to be on set with her just historical, because I’ve grown up watching her.
It was really fun pushing the envelope, in terms of the fictional part of our lives, and getting to see what it would be like for House to deal with a very pushy mom. I think – having met the character of Cuddy’s mom – I get why she would be able to tolerate someone like House.
How has Cuddy changed since the beginning of the series:
According to David Shore, “Characters don’t change, they get unveiled” … and become more complicated in terms of how the viewers perceive them and how the writers write them. When you sign on to a show, you are – as an actor – hired to perform something that came out of the writer's imagination. As the show goes on, how you perform affects how the writer imagines the character -it becomes a melding of the two.
Of course, it’s always David Shore’s characters, it’s always his stories – he controls the world, he controls all the puppets - but rhythm and humor and all those things kind of become embellished when you put an actor in the part – any actor – and it would be no matter who plays the role.
I think just because the show has matured, the characters have to become more complicated, more real, make different choices and to have life experiences that take them on a journey. In essence, they don’t ever really change.
What the atmosphere is like on set:
We’re not pranksters, we have too much to do. There are a lot of great wits on this crew – some very smart, very disturbed people that work together. It’s a lot of fun because we like each other. If the scene is very heavy, you have to take your time away to concentrate and stay in that space and the lighter scenes are always more fun and playful.
On what it was like having an episode centered around Cuddy:
I had a great time… not just because the show was about my character. It was really fun for me to be the person that’s on the set the most, setting the pace and atmosphere on stage, because you really are responsible for that when you’re there the most. If you have an attitude or you’re tired, it kind of drags everything down. It's fun to have that responsibility and I loved doing it. I loved it. I loved it. But, boy, Hugh must be exhausted.
On what Cuddy’s clothes say about her:
She’s very controlling, so she wears very structured outfits. Her life is very restricted. She really is all work and very little play - she can’t even run fast in those skirts. I like how everything she wears just holds her in. She just doesn’t have great freedom. She’s also a woman and lives most of her life out at the hospital, so she uses that time to feel sexy and beautiful.
On whether there will be another Cuddy-focused episodes in the future:
I haven’t the faintest idea, they don’t tell me things like that. I didn’t even find out about [the previous] Cuddy episode until a couple of weeks before hand.
On what it was like visiting an actual hospital:
Last year, I got to observe this really cool surgery and I had a really great time doing it. A lot of the doctors watch the show, so they’re very excited about having [me] around. I really love biology and it was so interesting, observing. It reminded me more of Nip/Tuck than House, but it was great.
On why people continue to tune in:
It’s the magic bullet isn’t it? I’m so happy about it. I can only thank David Shore and Hugh Laurie and just be thankful for the ride. It’s so arbitrary what makes it and what doesn’t. We had the luxury of being on after American Idol, when we started. Our first six episodes, we were on our own and we would have been canceled if it were any other network, because we didn’t have [much of an] audience. As soon as American Idol started that season, we got 28 million eyeballs on our show - it was an incredible thing. A lot of those people stuck with us.
What does Cuddy do for House and what does House do for Cuddy:
There’s a great history there and, as you get older, that is a really important thing to have with somebody – a sense of time having passed, problems having been conquered, truths having been faced.
For him, she is someone that he trusts. He knows that she wants the best for him, he knows that she’ll tell him when things have gone too far… and then he’ll decide on his own if he wants to listen, but she’s definitely someone that he trusts.
For her, I think it’s his intelligence and brilliance that really excites her. Getting attention from a man like that is not an easy thing to achieve and having achieved it, I think there’s a rush of excitement. Whether or not he’s ultimately someone that she can trust is something that he’ll have to prove.
On how House and Cuddy’s relationship compares to the other “will they” or “won’t they” relationships currently on television:
I don’t think that the show was centered around “will they or won’t they,” so that gives you a lot more freedom to play with “will” or “won’t.” It doesn’t rely on them never getting together. It really is a show about House and his journey and in his journey, he’s had a series of relationships on the show that he’s explored and learned from… and this is one of those – this is his path.