Welcome to Hugh Laurie Fan, an unofficial website exclusively dedicated to supporting and promoting the career of British actor Hugh Laurie. You will find the latest news, pictures and media. Your input and contributions are always Welcome! ~ The Staff
Hugh Laurie was a six-time Emmy nominee for House but never took home a trophy. This is the first year he’s been eligible for a EWwy since the awards began, and he won’t leave empty-handed. (Sorry, Timothy Olyphant, we thought this was your year!)
Hugh Laurie, House — 33.55% Timothy Olyphant, Justified — 24.93% Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead — 22.25% Charlie Hunnam, Sons of Anarchy — 14.75% Dustin Hoffman, Luck — 4.52%
Hugh was awarded Best Actor in a Drama Series for the Pan American Association Film & TV Journalists. CONGRATULATIONS!!
BEST LEAD ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES *Hugh Laurie for “House” (Episode: “Everybody Dies”) Bryan Cranston for “Breaking Bad” (Episode: “Crawl Space”) Kelsey Grammer for “Boss” (Episode: “Swallow”) Jason Isaacs for “Awake” (Episode: “Say Hello to My Little Friend”) Damian Lewis for “Homeland” (Episode: “Representative Brody”) Timothy Olyphant for “Justified” (Episode: “Slaughterhouse”)
As of Monday’s finale, House is officially dead and buried — the show, not the title grump — and, in its wake, we’re left with eight years of memories and a dozen burning questions. Now, the guy we have to thank for those memories, series creator David Shore, has volunteered to also solve — or at least
TVLINE | Was there ever a point where you thought about really killing him? Yes. Everything was on the table. But it was considered for that long, partly because I want the series to live on. The idea of people thinking that House is dead is a weird thing to leave people with. It ultimately felt better to have him out there with Wilson doing who knows what. I thought that was a really nice thing to leave people with and to let them put their imprint on that in their own mind.
TVLINE | How did he manage to survive the floor collapsing in on him and the subsequent explosion? It was supposed to be ambiguous as to whether the floor collapsed on him or in front of him; certainly it was nasty stuff. There are a few seconds between the collapse and the explosion. He narrowly got out the back.
TVLINE | Was the homage to Sherlock Holmes famously faking his death intentional? From the moment we had the idea, I was aware that that’s what Arthur Conan Doyle did and that did tickle me. We didn’t say, “That’s what Sherlock Holmes did — we should do that.”
TVLINE | Of all the cameos in the episode, which was the trickiest to coordinate/accommodate? There were scheduling issues with everyone. It was very tricky. Because all of the actors had gone on and done really good stuff. My hat goes off to my old production crew for just physically putting that schedule together.
TVLINE | Is it fair to say that Stacy filled the Cuddy void in this episode? I don’t want to make it seem like it was one or the other, but had [Lisa Edelstein been available] she might’ve done something [similar]. But we knew before we even had written it who we had available.
TVLINE | I really liked how you made a point of showing that Cameron ends up happy and fulfilled in her personal life. Did you ever consider reuniting her with Chase in the end? No, because there would’ve been too much backstory to fill in.
TVLINE | How did the fire in the abandoned building start? It’s actually alluded to. There was more about it in the original cut of the episode. There is a reference to the fact that the guy fell asleep while smoking. That’s how he got the burns on his chest. He presumably passed out while on heroin and dropped the cigarette and the fire started.
TVLINE | What was the deal with the gum Kutner put on the POTW’s shoe? [Laughs] You shouldn’t read too much into that. That just seemed amusing to have a hallucination chewing gum and interacting with the real world.
TVLINE | Why did you choose “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think)” for the final scene? Ever consider using “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” just to maintain the symmetry with the pilot?
We did consider that briefly. The Warren Zevon song that we used before it, I had wanted to use that; it just felt really nice. And then Hugh [Laurie] came to me one day while we were shooting [the episode] and said, “I have the perfect song for the final scene.” So I decided to stick two songs in there. We’re all about cutting against what people think we’re going to do. So going with this weird, uplifting song [about] dying had a really nice feeling to it.
TVLINE | In the final moments, Foreman finds House’s nametag under his wobbly table. Does he know House is alive? The notion is that Foreman had pieced it together and figured it out.
TVLINE | Lastly, what do you picture House doing once Wilson is dead? I don’t know. That’s way down the road. And that’s not what it was about. The story is the story. And the story ends when the story ends.
TVLINE | Can you see revisiting this character in the future in some way? I love this character. And I know Hugh loves this character. I keep it open, but the chances of that happening from a practical point of view are slim. I would hate to lock in my head, “I will never revisit this character again.” That would be a depressing idea to me.
After eight seasons and 177 episodes, House ends with an outbreak of poignant goodbyes. In the emotional run-up to the series finale — the episode, titled “Everybody Dies,” airs May 21 at 9pm on Fox — each shooting day brought cheers, standing Os and misty-eyed send-offs. “A succession of daily memorial services, it was,” as Hugh Laurie puts it. “Someone would yell, ‘Hey, everybody, this is Omar Epps’ last scene!’ ‘This is Jesse Spencer’s last scene!’ ‘This is B camera operator’s last scene.’ The art director’s. The sound technician’s. It became hard to process all the finality.”
It’s amusing to imagine Dr. Gregory House himself in a situation like that. TV’s greatest medical grump was never a group-hug kinda guy, and it’s hard to picture House sweetly switching off the lights at Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital the way, say, Sam Malone did at the end of Cheers. Then again, TV has never known a character quite like House — charming yet sadistic, brilliant yet impossible and somehow a sex symbol even with the limp, the unshaven mug and the pockets full of Vicodin.
Laurie was an equally unlikely prime-time star. When he landed the role in 2004, he was a 45-year-old British actor known mostly for BBC sketch comedies and playing the dad in the Stuart Little children’s movies. “I was perfectly content being a gypsy actor, or at least I thought I was,” Laurie says. He soon found greater meaning barking out medical advice and insults with pitch-perfect American snark. (Colleague to House: “You’re late.” House to colleague. “You’re fat.”)
Ever the English gent behind the scenes, Laurie leaves the series like a rock star and, in fact, is spending his summer playing piano on tour with Copper Bottom, the actor’s acclaimed blues and jazz band (he has no definite plans beyond that). TV Guide Magazine reported Laurie’s final-season salary as $700,000 per episode, and he’s been generously dispensing thank-you gifts, including replica House canes for everyone on the cast and crew. On the last day of filming, Laurie chartered a private jet — “like the one Led Zeppelin used,” he laughs — and flew the production to an undisclosed location 26 minutes outside L.A. for the final shoot. “The flight attendant gave me control of the microphone so I could bid everyone farewell,” Laurie says. “Then, frankly, there was more man-hugging than you want to know about.”
What fans most want to know about is how House will end. “We want a concluding episode that feels like a summation in some sense, something that takes an overview,” says David Shore, who created House in the image of his own lovably cranky self. “The ending is very personal to me, but it’s tough to make a good series finale. They’ve failed more than they’ve succeeded. I hope people are satisfied, but the show has to end either way.”
The truth is, it’s ending right on time. House‘s ratings, which peaked in Season 3, have been on a slow, quiet slide (the show finished in 42nd place last season). Plus, only so many more patients can develop mysterious nosebleeds as House’s medical team frets over chickpea allergies or possible Lupus (why is it always possible Lupus?). As Epps, who played Dr. Eric Foreman for eight seasons, says, “I’ve been thrown up on so many times I can’t remember. I’ve seen all kinds of organs explode, all kinds of human ooze coming out of who knows where. Now if I’m out in a restaurant and someone goes, ‘Is there a doctor here?’ I basically try to hide.” That’s not always easy. Peter Jacobson, who’s played Dr. Chris Taub since Season 4, says, “There was a guy at an airport recently who asked me to look at his wife’s arm to diagnose something. People often joke, but I realized he was dead serious.”
Who wouldn’t want doctors like them, and especially like House, a no-B.S. diagnostician who solves every medical riddle in 43 minutes? Even Laurie worships the guy. “I spend my entire life apologizing, and House never does,” he says. “It’s been incredibly liberating playing him. He can be horrible, he can be jagged and awkward, but the character has a confidence in his abilities and opinions, and sometimes that’s all you need.”
Shore still remembers dreaming up House. “I wanted an anti-Marcus Welby,” he says. “A guy who calls idiots idiots to their faces, and with a bit of Sherlock Holmes thrown in.” Along the way were challenges, like maintaining the show’s high standards. “That’s what kept us honest,” Shore says. “It never got easy. Putting House in an institution. That was difficult. Putting him in a relationship. Whoa! Throwing his entire original team out. That was dumb commercially, but it felt like an opportunity. We kept creating situations that asked, ‘How is House going to react?’”
What’s funny is how little House changed over the years. “You look at the pilot episode and it’s all right there,” says Robert Sean Leonard, whose Dr. James Wilson is the only true friend House ever had. “House wasn’t delighting people in the beginning, and he’s not doing it in the end. It’s a weird formula for success, but we ended up liking House because House didn’t need to be liked by anyone.”
With Fox’s acclaimed drama checking out for good on May 21, House star Hugh Laurie looks back on eight great years of medical mysteries and, yes, madness.
ON OUR LAST DAY OF SHOOTING, Fox’s top brass gave me some top brass. I’m not talking about my salary, which was undeniably mad — the sort of money that should only be paid to people who destroy Earth-bound asteroids, or invent a method for converting journalists into clean energy — no, I mean they gave me a trumpet. And not just any trumpet, but a vintage Selmer, as played by Louis Armstrong. (The certificate of provenance that came with it doesn’t specify whether Pops played this actual instrument or a close relation, but I suppose the lack of clarity is clarity of a sort. Never mind. It is a wondrous gift.) I tried blowing it immediately, almost turning my digestive tract inside out in the process, but I did get a sound. I tooted my own horn and it felt good. Now I know that I’m not supposed to do this. It is the accepted custom, especially among my countrymen, to play down one’s accomplishments; to blush, and stammer charmingly about luck, and teamwork, and possibly the hand of God (which, when you think about it, is a ferociously arrogant explanation for one’s success, but we’ll leave t hat for now). But this Dance of Modesty can often be disingenuous. It serves to deflect and disarm, to spike the guns of one’s enemies; I know because I have used it that way myself. So, for the length of this paragraph alone, I am striking out against the custom. I am going to toot my horn loud and clear and say that, for eight years, I worked as hard as I knew how, to make House as good as it could be. I frothed and fretted over every detail, every line, every moment. Driving home in the small hours, I pounded the steering wheel as I replayed mistakes in my mind. I tossed and turned every night, plotting the next day’s maneuvers, until I reached moments of near-madness — some would say nearer than near — because I loved House with all my heart, and loved the other characters and the world in which they moved just as much. At its best, the show felt to me like the sweetest kind of chamber music, with perfectly satisfying intervals, cadences, rhythms; but to achieve that consonance, every part of the ensemble had to be just so. The modern style of acting produces a rough, igneous stone from which skilled editors are expected to cut and polish fine diamonds, but that could never have worked for House. The door to Wilson’s office had to close between the words “malignant” and “melanoma,” to punctuate the moment, not a half second earlier or later. The cap of the pin bottle had to snap shut just before the patient turns his head from the window, or the moment would fail. A misplaced blink, or swallow, or crack of the voice, and a phrase could be reduced to a men string of words: serviceable, comprehensible, but not musical. Often we hit clam, a bum note that would ring on through the following scenes, distracting, and weakening the effect. But we hit some very sweet ones, too. Of course, critics and Internet wags liked to say that the show, in its middle years, became formulaic. They had fun reducing an episode to its basic elements: Patient gets sick, team tries variety of madcap diagnoses eventually settling on the most improbable, hey presto, patient cured. Well, yes, one can apply that technique to pretty much any human endeavor: All blues songs are the same, all operas are the same, all games of basketball are definitely the same (to an English eye anyway); in fact everything is the same, including critics, if you don’t pay attention to their differences And if you preface your critique with the word “just,” you can diminish and undermine the most complex structures. The Mona Lisa is “just” oil paint on wood, arranged to look like a woman. String Theory is “just” an effort to reconcile quantum mechanics with general relativity. King Lear is “just” the story of an old man going loopy. Obviously, I’m not claiming that House rose to the level of Shakespeare—that really would be loopy—but it did have nuance. Or tried to. And that, to me, is the most important thing: House tried to be about something. Most procedural dramas set out merely to comfort the audience with the idea that we live in an ordered, moral universe in which virtue is rewarded and sin is punished; wherever evil takes to the streets, a group of heavily-armed models will be there to chase it, catch it, and expunge it from our nightmares. This is not an entirely accurate representation of the facts. But House, I believe, grappled with some chewy questions. Is it worth using bad means for good ends? Can an action be good if its motive is bad? Or if its motive is not intentionally good? What is a soul? Is there a God? If there isn’t, what defines a friend, and what will you do for him? We didn’t always express these questions well, by any means, but we tried, and a large number of people around the world seemed to respond to the effort. I am so damn proud of that. But now, finally, the undertakers are in. In the last week of shooting we could hear the Pac-Men at our heels, chain-sawing through the sets we’ve trodden for eight years. Even the sets themselves seemed to know that the jig was up: Windows started sticking, door handles fell off, carpets curled up like dried leaves. Now the place is awash with cardboard boxes, and the writers have descended on House’s office like a crowd of post-Saddam looters. I know this because I tried to do the same, but got there too late. I had thought of putting in a bid for the glass door, with House’s name and title painted on it, thinking it would make a good shower door—and then I realized it wouldn’t. But enough with the looting, and more than enough with my tooting. There were so many great horns in the brass section, far more than I can mention here: Robert Sean Leonard can take anyone, anywhere, in any movie, TV show, play, musical, piece of modem dance, anything; David Shore is a truly great writer; Katie Jacobs may be the best producer in the business; Gale Tattersall may be the best cinematographer, Tony Gaudioz the best operator, Jeremy Cassells the best production designer, and on and on and on. So much hard work, and love, and pride, and companionship – it fair mists the eye to think how far we have come since those first faltering steps in Vancouver in 2004. No one knows where network TV is headed. Cable is all around us, with its many advantages for viewer and producer alike. (You can’t guess at how much we envied the stretchiness of cable when it comes to running time — if they need another 30 seconds, or a couple of minutes, to tell their story, then so be it — while we skinned our knuckles every week against the network schedule. We often had to choose between the set-up and the punchline, and wept for both.) But wherever it’s going, it might not take a future House with it. It’s possible that we may have experienced the beginning of the End of Days for network drama. Before long you will be faced only with reality shows, broadcast on your wristwatch, or your loved one’s teeth, or simply inside your head. There will be no great commonality with whom you can discuss and share the pleasure of drama, or its cost. This may very well be it. Apres nous le deluge. Or I could be talking out of my hat. The Loopy Old Man writer also came up with The Seven Ages of Man (and if we had had our wits about us, perhaps we might have finished House a year ago, allowing our seven seasons to fit his lifespan more snugly), the last of which, according to the sorrowful Jaques, goes like this: Last scene of all/That ends this strange eventful history/Is second childishness and mere oblivion/Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything. Toot toot.
Oct 15th: Minneapolis, MN - Pantages Theatre
Oct 16th: Chicago, IL - The Vic Theatre
Oct 17th: Homestead, PA - Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead
Oct 19th: Kent, OH - Kent Stage Kent
Oct 20th: Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall
Oct 21st: Montreal, QC - Maison Symphonique
Oct 22nd: Blu-Ray Release - Hugh Laurie: Live on the Queen Mary
Oct 23rd: Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
Oct 25th: New York, NY - Town Hall Theatre
Oct 26th: Tonawanda, NY - Riviera Theater
Oct 27th: Northampton, MA - Calvin Theatre & Performing Arts Centre
Oct 29th: Boston, MA - Wilbur Theatre
Oct 30th: Glenside, PA - Keswick Theatre
Nov 1st: Durham, NC - Carolina Theatre
Nov 2nd: Jacksonville, FL - Florida Theatre
Nov 3rd: Atlanta, GA - Buckhead Theatre
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