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October 10, 2015

'Royal Pains' Star Paulo Costanzo on the Brotherly Love Dynamic and The Fonz

by Annette Bourdeau, posted Aug 29th 2011 2:00PM
There are two things audiences just can't get enough of: medical dramas and shows about the rich and fabulous. That probably explains why 'Royal Pains' is such a hit.

The show stars Mark Feuerstein and Paulo Costanzo as two brothers named Hank and Evan who run a concierge medical practice in the Hamptons. Hank is the MD, while Evan runs the financial side of the business. In Season 2, Henry Winkler joins the cast as their flaky father.

We caught up with the energetic Costanzo for a Season 2 primer. He fills us in on everything from the brotherly love dynamic to the luxe mansions to what it was like working with The Fonz.

This is a pretty interesting take on the medical genre. Why do you think people are so fascinated by medical shows these days?
I think everyone's always going to be interested in medical shows, cop shows and military stuff because they're things that are high-intensity. With this show specifically the medical [aspect] is one of the smaller characters. The Hamptons is a huge character on the show. The show is really about the characters. Hank Lawson is a Brooklyn ER doctor, down and out because he got slapped with a malpractice suit and his whole life fell apart because of it. His wily accountant brother (played by me) whisks him away to the Hamptons. We're at a party, he saves a model's life and is noticed by Boris, a German baron played by Campbell Scott who is brilliant, and in the Hamptons, suddenly Hank is a concierge doctor to the rich and not-so-rich.

But the second season! Let's talk about the second season. You're going to see guest stars like Marcia Gay Harden, who won an Oscar for 'Pollock,' Michael Rapaport from 'True Romance' and 'Beautiful Girls,' The Big Show the wrestler guest stars, John Legend guest stars and most notably, Henry Winkler, The Fonz, plays our father and a whole bunch of crazy shenanigans ensue with that triangular relationship -- the two brothers and our father.

What was it like working with Henry Winkler?
Henry Winkler is one of the nicest most amazing people I have worked with. He is so nice that it's sometimes eerie. He's a wonderful guy.

Were you a 'Happy Days' fan growing up?
I never watched it. I saw it a couple of times growing up but I wasn't a fan. I didn't know how famous he was until I walked in public with him -- people go crazy.

What's the craziest thing anyone said to him while you were with him?
Well, this elderly woman came up to him and said 'Omigod, you're the Fonz! Can I touch you?' It was really sweet.

But second season, another notable thing. My character, Evan, in the first season, was a very superficial, charming, funny, kind of annoying character. The writers really decided to take him in a different direction. They took a lot off me, they got to know me more and he kind of grows in the second season, he evolves. He gets the most evolved character of the year award this season, partially because he has a love interest. He falls in love for the first time in his life, and that unlocks a whole side of him that he didn't even know existed.

We see a lot of spectacular houses. Do you have any favorites?
It's almost like every week it gets one-upped. We keep going to these incredibly over-the-top ridiculously excessive houses. We've definitely shot at a few castles that are inhabited by single families, which is ridiculous to me. Some of these places, it's like heaven. It's literally like entering heaven, the surroundings. The houses are big, but it's the property where they are that makes me wish that I was that rich. It's one of the cool perks of this job is that I get to see these cool places that I never in a million years would see otherwise.

I read that Jay Chandrasekhar from Broken Lizard ['Beerfest,' 'Super Troopers'] directed one of the episodes in Season 2. What was it like working with him?
He directs The Hankover. I believe it's episode 8 of the second season. It's based on 'The Hangover.' It's out of order, and has to do with people not remembering what happened the night before because the party was so crazy. He was the perfect director to hire for that one, and it's actually a lot of peoples' favorite episode of the second season.

What's he like as a director?
He's just a cool goofy guy. He's really chill. He wears flip-flops to work, he's the coolest guy. He's a family man. He was writing a script he's working on in between takes, but somehow not in an annoying way at all. He's really cool.

For those of you who haven't seen the show, you don't need to go and watch the first season, it really recaps well at the beginning. It's easy to jump right in. It's a really light and easy show to watch. What I like about the second season is it starts to go deeper and get a little more serious and the stakes go up more. The father son relationship between Henry and both Mark and I is interesting to watch. The family dynamics with a father we haven't seen in 20 years cause for a lot of emotion. It gave Mark and I a lot of kind of deeper emotions to play. Both of us were really happy for that.

Anything else you'd like to add about Season 2?
Yeah, watch it!

Season 2 of 'Royal Pains' premieres in Canada on Showcase on Wednesday, August 31 at 10PM. (It airs on USA in the United States, and it just finished its third season.)

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