'Rush' Interviews: The Cast on Pushing Characters' Limits, Harry Hamlin and Music
'Rush' Interviews: The Cast on Pushing Characters' Limits, Harry Hamlin and Music
Jeff Dodge
Jeff Dodge
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
One of this summer's most promising new shows is Rush, about a private doctor who caters to the elite in Los Angeles. BuddyTV had the chance to visit the set in Vancouver, and talked with the cast about trying to keep Dr. William Rush in check, Harry Hamlin (who has been cast as an important figure in Rush's life) and how music is playing a big role on the show.

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Rush Interviews: The Cast on Being a Rogue Doctor, Friendship and Strange Medical Cases >>>

Can Rush Be Reined In?

The titular character is a good doctor, but he's made some bad choices in his life, and he is known to travel to the wild side, so to speak. So what do you do if you are his assistant? That's what Eve, played by Sarah Habel, has to contend with. "I think [Eve] thinks he's brilliant, thinks he's a tornado and worth protecting," Habel described. "She wants to take care of him, for sure."

"[Rush and Eve] have such a strong symbiotic relationship that it feeds her too," the actress went on to say. "It's not just all in service of him, although I think she wouldn't admit it -- I will, but she won't admit it outright." And when asked if her character will ever get tired of being his assistant and trying to clean up his act, she replied, "I think everybody has their limits. ... And with this writing team, I don't think that they will shy away from pushing all of the characters' limits, so we'll see about that."

But before they can reach their limits, Eve as Rush's assistant is there to make sure he doesn't go too far over the edge. "She's always questioning right away. It's her job to check him. So if any time he says or does almost anything, she's going to be like, hang on, wait a minute, is this really good for you? Is this good for your business? Is it good for your health? That kind of thing. She sees that as her job, to keep him in check always," as a "moral anchor."

Stars Tom Ellis and Larenz Tate had talked about the dynamic between their characters, since Rush and Alex are best friends, yet very different from each other. And as Habel discussed above, there is this additional dynamic between Rush and Eve, which could potentially get the latter in trouble. "Dealing with this level of money and power ... I think there's always an element of the stakes are really high for them all the time because of the nature of their work." But at the end of the day, she said, "they really have each other's backs, and you'll see that [on the show]."

And that last point ties in with what Habel says is something viewers wouldn't expect from the show. "There's some heart to it," she said. "Rush has a lot to offer as a human being and I think we get to [see] what happened to his goodness. And especially you see that in his relationships with Eve and Alex and Manny, and you get to see some heart that maybe isn't what you're expecting and thinking [will happen]."

Is Manny the Devil on Rush's Shoulder or the Other Way Around?

Speaking of Manny, Rick Gonzalez is the actor behind this character. With Rush being a private doctor, he sometimes goes through unconventional methods to accomplish what he needs to do, and that includes working with someone like Manny, who's a dealer.

"What I like about Manny is it seems like he connects more to the idea of Rush's lifestyle instead of the lifestyle of someone like ... one of the gangbangers in the pilot," Gonzalez said. "Manny does know how to navigate that world as well, and I think that's cool. He's someone who can hop on a bike, deal with someone like Rush and then also deal with someone [who's more sketchy]."

Considering he's a dealer, you would think he'd be the devil on Rush's shoulder. But when you take into account what Gonzalez said above and what we know about Rush already, "It feels like Rush is more of the devil on Manny's shoulder. ... I still want to make Manny a likable person, not someone who you have to work hard to redeem. ... Because he's gregarious and because he's outgoing and free-spirited, he's able to take those social skills and just use it to his advantage to get what he wants." But he teased, "Now, what he wants, we're going to figure out in the show."

Despite Rush being "the devil on Manny's shoulder," Manny does have a lot of respect for the doctor because of how successful he is with his career, and the feeling may be mutual. "I think, naturally, [Rush] sees good in Manny; they get along. He sees a good kid. He sees Manny as not some asshole drug-dealer just trying to take advantage of him, so I think just on that human level, he enjoys who Manny is."

Harry Hamlin as Rush's Father

During the first season, Rush's father will be introduced, and he'll be played by none other than Harry Hamlin in a recurring role. Tom Ellis is excited that Hamlin has joined the show, saying simply, "He's awesome."

But how will that dynamic play out, especially since this isn't a smooth-sailing relationship? "This is at the heart of why Rush is the person you find in the pilot. His relationship with his father is complicated. ... You can't get away from the fact that they're father and son -- it's never that simple. You can never just blink someone out of your life, especially when they're your dad."

"There's a lot of denial in Rush's life about his relationship with his dad," he went on to say. But there is a flip side to this: "I also think there's a lot of denial from his dad's side, and that is a relationship that certainly adds a dimension to the story that is needed."

Rush's Musical Tastes

One of the things that you'll notice when watching the premiere is that music is a big part of the show. There are multiple instances where music is playing over a scene -- and many times it's Rush listening to those songs in his car and elsewhere. Ellis says that Rush's musical influences are very much centered around '80s music, including a Debbie Gibson track. "The Debbie Gibson thing was in the initial script that [creator] Jonathan [Levine] wrote and I was like, oh my god, this is great."

Ellis likes to create playlists when he's working, which sets the tone on how to dive into a role, since music is a big part of his life as well. "I talked with Jonathan, and Jonathan said, yeah, that's great, that's awesome -- just know that Rush has a terrible taste in music. And I was like, great! So do I!"

He continued by saying that this allowed him to delve into a lot of guilty pleasure music. "I think the reason that he listens to the music he does is the same thing about [him] aquaplaning through life. It's kind of surface, euphoric music; it's not really Tom Waits heartbreak and I'm going to go into myself and talk about how miserable I am. It's the opposite end of the spectrum: it's Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine" because that's kind of what helps block out reality." So expect music to be a defining aspect on Rush, if the pilot is anything to go by. 
 

Rush premieres Thursday, July 17 at 9pm on USA.

(Image courtesy of USA)

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