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Interview with Jamie Bamber and Jennifer Finnigan of
"Monday Mornings" on TNT 1/16/13
Sometimes it's tough with these interviews
not to just spend your whole time fawning all over your
favorite actor. It's a good thing it's only a phone
call because if I actually got to look at Jamie Bamber, I'm
sure I'd just want to stare and drool, and I would not be
able to ask a question at all! Not to mention, he has a
gorgeous accent. All of this is very unprofessional,
of course. I stuck to some good questions, but it was
difficult. Bamber is one of my favorite actors, ever since
he played Apollo on "Battlestar Galactica; but he was also
outstanding on "Law & Order: UK". Jennifer used to play
Bridget on "The Bold & The Beautiful" and was wonderful in
that, and I she has gone on to many great primetime shows. I
hope this show is a success for both of them. I really
enjoyed this call!
Moderator: Brad Bernstein
January 16, 2013 1:30 pm CT
Operator: Good day everyone and welcome to the Turner
Entertainment (hosted) Jamie Bamber and Jennifer Finnigan
conference for Monday Mornings conference call.
Todayís conference is being recorded. To ask a question at
any time today please press the star key followed by the
digit 1. At this time Iíd like to turn the conference over
to Brad Bernstein.
Brad Bernstein: Thank you everyone for joining us today and
thank you to Jamie and Jennifer as well. TNTís newest drama
Monday Mornings will debut on February 4 at 10:00 PM. It
comes from executive producers, David E. Kelley and Dr.
Jamie plays Dr. Tyler Wilson and Jennifer plays Dr. Tina
Ridgeway and we will now open it up to your questions for
Jamie and Jennifer. Thank you!
Operator: Again, star 1 for questions. Weíll go first to
Earl Dittman, Digital Journal Wireless.
Earl Dittman: Hey guys how are you all today?
Jennifer Finnigan: Hey, very good thanks, how are you?
Jamie Bamber: Good, how are you?
Earl Dittman: I have to say, Monday Mornings is one of the
most impressive new shows, if not the best new show, of the
new season. I mean, I was just awe struck.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you, youíre my favorite!
Earl Dittman: Itís incredible. I mean, like I said I used to
worship the alter of ER and thatís as a frame of reference
but I have to say out of looking back at all of the other
kind of medical-based shows this really just kind of takes
the cake for me. Itís really incredible.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you.
Earl Dittman: It really is. I canít rave enough about it
itís just Ė thatís how it just hit me of how good it is.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you.
Earl Dittman: I guess first, Jamie, of course we know you
better from Battlestar Galactica and then Law & Order UK,
Iíll start with you first. What was it about Ė was it pretty
evident that this was pretty special when you first read the
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, it was. It was really three things for
me. When you read David E. Kelleyís name on a script you get
a good feeling, you know that this is going to get a chance,
people are going to give it a chance and then Sanjay Gupta
coupled with that so you have David Kelleyís dramatic
experience and then youíve got Sanjay Gupta the medical
angle and a great communicator in his own right that
everyoneís heard of and youíve got two great authorities
But for me it was about the character in that first episode
because when you read one episode you donít know really what
the series is going to look like but I knew that there was a
really good character that I could get myself and my teeth
into someone who has been blessed with natural confidence
and his own ability whose confidence is shattered in the
very first episode.
So I knew there was massive dramatic potential and I trusted
that David and Sanjay would know how to make more of the
same and it was really those three ingredients.
Earl Dittman: Would you say that itís maybe the most
challenging character youíve played so far? Would that be
fair in saying? For you personally?
Jamie Bamber: I donít know if itís the most challenging, you
know, every character is a challenge, for me the particular
challenge of this guy is the unquestioned confidence with
which he confronts everything that he does. Thatís certainly
not who I am in life and, yeah, so that aspect of it was a
challenge itís always a challenge to sell the idea that Iím
actually a neurosurgeon and I know what to do with all of
these instruments and tools and all of these words. Would I
say Ė I donít know if itís the greatest challenge. I think I
felt more challenge when I started Battlestar just because I
felt very unprepared for the whole American TV machine and I
was trying a new accent on and I donít have any issues with
Earl Dittman: Which you have mastered wonderfully!
Jamie Bamber: Well, I donít know if I mastered it but I
certainly donít have anxiety about it.
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah, heís mastered it.
Jamie Bamber: And I did have anxiety when I started Battle Ė
well, youíre very sweet! So yeah, I felt pretty Ė you know,
I was nervous because of Davidís reputation. Heís a great
producer over here and I didnít want to let myself or him
down so I was definitely apprehensive and nervous but, no,
he was challenged enough, put it that way.
Earl Dittman: All right, well Jennifer real quickly before I
pass you on to somebody else. Same kind of thing, when you
read it what were your feelings?
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah, very similar to Jamie first and
foremost the David Kelley aspect and then the fact that we
had Sanjay backing us and not only that it was based on a
novel and Iíve never played a character that was based on a
novel before. I liked that there was a very clear outline of
who this character was. I liked that I had someone to guide
me if I had any questions and then I think there were a
couple of other ingredients that were important to me as
Iíve wanted to be part of a very strong ensemble for a long
time and I was fortunate enough to do that in comedy in my
last show but I truly was wanting to do that in drama.
And then the other thing being I desperately wanted to work
on a cable show. I think that especially TNT is notorious
for allowing their shows to grow and giving them a chance
and there expectations are more realistic. They also allow a
show to breath, allow the creators to really have their own
space and they donít try to interfere so much they just
really allow the show to grow and to sort of do itís own
thing without trying to poke their heads in andÖ
Earl Dittman: Well look at the Closer. The Closer is a
perfect example of that. I mean, it started off kind of
small and then it just grew into this gigantic animal.
Jennifer Finnigan: Right, and you know thatís something that
networks used to do. I mean, everybody knows the story about
how Cheers used to be, what, Cheers was like number 99 and
then they gave it a couple of years and it was number one
for eight more years.
So, you know, there is something to be said about allowing
audiences to discover a show over time and itís certainly a
blessing for us actors if we get more than a season to
really discover who our characters are and get down deeper
Earl Dittman: Thank you so much. I better let you go and
pass you on to someone else or Iíll have you on the phone
all day. Thanks so much guys, if I catch you next go-round I
appreciate it, but again, great job! Thanks.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you.
Jamie Bamber: Thank you so much. Well said Jen!
Jennifer Finnigan: You too.
Operator: Star 1 for questions. Jamie Steinberg, Starry
Jamie Steinberg: Hi, itís such a pleasure to speak with you
Jennifer Finnigan: Hi, nice to speak to you.
Jamie Steinberg: Hi Jamie, great to speak to you.
Jamie Steinberg: I was wondering if there was anything about
your characters that wasnít originally scripted for you that
youíve added to your roles?
Jennifer Finnigan: Jamie, do you want to take that first?
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, a yellow watch. I added that.
Jennifer Finnigan: And the orange drawstrings?
Jamie Bamber: A yellow wristwatch is me and thatís all I can
say. Maybe my haircut. I think I added the haircut and the
beard. Yeah, I did, actually I did. I brought the hair and I
brought the beard and I picked out a yellow watch strap. But
Jennifer Finnigan: That beard is unpredictable. I never know
how closely youíre going to be trimming that beard from
episode to episode. You really kept me on my toes.
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, I have my own thing going on but, no,
Sanjay really served it up on a plate for me and David
present it to the viewing public and I think that the real
blessing here is that normally as an actor you have to
create your own character back story to the world and
Sanjayís largely done that for me with his novel. I mean,
thereís a few differences but basically that was a real
treat to have someoneís creation be so much broader than
just one episode of the pilot to get your (unintelligible)
So I just used everything that Sanjay really threw my way.
Jennifer Finnigan: On that note my braid, my ďiconic braidĒÖ
Jamie Bamber: Oh, itís so superficial weíre both in the
Jennifer Finnigan: But, no, aside from that David has this
uncanny ability and the best writers too to within an
episode or two start nailing down the actual personís
characteristics and somehow infusing their character with
And I would notice by Episode 3, Episode 4, there were just
little things that resonated with me personally and so it
wasnít Ė it just became easier and easier from episode to
episode because I just started to understand her so much
more through Davidís eyes and Sanjayís eyes as well.
So, I think for me my biggest challenge was during the pilot
my character was largely there to facilitate the Ty
storyline and the agony that he was going through and so my
biggest challenge was really in the pilot trying to create a
character given a little bit of information about who she
And so, yeah, I just tried really hard to give her a lot of
heart and a lot of warmth. I wanted her to be a rock for a
lot of the doctors at that hospital and so thatís something
that I really tried to put forth. But after the pilot it was
Jamie Steinberg: Many of the cast has joined Twitter as a
way to interact with fans andÖ
Jennifer Finnigan: Many have Jamie.
Jamie Steinberg: Exactly, so I was wondering when we could
expect maybe Jamie to join?
Jamie Bamber: I have no plans to join Twitter yet. I am not
going to say never but, yeah, it just doesnít feel like me
right now. So, Iím not going to Ė my wife occasionally
tweets on my behalf and thatís good for me for the moment.
Jennifer Finnigan: His fan club, heís got a couple of fan
club people on Twitter who I basically feel like I Ė that
its him because they represent him so well and they post up
all of the clips of the show and photos of him so they do a
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, there is a feed that is run for me and,
yeah, whenever I need to find out where Iíve been I look on
there and they tell me.
Jamie Steinberg: Great, thank you both so much!
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you.
Jamie Bamber: Thanks.
Operator: Weíll go next to (Stacy Roberts).
Stacy Roberts: Hello?
Jennifer Finnigan: Hi.
Jamie Bamber: Hi (Stacy).
Stacy Roberts: Oh, hi. Sorry about that. Jennifer, what is
it like working with your husband on the show and then
seeing him date someone else?
Jennifer Finnigan: Well, both are fun actually. Weíve worked
together in the past. We have a great time and itís always
nice when I have very long hours and I get to see him pop in
and visit. Heís also very well liked there, everybody is
always asking me whereís (Johnny), whenís (Johnny) back on
the show? So thatís quite nice and essentially he adds a
levity to the show that I think is really necessary.
His character is just sort of quirky and funny and I think
matched with Sarayu, theyíre just adorable. Ironically I
think we have one scene together the entire time and I
believe we exchanged a hello, maybe not even. So there were
times when if he was working I was not and then we were like
ships passing in the night all of the sudden.
But it was lovely having him and I do remember one table
read where my character and Jamieís character were sort of
in a physical something or other and he and Sarayuís
character had a kiss and it was just so funny sitting around
the table and thinking, yeah, this is what we get paid to do
and you just have to laugh!
Stacy Roberts: Talking about laughing, what was it like
when you saw Alfred Molina without hair?
Jennifer Finnigan: I think he sports it really well, heís
got a great head.
Jamie Bamber: Well, the funny thing is weíd all been to see
him on the stage in Rent at (The Paper) and so we had seen
him before as a different character. So it wasnít that weird
to see him shave headed and I think it really works for
Hooten, the shaved head and the big black framed glasses. He
looks like a 70ís talk show host especially on our set, on
(that 311 set) and thereís something about that authority,
the simple lighting, the very harsh, the glass of water, and
the jug that is ubiquitous 70 talk show paraphernalia makes
me chuckle every time I see it.
But no, I think it works for the character. I really enjoyed
the story point, the way they explain it, it brings a
humanity to the character and I think Fred really enjoyed it
too and itís fun to watch his hair grow back, itís really
Jennifer Finnigan: It is, itís like a Chia-Pet.
Jamie Bamber: Heís like the class science experiment.
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah, exactly.
Jamie Bamber: Watching his hair grow.
Jennifer Finnigan: Right, and I know there was discussion
about him briefly sporting a wig but he Ė but they decided
against it and Iím very glad of that because I agree with
Stacy Roberts: And on medical terminology what has been
the hardest word that youíve had to say on the show so far?
Jennifer Finnigan: Oh God! For me it wasÖ
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, for me itís always a simple one like Ė
because the terminology is one thing and you just have to
work at it and we all do and it becomes second nature but
occasionally for me thereís a double whammy of medical
terminology thatís also slightly accented differently in
English than it is in American English.
So Iím trying to think ofÖ
Jennifer Finnigan: Whatís the one Ė Iím trying to think, I
was there and I canítÖ
Jamie Bamber: There was one, oh, what was itÖ
Jennifer Finnigan: And it was so easy, itís an easy word.
Jamie Bamber: Itís an easy one, itís an easy one but it
threw me completely and I couldnít get it right. Let me just
think what it is. I always get thisÖ
You answer and then Iíll
Jennifer Finnigan: Okay, well, I mean Ė because Iím not
going to be able to come up with something specific either
unfortunately but I will say it was one of the times that I
was up on the podium and I was making a presentation about a
procedure involving basically lasers, itís called a gamma
ray and I had this monologue that was just stressing me out
so bad, I was pacing and I was just trying to focus and, you
know, I had my iPod on to tune out all of the outside noise
and I got up there and I just really nailed it the first ten
times but these are seven page scenes and thereís so much
coverage and thereís 50 different setups and by the 20th
shot, I would say, I could not Ė I literally could not say
it anymore. I mean, I remember I was almost in tears trying
to keep it together.
Jamie Bamber: You got it when it mattered, thatís for sure.
I remember it, its trachea. Instead of (unintelligible)
would say (trachia), (trachia), a simple word that we all
know but for me to say trachea instead of (trachia), it was
Ė I had to pause about three words before I got there and
take a deep breath, repeat it inside of me and then spit it
Jennifer Finnigan: I saw it in his eyes.
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, itís the simple ones that sometimes bite
you. I mean, yeah, we have significant differences. Like we
say (anesthetist) and you guys say anesthesiologist. Most of
those Iíve got down but occasionally one will creep up but I
actually use in sort of common (parlents) and those are the
ones that bite me, not the really technical ones.
Jennifer Finnigan: Heís amazing because heíll be, weíll be,
talking literally right up till action and heís, you know, a
Brit, and then all of the sudden he just switches over on a
dime, itís shocking! I mean, especially involving all that
Jamie Bamber: I canít do it the other way. I canít do it the
other way where you stay in character all day. I find thatÖ
Jennifer Finnigan: Thatís just exhausting, isnít it?
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, it is. And you end up doing nothing
well, itís all bad.
Jennifer Finnigan: But then itís weird because I think being
Canadian Iím sometimes conscious of that slipping in which
really it doesnít when Iím sober but so sometimes talking to
Jamie at length, because we do tend to sit together at those
meetings and so 15 hours later I have a quasi-British accent
Jamie Bamber: Yeah.
Stacy Roberts: Thank you very much and I Ė after watching
the first three episodes I canít wait for the fourth one.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thatís so nice to hear, thank you.
Jamie Bamber: Oh, great. Fantastic, thank you.
Stacy Roberts: Thank you.
Operator: Weíll go next to Tiffany Vogel.
Tiffany Vogel: Hi.
Jennifer Finnigan: Hi.
Tiffany Vogel: I wanted to ask following up on Jenniferís
thing where you guys were kind of seeing your characters
flushed out through the subsequent episodes, David E. Kelley
is known for creating kind of quirky yet very lovable
characters, maybe you could describe whatís quirky and
whatís loveable about each of your characters?
Jennifer Finnigan: Well, I would say weíre the least quirky.
Hopefully yet still loveable but, yeah, there havenít been Ė
I mean, I would say the quirkiest is definitely (biller)
when Ving has a sort of fun quirkiness to him and Sarayuís
character is kind of a little pitbull.
Jamie Bamber: Are you going to say Keong? I would say Keong.
Jennifer Finnigan: Oh and Keong!
Jamie Bamber: Öis standout quirky because he has this
repetitive joke of his monosyllabic unemotional bedside
Jennifer Finnigan: Right, right.
Jamie Bamber: Ömakes me laugh every time and he relies on
repetition, the same joke, several times and episode and it
really works. My character, no quirks Iím afraid.
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah, mine not so much either. I mean,
weíre sort of the grounded ones, the ďstraight menĒ but we Ė
I hope that Tina is kind of the heart of it in a way. Like I
love to see people come to her and rely on her and she is
there to sort of comfort people and, I donít know, I just
think sheís a very warm grounded women, not quirky so much
but maybe thatís Season 2, you never know.
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, I mean, thereís room for that for sure
but I think in the first season our characters were very
much carrying their sort of emotional Ė weíre sort of the
emotional needle within the compass, we tend to carry the
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah, true.
Tiffany Vogel: And then as a follow-up, what would be like
the one word that youíd use to describe your character?
Jamie Bamber: Arrogant, mine.
Jennifer Finnigan: Passionate, mine.
Tiffany Vogel: Oh, good choices. Well, hopefully well see
more of both their passion and maybe a little less arrogance
Jennifer Finnigan: I think passion is the nice word for
Jamie Bamber: Arrogance has a very necessary place in that
Jennifer Finnigan: Absolutely!
Jamie Bamber: It has a positive side, itís not all negative.
Jennifer Finnigan: I suppose you could go with confidence.
Jamie Bamber: Confidence as opposed to (arrogant).
Tiffany Vogel: All right well thank you very much.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you.
Operator: Again, star 1 for questions. We do ask that
everyone limit themselves to one question. Weíll go next to
Earl Dittman: Okay Jamie, how about arrogantly confident or
confident and arrogantly? One of those things, I
Jamie Bamber: Well, yeah. I mean, exactly. You put your
finger on it. I think with any interesting character you
have to have a negative with the positive. There has to be
something to a fault and we see his confidence rattled and
we see his vulnerability too and Tinaís always there for
those vulnerable moments. So you see both sides.
Earl Dittman: And weíve certainly all met surgeons Ė I know
I have met surgeons like that and actually I feel more
comfortable in their hands if theyíre a little bit arrogant.
I think, well, they know what theyíre doing!
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah, absolutely.
Jamie Bamber: Every surgeon I met beforehand about one was
pretty uniformly cocksure.
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah. Yeah, that is kind of a quality to
look for and, you know, on the flip side with that, Tina
being passionate, I think at times to a fault as well. I
think it gets her into trouble at times.
Earl Dittman: Yeah, yeah. Well, Jamie, I was going to ask
you a little bit about someone mentioned earlier what was
tougher to do for you, was it tougher doing legal jargon,
military jargon from Battlestar Galactica or this one in
comparison to all three? You had a lot of legal things in
Law & Order.
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, I think the hardest is Ė the hardest is
goofy sci-fi language for sure.
Earl Dittman: Yeah, thatís what I figured.
Jamie Bamber: Because I was very proud of Battlestar as
being raw and real and immediate and when it dissipated into
goofy language, sort of (fo-)science, because itís not even
real science, itís pretend science then I find the
You know, with the medical world Iím surrounded by advisers.
I know this is the language they speak, it is 100% necessary
to say it and so the conviction with which you learn it and
say it is just second to none. Whereas with Battlestar
everything was kind of up for grabs. If there was something
Ė you could call the writer and say this is bullshit, letís
come up with something better. Whereas I canít do that to
Sanjay Gupta or David Kelley, the reality that we canít mess
with which gives you confidence.
Earl Dittman: Yeah, well you know, one last thing real
quickly. I enjoy the way that you embrace Battlestar
Galactica, thereís a lot of actors who like to try to forget
things from their past but I still watch it, it comes on
everyday on either SyFy or one of the network channels and I
think theyíre Ė I watch it everyday when itís on.
Jamie Bamber: Oh my God, Iím never going to forget it! I
have more pride for that experience than anything else Iíve
done so, no.
Earl Dittman: I can see why Ė actually, are you still doingÖ
Earl Dittman: Are you still doing the Battlestar Galactica
thing? I think youíre coming to Houston even with the
Battlestar Galactica the anniversary or something.
Jamie Bamber: It may.
Earl Dittman: Thatís great. Well, again, guys, thank Ė I
could let you Ė some other people talk but I appreciate it.
Best of luck and youíve got my support all the way.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thanks.
Jamie Bamber: Thank you, I appreciate that.
Operator: Weíll go next to Suzanne Lanoue.
Suzanne Lanoue: Hi, thanks so much for talking to us today.
Jennifer Finnigan: Hey.
Jamie Bamber: Hey.
Suzanne Lanoue: I was wondering, letís see, Jamie your
character Ė I enjoyed the first three episodes I saw, they
were great, and Jamie your character gets a little tortured
because of something that happens. How are you at dealing
with that kind of thing? Are you the type of actor that just
goes and shoots it and the minute they stop filming thatís
it or do you bring a little bit of the feeling with you
Jamie Bamber: No, I bring the feeling beforehand I think. I
think afterwards itís a sense of relief that you can take
the costume off and then itís gone.
No, it never stays with me afterwards but itís with me all
the day until I get to the necessary being beforehand
because I know that I have got to have that experience as
real in my mind to play the scene. Iím not the kind of actor
that can go completely cold into an emotional scene. I have
to transport myself emotionally by whatever means possible
and that basically means you carry the situation with you
all week, all episode or all day beforehand. But, no, as
soon as they say cut itís done and itís a huge relief and it
tends to be an excited, very perky, Jamie that emerges.
Suzanne Lanoue: Thank you. And Jennifer, I was wondering,
Iíve seen the episodes but I was wondering how you would
Jennifer Finnigan: Well, I was saying before, I mean, I
think sheís definitely driven by passion and love for her
job and carrying for her patients. And I know that every
doctor has a different bedside manner, some much better than
others, but in doing research for this part the person who
made the biggest impression on me is this very successful
neurosurgeon, female neurosurgeon out of New York. And I Ė
one of the first questions I asked her was how much sheís
impacted by her patients? How much she feels along with them
and she was very quick to say that she holds their hands,
that she cries with them, that she puts herself in their
I know that not everyone can do that for every patient, I
mean you canít become a complete sponge, I think it then
starts to affect your work, I think it then starts to just
bear down on you, you have to deal with losses everyday but
I was really Ė that left a huge impression on me and I
really wanted to infuse Tina with that same level of caring
and compassion for her patients.
So I would say thatís there. I would say that she is very
authoritative and confident in her job. I would say that she
falls apart a little bit at home whereas you see her in her
element at work and sheís happy and she is in control. I
think that all goes by the wayside the minute she walks
through her front door. And I really like seeing those two
sides of her.
Suzanne Lanoue: And are we going to see more of her home
life with her husband?
Jennifer Finnigan: Very much so, yeah, especially in Episode
Suzanne Lanoue: Oh, I canít wait.
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah, yeah.
Suzanne Lanoue: I really like the actor who plays your
husband from when he was on Young and The Restless soÖ
Jennifer Finnigan: Oh, yeah. Right. No, heís terrific and he
had a tough job. I mean, he had to come in and sort of be
the bad guy, in a way, and he had very few scenes but they
were very important scenes and he did a lovely job.
Suzanne Lanoue: All right well thank you both very much and
I look forward to the rest of the episodes.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you!
Jamie Bamber: Thank you.
Operator: (Brittany Fredrick).
Brittany Fredrick: Hey guys, first of all thank you so
much for doing this.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thanks for having us.
Jamie Bamber: Our pleasure (Brittany).
Brittany Fredrick: I wanted to say I had the opportunity
to visit the set recently and I was just shocked by how
realistic these operating rooms are. So I wanted to know,
whatís it like for the two of you then to step into these
Jamie Bamber: Very empowering, you know, everything in those
rooms is real. Sanjay has told me and others that where
anybody to have an aneurysm on the set he could do
everything in that room to get in there and solve the
problem. Theyíre not sterile thatís the only difference.
So, knowing that we have that level of reality and we also
have real OR nurses working with us so when an instrument is
handed to Jen or I it is done by someone who has been
operating the day before in exactly that situation and
thatís very empowering and you canít look bad really, they
sort of prop you up.
So itís exciting! I find it exciting. I mean, itís a
challenge because you wear all this gear and itís
uncomfortable after a while and it takes hours, probably as
long as the surgical procedure would, but with timeouts
between takes which are frustrating because you canít eat
anything or drink anything because youíre covered in masks
and (lubes) and surgical gear. But itís Ė you get a buzz.
You get a buzz about being the center of that theater.
Youíre at the heart of the theater, youíre the lead. Youíre
the practitioner, itís where the God complex comes from for
these surgeons. They are making life and death motions with
their hands and decisions and the acting is very interesting
because itís all eyes only, you canít even see their mouths
move so itís a real thing and you have to take a deep breath
in and be up for it but itís an aspect of the show that I
actually have really learned to enjoy.
Jennifer Finnigan: And I get too Ė I think itís sort of
fascinating to learn all of these Ė the way to hold the
instrument and we obviously try to do it with as much
authority as possible. I remember in one shot where they
were going down from my hands where I was suturing the
patients head and then up to my eyes and I had to say, my
suturing was pretty impressive and Iíve never felt better!
Like I had just recited a monologue but it was really just a
couple of sutures but I was so proud of myself.
It is interesting being in there, itís fascinating because
we really do get a sense of what actual surgeons experience
while theyíre in there. I mean, you know, from all of the
instruments and the procedures which are heavily
choreographed by the way, because prior to doing these
scenes we rehearse them over and over again, we get our
movements right, our positioning right, everything has to be
just so because on Monday mornings theyíre really big on
very close shots whether itís of our eye, whether its of our
hand, you know, everything is very measured. So those
movements have to be down pat and then we get the feeling
that these doctors go through when theyíre wearing all that
gear and standing on their feet for six, seven hours. I
mean, I know Sanjay has even spoken about doing procedures
for eight hours straight without taking a bathroom break.
And here we are complaining that we canít get to catering
because weíre wearing a face mask. So, itís definitely eye
Jamie Bamber: Itís a big deal.
Jennifer Finnigan: Big deal! I think Iíve tried to cut a
slit into my mask at times to fit a little straw so I could
just have just a little bit of water. But of course real
doctors could not do that.
Brittany Fredrick: Awesome, well thank you guys so much
and good luck!
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you.
Jamie Bamber: Thanks (Brittany).
Jennifer Finnigan: Should I be divulging those secrets of
Jamie Bamber: No, thatís good. I like it.
Operator: Weíll go next to (T.L. Foreman).
T.L. Foreman: Hey guys, thank you for taking the time to
do this and congratulations on the show.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you!
Jamie Bamber: Thank you (T.L.) itís a pleasure.
T.L. Foreman: Quick question, with the success of Greyís
Anatomy and Private Practice, do either of you have Ė did
you have any concerns about being compared to those shows
when you first read the script?
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah, I mean Ė I was a huge fan of ER.
T.L. Foreman: Right.
Jennifer Finnigan: When I watch a medical show I tend to
veer to Ė I also loved, ironically written by our boss,
Chicago Hope, but I tend toward the medical shows that are
far more about medicine then say the love stories going on
behind closed doors.
Of course, I think as an audience member you want to see who
these doctors are when they go home, what makes them tick
but I wasnít really concerned about that, about being
compared to the Greyís Anatomies and the Private Practices,
you know, those are two great shows that have been
incredibly successful. I do think this is far different.
I mean, first of all, itís about an aspect of medicine that
nobody really knows about the morbidity and mortality
meetings. At times it even has a legal aspect to it, I mean,
thereís a lot of legalities in these hospitals, a lot of
administrative business which can be fascinating and I think
these meetings are fascinating so I think itís going to be
really interesting for audiences to see that side.
Yes, of course thereís side storylines and thereís a little
bit of intimacy going on there too but for the most part
this show and David has really made a point of it, adhering
to really interesting medical cases and what makes these
hospitals tick and doing justice to Sanjayís novel and, of
course, the shining star of each episode are these morbidity
and mortality meetings.
T.L. Foreman: Right, you saidÖ
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, and for me Ė sorry, just very quickly.
For me the concern wasnít about any specific medical show
that we would be compared to. My concern is always kind of
about the medical genre in general. Everyone is very cynical
about new cop shows, new medical shows, new law shows
saying, why are you so special? And secretly I knew that
this one was a little different. It had enough difference in
it all based around these set pieces that nobody seems to
really know about, I didnít know about before doing them,
and theyíre everywhere. Theyíre in every single hospital
across the country and truly what fuels the show is this
added element of scrutiny that the audience applies to the
show. Just watching the patients live or die, youíre
watching the surgeons careers live or die week in, week out.
So thereís another element to it. You know Greyís is a great
show and we have elements of that, for sure, but I went back
to Chicago Hope and I had never seen Chicago Hope when it
was on the air and I was blow away by what I saw. It was a
very complex show and having a legal mind to attack the
medical genre really does bring a different prism to it and
you see every decision through many different angles.
Theyíre not just moral, ethical, surgical, there are legal
responsibilities, there are politics involved and our show
(unintelligible) medical drama because of those (layers).
So hoping and trusting that David would do that niche,
T.L. Foreman: Oh great. Thank you guys for taking the
time, I appreciate it.
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you.
Jamie Bamber: Appreciate it!
Operator: And next Earl Dittman:
Jamie Bamber: Itís Earl again!
Earl Dittman: Hey thanks guys, I just played the lottery.
Jennifer Finnigan: You just canít get enough.
Earl Dittman: I just canít get enough can I? Really, I guess
more than anything else, I guess the obvious question is if
you all hadnít become actors would either one of you all
have thought about medicine or maybe Jamie a law or what
would you be doing if you werenít doing that, medicine first
Jamie Bamber: WellÖ
Jennifer Finnigan: I absolutely would notÖ
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, well I was very lucky and I had an
amazing education and I had all of those avenues open to me.
They were all very accessible, I was doing well in all of
the necessary subjects to have chosen medicine and I never
considered it for one nanosecond.
Earl Dittman: Why?
Jamie Bamber: I never considered the law for a nanosecond. I
have, I guess, a romantic streak in me that wanted one of
two things, and one was to be an athlete to represent my
country, a rugby player, and the other was to be a
Shakespearean actor! Neither of which have I really achieved
but the acting thing just drew me to the arts.
I gave up all sciences at the age of 16 despite being pretty
good at them. I followed the arts and Iíve managed to make a
career in the arts with a small A on the small screen but
thatís very much where I came from. So, yes, now that I know
more about neurosurgery I think there can be very few
careers more satisfying, more exciting, more challenging,
and I kind of wish I had been more open-minded when I was
younger because, you know, I really love the world that Iím
getting to portray now but I never considered it and it was
certainly potentially on the table, many of my friends are
surgeons and doctors and all of those things back in England
and lawyers and all the important jobs, ambassadors, some of
them, I never considered those avenues.
Earl Dittman: But if someone gave you a part in a
Shakespeare play on a British stage or an American stage
youíd jump at it I would imagine?
Jamie Bamber: Oh yeah, absolutely Ė I mean, in the right
situation with any stage play the ingredients have to be
right because thereís nothing worse than going to do a bad
play every night. But, yeah, no, I still hope to resurrect
my ambitions to be a classical actor.
Earl Dittman: I see. One last question both of you, how much
time did you all actually spend with doctors, except
Sanjayís always there I would imagine, how much time did you
spend with other doctors and what was the greatest Ė
Jennifer, you may have answered this, but what is the
greatest line of wisdom that they told you in playing your
part that you need to know about playing a real doctor?
Jennifer Finnigan: Well, I mean, I spoke with a few
surgeons, many actually, and then I didnít get into a
surgery which was something I hoped to do. I guess being
Canadian it was tough for me to Ė I donít know I had to
present them with all kinds of inoculation information. So
Iím going to work on that for Season 2 but I did shadow and
I shadowed a surgeon at County doing rounds and that was
very eye-opening and very touching and difficult.
And, yeah, I think I did answer that prior to the women that
I spoke to over the phone who just ensured me that itís okay
to be emotionally invested in a patient, that itís normal
and itís not how everyone does it because I also spoke to a
few neurosurgeons who were kind of everything I would have
expected going in, very ego driven, very cut and dry, almost
desensitized and I canít relate to that. And as an actor I
need to portray somebody that I relate to in some way even
if itís the tiniest quality, I just have to find something
that I relate to.
And so Ė and I mean maybe thatís maybe to my determent as a
performer but I really feel passionate about that and so
when she said that that struck me and thatís how I chose to
portray my character. Listen, sheís not like hysterically
balling delivering bad news all the time but sheís just Ė
she just ahs a lot of heart.
And, yeah, I would say that would be it.
Earl Dittman: And Jamie, what did you take away, the most
important thing from all of your research?
Jamie Bamber: Well I did a lot. We had about a six week gap
between being cast and shooting the pilot and I still did as
much as I could with time in hospitals talking to people and
I watched a few procedures and I interviewed a very
interesting guy at UCLA who is South American so English was
his second language and I think he felt slightly fish out
water in the surgical world. He was a shining star but he
was the only one to express a bit more than a front. All of
the others were very, very confident and very empowered and
that was very interesting for me because thatís the
character that Iím playing.
But this guy was very thoughtful and he said something to me
about he was single, not married, he was my age in life.
Iíve got three kids, been married for almost ten years. He
was not married, single in a country he didnít grow up in,
cycles to work, lives near the hospital. He cycled because
heís aware that aneurysms happen when youíre driving so he
figures riding a bike, less collateral damage. So he was
very thoughtful and very aware of the job that he does, very
aware of the human contact!
And the thing that he said to me was, I asked him what itís
like when you get awaken at work at 4:00 in the morning and
dragged in to do a procedure that youíve only had three
hours sleep since you were last there and what goes through
your mind? Do you resent the fact that youíre a public
servant in that particular moment working at a teaching
hospital like UCLA?
And he said, no, the thing that I know is a matter of
responsibility. Iíve had 14 years of education, I am one of
the very few people in the face of this planet that can do
this procedure that is in the right place at the right time
and itís my duty to do it!
And whilst Iím regretting having to wake up and I donít look
forward to eight hour surgical operations, once Iím in the
scrubs, once Iím scrubbed in and in the room, then I donít
notice the time going by. You wonít look at the clock and it
will just fly by, you wonít be aware of it because he has
this duty. His duty to his training and to those that
trained him and to those that need him in an hour of need.
And he was very interesting, very, very thoughtful! He also
Earl Dittman: Sounds like an incredible person to talk to!
Jennifer Finnigan: This woman that I was speaking aboutÖ
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, he had a (real spiritual) take on the
Jennifer Finnigan: This woman was, by the way, she was in
her mid 40s and no children and no husband and, you know,
lives on, like Jamie was saying, three hours of sleep a
night is not unusual for her.
And I just said, do you ever regret, you know, not being
able to have a normal existence or a family or a husband and
she was Ė that was I think the simplest thing that she said,
she said, I made a choice! And I am so fascinated by that,
by truly making that choice and dedicating yourself to it
and knowing that in making that choice you are giving up so
Earl Dittman: Well as actors you all do too as well.
Jennifer Finnigan: Well, but we have Ė I mean, weíre able to
have lives andÖ
Jamie Bamber: Thatís very gracious of you Earl.
Jennifer Finnigan: Yeah, right, and what we do, like I say,
acting is not brain surgery soÖ
Jamie Bamber: I think weíre slightly more self-serving I
Earl Dittman: Yeah.
Jennifer Finnigan: Yes, yeah.
Earl Dittman: Thatís okay, maybe a tad!
Jennifer Finnigan: So no lives depend on what we are doing
and thatís the bottom line.
Jamie Bamber: I have a great friend of mine who is an actor
who was on a flight who was nodding off just over the
Atlantic and suddenly over the intercom his infamous words,
is there a doctor on board and he starts to get up and
unbuckle his seatbelt to walk forward on the plane and his
wife says, what the heck are you doing? And he said, they
just said over the intercom is there an actor on board?
And she said, doctor, you (unintelligible) doctor! Why would
anybody want an actor? He explained himself by saying well
maybe there wasnít a doctor on board, they already asked,
the next best thing is an actor who can pretend to be a
Earl Dittman: There you go Jamie, you just answered the
question there. Well thanks again guys and, again, and
although Ė I will say, I think youíve already done your
Shakespearean play in Battlestar Galactica because I think
itís a very Shakespearean kind of show.
Jamie Bamber: Yeah, youíre right. There are definitely
overturns. I appreciate that.
Earl Dittman: Exactly! So thanks guys again, canít stress
enough, thank you so much!
Jennifer Finnigan: Thanks.
Jamie Bamber: Thanks Earl, speak to you again in five
Earl Dittman: Yeah, thanks!
Operator: And we have no further questions. Iíll turn the
conference back over to Mr. Bernstein for any additional or
Brad Bernstein: Great, thank you everyone and thank you to
Jamie and Jen for joining us today. Once again, Monday
Mornings premiers February 4 on TNT at 10:00 Eastern, 9:00
Jennifer Finnigan: Thank you.
Jamie Bamber: Thanks Brad.
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