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Interview with Lisa Edelstein of "House"
This is the second time I participated in a conference
call with Lisa Edelstein. She is always great. She seems so nice, and
funny, and laid-back. So much unlike her high strung counterpart on
This coming Monday, the House episode focuses on Cuddy.
Just like the earlier episode where they focused on Wilson and showed
things from his point of view, this one is from Cuddy's point of view.
We get to see what her day is like. It should be fun, like all things on
She had a lot to say about the episode in this
interview, especially about Cuddy's relationship with Lucas and with
House. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did!
FBC PUBLICITY: The House Conference Call with Lisa
February 2, 2010/2:00 p.m. EST
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome
to The House Conference Call with Lisa Edelstein conference. At this
time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct
a question/answer session and instructions will be given at that time.
As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. I would now like to
turn the conference over to our host, Ms. Kim Kurland. Thank you, please
K. Kurland Hi. I just wanted to thank everybody for taking part
in this conference call with Lisa and just remind everybody this
episode, which is titled ď5 to 9,Ē airs this coming Monday, February 8
at 8:00 p.m. Operator, we can take our first call now, our first question.
Moderator Our first question comes from the line of Michael Elkin with
Jewish Exponent, please go ahead.
M. Elkin Iím just wondering if you think Cuddy is the ďrisottoĒ of all
roles, in that it leaves you totally satisfied.
L. Edelstein Definitely for now. Iím a bit fickle. So, I think a good
seven years of satisfaction will lead me to the next phase.
M. Elkin Okay. Also, in this episode in which weíre going to see things
through your eyes, will we also be seeing things through the eyes of the
former queen of downtown?
L. Edelstein No. Cuddy is definitely not the queen of downtown.
M. Elkin Okay.
L. Edelstein Thatís reserved only for me.
M. Elkin Would your friends be surprised from your old New York days;
would your friends be surprised how youíve evolved into such an
L. Edelstein I think, itís nice. It was a very special group of people,
way back when, of a lot of great talent and not a lot of commercial
value. So, itís nice when anybody you know has a good turn in life, and
I really enjoy seeing my friends from those days. Theyíre always really
supportive and excited.
M. Elkin Did that have any impact on the way you approached this role,
those old days when you were the queen of society?
L. Edelstein Youíre giving me a lot more credit than I actually deserve,
but not really. It doesnít really apply to this character. It certainly
is a part of the tapestry of my life. But, Cuddy is a much more
controlled, serious, wonder woman. She cannot be as playful.
K. Kurland If we could just limit this to one question and a follow-up
question each that would be great. Thank you.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Matt Mitovich with
Fancast. Please go ahead.
M. Mitovich What do you hope that people glean from this episode, aside
from Cuddy has a lot on her plate on any given day? What do you hope
their take away is as far as your character that they might not have
picked up on over the past years?
L. Edelstein Well, thereís a lot of things I like about the episode in
addition to the fact that you get a real glimpse into what it means to
run a hospital. Because sometimes you see complaints that people donít
think that Cuddyís very good at her job. I donít really think they know
what her job is. Now you get a really clearer view of that.
I like the difference between her relationship with Lucas and her
relationship with House. I think on one hand you see this kind of
uncomplicated ease with this guy whoís just showing up. He shows up. He
actually does his best and shows up and wants to be there versus the guy
that she had this long, deep, fascinating, back-and-forth with that she
canít seem to steer clear of and what he actually means in her world,
how he affects her world. So, I think thereís a lot of levels to it.
M. Mitovich The episode hints at the occasional disconnect with Lucas.
Do you think if she does end up bailing on that romance itíll be to go
to House or just to not be with Lucas?
L. Edelstein I donít know, because they donít tell me. So, I would hate
to guess. But, I that think sometimes you just want to be in the
relationship that looks good on paper and that is the relationship you
think youíre supposed to be in. But, Iím not sure that that really
M. Mitovich Okay.
L. Edelstein So, when and if that doesnít work, I guess what you would
do is really give it a shot with the thing that excites you most. But
thatís going to sound like a spoiler, and it actually isnít because I
havenít the faintest idea whatís happening.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of David Martindale
D. Martindale Yes, David Martindale. One of my favorite moments in the
ďWilsonĒ episode earlier this year was the scene where Wilson was doing
something completely, unrelated to anything that involved House. In the
background, you saw the team with the patient on the gurneyÖ
L. Edelstein Right.
D. Martindale Öin the hallway, andÖ
L. Edelstein Exactly.
D. Martindale Öand crazy things. It really did impress on me that, ďWow!
Wilson really does have a life and career that doesnít involve House.Ē
How interesting to see that, and again, with you, you get to have those
moments, too. Is that really cool and fun and interesting and Ö for you?
L. Edelstein I think so. I hope the audience thinks so, because again,
it is really nice to see, to fill in the blanks, and to make the picture
more complete. So that you know when House is causing problems for
Cuddy, what the rest of the things on Cuddyís plate are. When they
interrupt something in the hallway to have a debate about a case that
has nothing to do with what sheís doing and the rest of her day, how she
has to focus and deal with it and resolve it and move on. I mean, I just
think it is fun to see that. It is fun to fill in the blanks.
D. Martindale A few years ago, you and I did an interview and I asked
you ways you were unlike Cuddy and one of the things you singled out was
the clothes, that Cuddy wears clothes that you canít run in, and that
that would cramp your style. After a few more years of playing her, do
you think that maybe thereís a little bit of a free spirit kind of
hidden away from everybody, just because sheís the boss?
L. Edelstein Well, I donít think she has time to be the free spirit that
she might be. I think her days are completely filled. She has to be up
at 4:30 in the morning and she works until 9:00 at night. She is a real
go-getter with an enormous amount of energy, doing an enormous amount
everyday for a lot of people. That kind of responsibility fills up every
inch of your world.
D. Martindale So, you donít have time to do cartwheels down the hallway?
L. Edelstein She certainly doesnít. I do.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Gina Dinunno with TV
G. Dinunno So, a lot of fans have expressed their, I guess, anger or
just dislike about the Cuddy-Lucas relationship? What do you think it is
that Cuddy sees in Lucas that no one else kind of can Ö?
L. Edelstein I think he shows up. I think he helps her with her life.
Heís uncomplicated, very loyal, and has sex with her. I think that those
things mean a lot to somebody whoís got a world like hers, which can be
very overwhelming. The question remains, ďIs that enough?Ē
G. Dinunno Right.
L. Edelstein But I think for right now, itís something she really needed
to explore having because sheís been alone for a while, a long time and
kind of chasing after a House that was completely unavailable. So, this
season, suddenly he turns around and announces heís available, but itís
years that this has been going on. Itís not so easy.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Megan Murphy with US
Weekly. Please go ahead.
M. Murphy So, youíve played this character for a while now. How do you
think Cuddyís changed over the years?
L. Edelstein Well, I donít think characters change. I think they become
more revealed. I donít think you really can change a character on a
show. David Shore was talking about this, as well, a while back, because
if you change the character, then the dynamic changes.
I think what happen is in the first season of any episode, as the
audience, youíre presented with a vague picture of these people. You, as
an audience member, project onto them your idea of who they are and how
they fit. As the years go by and the writers get to write more deeply
about each individual, they just expose themselves little by little. I
donít mean that in a nude way. Although, actually I do because thatís
pretty much what happened with my character. Every season, I become more
and more disrobed.
M. Murphy Excellent. What was it like having Jennifer Morrison back on
L. Edelstein Lovely. Jennifer is a great girl, wonderful to be around
and smart and funny and it was great.
M. Murphy Any kind of fun, behind-the-scenes things you can share?
L. Edelstein Not really. We donít have that kind of set. We work really
hard and then have witty banter.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Susan Lanoue with TV
Mega Site. Please go ahead.
S. Lanoue I was wondering if you thought that, this is just your
opinion, I know you donít know about whatís coming up ahead. But, do you
think that Cuddy would have settled, well, if settleís the right word,
for the guy sheís with right now if she hadnít had the child? Do you
think he was sort of like Ö?
L. Edelstein I think that having a child definitely changed her attitude
about relationships, absolutely. I think him being in her life is really
directly related to that. She really needs somebody she can rely on.
S. Lanoue Right.
L. Edelstein I donít think anyone can really fully prepare for having a
child. I donít think thereís any way of preparing for what that means to
your world. This is a woman who already had a really full world. She
needs reliable people in her life.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Dan French with
Digital Spy. Please go ahead.
D. French I was just wondering, how do you think season six is shaping
up without Jennifer Morrison as Cameron?
L. Edelstein Well, sheís been in season six.
D. French But sheís kind of been absent for quite a few episodes.
L. Edelstein Itís always strange to be missing a character that has been
around for a long time. So, itís really hard to answer that question.
However, I love our writers and I love what theyíre doing. Of course, we
miss her and she was recently back. That was tons of fun. I donít really
know what else to say.
D. French Did the atmosphere on set change when she left?
L. Edelstein Not really. We donít all work together all the time. So,
for example, most of my scenes are with Hugh or Robert. I donít have a
lot of scenes with the team. I think maybe for them they could feel the
difference more. Jennifer and I rarely had scenes by ourselves together,
even in the five years we were both around at the same time. So if we
shoot ten days and Iím there three out of those ten days, I see only
whoever Iím in the scene with.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Troy Rogers with
TheDeadbolt. Please go ahead.
T. Rogers I wanted to know what was it like in an episode focused on
L. Edelstein It was really exciting. It was exciting because Iíve been
working with these people for a very long time and to be given that kind
of opportunity was really special. They sent me the script weeks earlier
than usual, where I could have notes about dialog, notes about story
line; make script suggestions, which is not normal for our process at
House. Even during filming, I just felt like I had a lot more power in
terms of interacting with the writer and director. I really loved it.
Plus, I was there 16 hours a day, which is a lot of hard work. But, itís
really fun to set the pace and the tone of the stage, to be given that
opportunity, especially with people that Iíve known for quite some time.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Barbara Barnett with
Blog Critic Mag. Please go ahead.
B. Barnett House and Cuddy seem to begin to repair their relationship
just a little bit, in ď5 to 9Ē.
L. Edelstein Yes.
B. Barnett Really for the first time, I think, since almost from the
beginning of the season.
L. Edelstein Yeah.
B. Barnett Is that going to continue to evolve? Are they Ö?
L. Edelstein Again, they really donít tell me what the goal is. But I
did really like that and I liked the way it looked next to her
relationship with Lucas because there is something very special between
House and Cuddy that also is historical and deeply complicated, but has
a nice weight to it, which is a very confusing thing to have in your
life when youíre trying to do what you think is the right thing on
B. Barnett Yeah, thereís several moments in the episode where they seem
to fall back into that very intimate trust between them.
L. Edelstein Yeah. I donít think they can help it.
B. Barnett Yeah. Itís like they are great moments and I thinkÖ
L. Edelstein Thanks.
B. Barnett Öthe House-Cuddy fans are going to applaud greatly when they
L. Edelstein Oh, good!
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Cecil Rose with TV
Fodder Network. Please go ahead.
C. Rose Miss Edelstein, do you have any acting plans beyond House Ö
horizon? Or, would you like to write or direct an episode like Hugh
Laurie has done?
L. Edelstein No, I donít think Iím going to write or direct an episode.
Writing an episode would be an enormous challenge because they work
about six months on these cases in trying to find diseases that can be
confused for other things that yet you can tell a story with thatís
interesting. I mean, itís a very complicated process. Watching Hugh do
the directing, it actually was really a little more inspiring, because I
hadnít really thought about it before. Ultimately, Iím just thinking of
things will interest me when House is finally done, which I donít even
know when that is, and in the meantime, just trying to see as much of
the world as I possibly can.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Mike Vicic of TV
Tango. Please go ahead.
M. Vicic Besides seeing the script so early, what surprised you most
about this episode when you first read it?
L. Edelstein What surprised me most? That I was in every scene. It never
happened to me before on the show. I kind of had an idea of what was
happening, so it didnít take me totally by surprise. They gave me a
heads-up. I just didnít know how they were going to do it.
M Vicic And you said that you took the opportunity to suggest some
script changes. What change are you most proud of?
L. Edelstein I donít know. If I tell you that, then youíll know what the
scene looked like before and itíll spoil scenes. It was some
relationship stuff on both sides, really, Lucas stuff and House stuff.
Some were changes and some were just tone, like talking about tone and
being able to participate in that process and learn what it is that
David had in mind and what he was trying to say. What Tommy had in mind,
what he was trying to say. Just kind of have more involvement in their
process in allowing my sense of things to have some power, too.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Alice Chapman with
the Times Courier. Please go ahead.
A. Chapman Well, I was wondering as a woman, and during the filming
process during this episode, did you ever think, ďWow! I can relate to
Dr. Cuddy in this episode.Ē Like her life is so busy and itís such a
L. Edelstein Well, absolutely; sheís trying to do everything. Iím just
glad there is an episode that shows how much it is she actually has to
do, how much is on her plate. Representing single moms, and single
working moms and what they do is always nice because theyíre unsung
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Gina Dinunno with TV
Guide. Please go ahead.
G. Dinunno I know you guys were talking about the Jennifer Morrison
episode. Is there anything you could preview or tease about the upcoming
L. Edelstein About my episode?
G. Dinunno The Jennifer Morrison episode.
L. Edelstein Oh, not really. Sorry.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Diana Cowan with TV
Guide Canada. Please go ahead.
D. Cowan So, I saw the episode, and I noticed that Cuddy practices yoga,
which I believe you do as well.
L. Edelstein Yes.
D. Cowan I was just wondering, were there any other attributes about
yourself that you were able to transfer to your character in this
L. Edelstein Attributes about myself, of course, I play Cuddy, so she is
a part of me; but sheís much more serious and has much more on her plate
and is responsible for many more people than I actually am. I think that
seeing her at home, seeing her with Lucas, seeing her be a little bit
sexual, those are fun sides of Cuddy that you donít normally get to see.
But, yeah, I think sheís too busy to be much more than that.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of John Connelley with
Spectrum. Please go ahead.
J. Connelley So, given that Houseís pessimistic attitude toward life is
such a key element of the show, do you think that the show would still
be able to have the same effect if your character and House were in a
L. Edelstein Well, I donít think just because people are in a
relationship that theyíre happy. I donít think relationships necessarily
make people happy. You just are happy or youíre not happy. So, I think
if they were ever to get together, there would be no loss in the misery
Moderator I will turn the conference back over to you for any last
L. Edelstein Thank you all for coming and its great answering all your
questions. I hope I said something decent and have a great day!
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for
ABOUT THIS EPISODE OF "HOUSE"
During a day in the life of Princeton Plainsboro's Dean of Medicine, Dr.
Lisa Cuddy, the inner workings of the hospital are seen through her
eyes. This day proves to be especially trying as Cuddy wrestles with
myriad hospital issues and staff disputes that test her perseverance and
skills as an administrator, all while juggling issues in her personal
life, in the all-new "5 to 9" episode of HOUSE airing Monday, Feb. 8
(8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT)
ABOUT LISA EDELSTEIN
(Dr. Lisa Cuddy on HOUSE)
From her introduction to television as Lisa E on MTV's "Awake on the
Wild Side" to her role as "Dr. Lisa Cuddy" on HOUSE, Lisa Edelstein is
no stranger to fearless roles. In the past several years, Edelstein has
portrayed Rob Lowe's call-girl girlfriend on "The West Wing," the
transsexual boyfriend of James LeGros on "Ally McBeal," David Conrad's
lesbian sister on "Relativity," an Orthodox Jew losing custody of her
child on "Family Law" and James Spader's love interest on "The
Additional television credits include her series regular role on "Leap
of Faith" and guest turns on "Seinfeld," "Without a Trace," "Frasier,"
"Felicity" and "ER." Edelstein also works extensively in the realm of
voiceover, most recently as "Mercy Graves" on the animated "Superman"
and "Justice League" series as well as guest spots on AMERICAN DAD and
KING OF THE HILL.
In feature films, Edelstein starred as Ben Stiller's aerobics-obsessed
date in "Keeping the Faith." Additional credits include "What Women
Want," "Daddy Day Care," "As Good As It Gets" and the comedies "Say
Uncle" and "Grilled." She also starred in the dramatic cable feature
"Fathers and Sons."
After honing her craft at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Edelstein
performed in numerous off- and off-off-Broadway productions, including
the AIDS-related musical "Positive Me," which she authored, composed and
Edelstein lives in Los Angeles in a century-old home with her cat and
rescue dogs. She is an avid practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga and volunteers
her time by working with the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Save the
Children, Planned Parenthood and AmFAR.
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