USA’s latest offering, ROYAL PAINS, premieres tonight, and I’m so excited for you all to finally see it! Mark Feuerstein, who you know from GOOD MORNING MIAMI, IN HER SHOES, and ONCE AND AGAIN, is so likeable as Dr. Hank Lawson – he is a rising star at hospital who quickly sees his career going down the toilet thanks to a decision he made with his heart, rather than his wallet. In the slightly meandering first 15 minutes of tonight’s extended pilot, Hank wallows in self pity, with no job, and no prospects. His sarcastic brother Evan (played by Paulo Costanzo, JOEY, and who will be tomorrow’s featured ROYAL PAINS interview, followed every day by someone new until next week’s premiere) shows up to infuse much needed life into both Hank and the series.
From there, the Lawson men head to The Hamptons for a leisurely weekend away. At various times throughout the weekend, Hank is called on to act as doctor for this elite society, effectively becoming a “concierge doctor” who is there to serve at the community’s beck and call. Strapped with a gorgeous assistant named Divya (Reshma Shetty, Saturday’s interview), and an ally who he butts heads with at the big hospital named Jill (Jill Flint, Tuesday’s inteview), he forges ahead with plans to take the leap and embrace his surroundings.
On the set of the show last week, where I and a few of my old and new friends took a tour and met with the cast and crew, there was a chance to sit and talk with Mark about this show – why he loves it, why your parents will love it, the support of USA, and just about everything else under the sun!
So, should we just start with you telling us about your character?
Sure. That’s an easy way to begin. All right. So, I am playing Hank Lawson. And my character is, at the beginning of the pilot, a doctor in an ER in Brooklyn. And he’s playing hoops with a bunch of neighborhood kids. And one of them drops down. I don’t know how many of you have seen the pilot.
We all have.
Oh, you all have? Okay. So, you know the show. I’m not going to bore you with telling you a synopsis of a show that you’ve already seen.
I guess the conflict of Hank is that he’s somewhat—I mean there’s one thing that you don’t know from the pilot, which is that in his past, his father lost all the family money in the stock market. And they had to downsize from a nice house in maybe Passaic, New Jersey to a little two-bedroom apartment, and so money is fraught for Hank. And so now he’s got to take care of rich people while resenting them too.
And so as the show evolves, he by force of will, kind of ends up taking care of people who are not so rich as well, which was this perfect kind of marriage of a note from the studio and the character himself, because this note—I don’t know if anybody talked about this yet, but there was a note came down from on high in the middle of the writing of the first episode after the pilot from—when I say on high, I’m referring to Bonnie Hammer and Jeff Zucker. (more…)
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