Actor Tom Ellis gets to dive into the psyche of Dr. William P. Rush each week on USA’s drama Rush, acting as a “medical fixer” of sorts to LA’s rich and famous. But do real-life Rush’s exist? Tom thinks so!
OK!: What drew you to Rush?
Tom Ellis: It was a script that when I first read it was a lot different than the other pilot scripts I had been reading and I found that by about page three I was like, “I really want to play this guy.” I said I’m going to make a tape tomorrow, I’m going to make the best tape I can and I’ll send it off and see what happens. And for some reason after I made the tape I thought, “I think I’m going to hear from them. I don’t know why.” Within 24 hours I got a call from Jonathan Levine saying, “I love it. I want you to do it.” He was like, “Let me convince the studio.” We got on Skype the next day and he directed me and that was it.
OK!: Initially there are the inevitable comparisons to House because Rush is also a quick-thinking, genius doctor. How do you feel they’re different?
TE: In a nutshell I think House was about medical conditions and I think Rush is about the human condition. Rush is a doctor and that’s part of the show but that’s not what the show is about. The show is about Rush as a man and he’s a doctor as well. It’s a serialized drama about his life and where he’s at in life and his relationships. It’s pretty dark and pretty out there because of the path that he’s chosen.
OK!: As you filmed the first season, what’s something you learned about Rush that surprised you?
TE: I think one of the things I was really keen to do, because I really appreciate when I first read it that he’s this guy who’s able to able to use humor as a device to kind of deflect, but I was really interested in tapping into his soul and what does he actually want and why has he made the decisions he has to shut off socially but really shut off in terms of his emotions, just take a rain check on caring. To make someone like that still loveable I had to find a way to empathize with him or understand his decisions. The layers will be peeled away but then he’ll just put them back on.
OK!: You filmed Rush in Vancouver, as a dad how do you keep in touch with your daughters?
TE: We do FaceTime basically, that’s how we get through. It’s tough, I’m not going to lie. Being away from my kids is really tough. I’m hoping I’m investing in their pride as their father.
OK!: Do you think anything like this is really going on in LA?
TE: The truth is the initial idea for the first script came about because our producers were out having dinner at a well-known hotel in LA and they were friends with the manager there. One of their friends was quite obviously in discomfort suffering from back pain and the manager of the hotel said, “Do you want someone to get you something?” And he said, “I’m going to see my doctor,” and he said, “Oh no, we’ve got a guy. He can come down now.” And I’ve been contacted by a few people since the show came out who say there is more truth to this than you know.
Rush airs Thursdays at 9/8c on USA.
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