'Body of Proof' Set Visit: Stars Talk Pig Lungs, Pranks & No-Nonsense Women
by Chris Harnick, posted Mar 28th 2011 12:45PM
TV Squad hit the Providence, Rhode Island set in December to find out what sets 'Body of Proof,' which now premieres Tues., March 29 at 10PM, apart from other procedural shows (think girl power!). The cast also talked about the joys of playing with blood and guts, and of course, working with the one and only Dana Delany.
Delany herself said the the blood, guts and general "body stuff" is one of the best parts about working on the medical examiner drama.
"I think that's the most fun for me, learning stuff about the body that I never knew before," Delany said. "Diseases, things that could kill you, stuff like that I find fascinating.
"One scene we had a buzzsaw where I got to cut into a cranium. We have great special effects -- I hope people who are offended by that stuff won't be bothered, but it's really interesting stuff," she said.
'Body of Proof' follows Delany's Dr. Megan Hunt, a divorced mom who was once a brain surgeon. Following a traumatic accident, Hunt became subject to random bouts of numbness and cramping in her hands. After losing a patient on the table due to the condition, Hunt's career as a neurosurgeon was over. However, she found a new calling: medical examiner.
Jeri Ryan plays Dr. Kate Murphy, Philadelphia's chief medical examiner and the boss of Delany's Dr. Hunt.
"I love, first of all, the medical aspect of it," Ryan said about her role. "Because I was big science geek in high school. I was that close to majoring in biomedical engineering -- that part of it fascinates me."
Ryan's also into the blood-and-guts aspect of the show. One of her on-set highlights? Dissecting a pig lung.
The graphic nature of the series is just a wee bit different than Delany's old gig, a three-year stint on ABC's 'Desperate Housewives.' You can take the woman off of Wisteria Lane, but it's hard to take the Wisteria out of the woman.
"It took me about a week into the pilot to switch from 'Housewives' to 'Body of Proof' because there was this sort of edginess to 'Housewives' in terms of heightened reality," Delany said. "I had to sort of bring it down and be a little bit more real."
However, Delany was quick to point out that 'Body of Proof' has plenty of "wacky humor" amidst the drama of solving deaths that reminds her of 'Desperate Housewives.' There's got to be a little humor involved with such intense subject matter, both on-screen and off, right?
Windell Middlebrooks, who plays Dr. Curtis Brumfield on the new ABC series, said costar Ryan is the queen of off-camera antics.
"Let me tell you what about Jeri Ryan," Middlebrooks said. "She is the one who will mess with you during your closeup. She's right off camera, because she's sweet enough to stay so they don't have to put a stand-in. When she's there, she's cutting eyes and giving you little looks, just to get you to break because she wants it to happen."
Middlebrooks doesn't hold it against her, though -- he said working with TV veterans Delany and Ryan has been a pleasure.
Though Delany and Ryan headline the formidable cast, the ensemble also includes Middlebrooks, 'Drew Carey Show' veteran John Carroll Lynch, 'The Wire' star Sonja Sohn, Nicholas Bishop of 'Past Life' and indie movie actor Geoffrey Arend, husband of 'Mad Men' beauty Christina Hendricks (yes, she will guest star during season 1 as two different characters).
Delany said she thinks women will enjoy 'Body of Proof' because there are strong female lead characters. "I've always thought television was a female medium," she said. "I think that women tend to rule the clicker in the house and they're the ones that tend to keep coming back to their shows. I think women are really going to like this show because we do have great female characters."
The women on the series are smart, unapologetic and they don't have to be nice all the time, Delany said. "That's my biggest thing. I hate it when actresses are always asked to play nice. I think, 'Well, I'm not nice all the time. I can show a little edge.'"