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'House' Star Odette Annable Talks New Doctor Hazing On Set & Pulling Double Duty With 'Breaking In'

by Maggie Furlong, posted Oct 3rd 2011 12:00PM
Odette Annable, 'House''House' is mixing things up again for its eighth season (premieres Mon., Oct. 3, 9PM ET on Fox), bringing in two new female doctors to fill the void where Lisa Edelstein's Cuddy and Olivia Wilde's Thirteen used to be.

Yes, we'll get a bit more Thirteen, just not much ... but once you meet Fox's other new girls, you might not mind. Comedienne Charlyne Yi's Dr. Chi Park, who shares a bit of Thirteen's tightly wound nature, is introduced in the second episode, and Odette Annable's whip-smart Dr. Jessica Adams proves she's not afraid to challenge House in the season premiere.

I caught up with Annable to talk about Adams, her potential romantic interests at Princeton-Plainsboro and her efforts to be House's equal.

Annable also talked about being hazed on set, pulling double duty on 'Breaking In' (and wanting a crossover episode between the two shows) and whether or not she'd want her real-life husband, 'Brothers & Sisters' alum Dave Annable, to come guest star.

Congratulations on the new gig! I love that 'House' is always trying to mix it up, bring in new people, keep things intereting.
Thank you! I'm so humbled and I'm so grateful to have this opportunity because, you know, it's very rare that a show's in its eighth season and is still so up to par. The caliber of the writing and acting is so amazing.

What about this character made you want the job?
Well, the thing that's so interesting about her is she comes from a very wealthy family, and she doesn't have to work, but she wants to. She's so passionate about medicine, and that's a testament to her character, because she works at the prison and she really doesn't have to. She went to Johns Hopkins, which is one of the best medical schools you can go to, so that shows a lot about her character. And her thing is she's sort of an overachiever with a cause; her cause is to help people. So her dynamic with House is also very interesting.

'House' Season 8 premiere

Well, they do meet in prison ...
Yes, when he meets her in the prison, she's a prison doctor, and he thinks he's seeing her give a patient a misdiagnosis so, of course, in his House way, he must butt in. She learns who he is, and she eventually knows that he's sort of a legend in her field, so unlike other people, I think she finds him intriguingly offensive. She's not so thrown off by him. I think she's more amused than anything. And she also admires what he's done, what he's accomplished and how much of a genius he is. She can learn a lot from him -- she's really used to being the smartest person in the room, but now she knows she's the second smartest person. She's trying to sort of catch up with him.

She's definitely a smarty pants -- is that a whole other level of acting, when you're having to spout these complicated names of medicines and strange conditions?
Absolutely. I've been sort of thrown into this medical world, and I've never experienced it in my life, and these characters are supposed to state these medical terms as if they've said it a million times, they're a part of their vocabulary. Like bologna sandwich. Ceftriaxone. [Laughs] It's odd. It's such a different way of acting, but I'm so lucky to not have been stereotyped this far in my career.

If her cause really is to help people, no one needs help -- especially now -- more than House. How quickly does your character become a new touch point for him this season?
Right away you see that they have a connection, and towards the end of the [premiere] episode, they end up helping each other. House is sort of stuck in a rut, and I think he brings her on to help out, then she ends up sticking around for a while because I think he does find her interesting. He's sort of poking at her and trying to get everything that's inside of her out. And slowly, he starts to do that, which is great for my character because you start to see some of her backstory.

Charlyne Yi, 'House'You're not the only newbie -- Charlyne Yi is also a new recruit this year, which must be nice for you guys.
She's such a crack-up. We have so much fun together every day, and I think it'll be really great to see the dynamic between the old team and the new team. You've got these people that've been working together for so many years that know House inside and out, know how he works, and then you've got two new characters that are experiencing him for the very first time. It's sort of a fresh take and new eyes for the audience.

And that's important -- after so many season, we sometimes forget that House is such an ass sometimes.
Exactly! Everybody's so used to his antics that you sort of know where he's going, but now these two new characters are very thrown off by how he deals with medicine. My character questions the fact that he likes to treat before testing. It's because he's such a genius and she's trying to catch up with that. She's trying to be his equal, but she doesn't have the wisdom or the knowledge yet.

'House' Season 8 cast

Your character seems like she's just Dr. Chase's [Jesse Spencer] type ...
It's funny ... everybody keeps asking me if I'm going to be a romantic interest for House or Jesse's character or somebody. I think the nice thing that David Shore has written for me is that she's got her own thing, her own issues and her own backstory to deal with before, I think, they're even going start jumping into anything romantic. But I can definitely see how she could fall for House. Or how she could fall for Chase. Really any of the characters -- they've each got their own thing going on.

Obviously Hugh Laurie is hysterical, but who's the funniest when the cameras stop rolling?
Robert Sean Leonard is so funny in his own dry way, and so is Peter Jacobson. They're all such characters, and they're sort of hazing the new girls and sort of showing us the ropes, which is nice. The show is so heavy, and it's such a challenge, so it's nice to be able to keep it light sometimes.

What is the 'House' hazing ritual? Every show has one.
Every show does have one. Because, on this show, you've got to get your words down, a lot of times actors will hold their sides and start memorizing right before a take. Olivia Wilde actually showed us this ... when somebody's really concentrating and they're trying to be really serious, she just slaps the sides out of their hands. [Laughs] It's very frustrating, but it's very funny.

'Breaking In'A lot of you guys are multi-tasking: We know we'll be losing Olivia for most of the season to movies, Hugh just released a new CD, Peter is popping up on 'The Good Wife' again, but you ... are starring in another Fox show! How's that gonna work when 'Breaking In' goes back into production?
That's going to be very challenging. Especially since last year, on 'Breaking In,' it was a new show and the hours on new shows are very challenging. We were working 15 or 16-hour days. So I don't know how it's going to work with 'House' and doing both -- I'm going to be very, very busy -- but it's the best problem you could have. I'm just lucky to be able to do a drama and a comedy on the same network. I'm flattered that Fox wanted me to do that, and that both sets of bosses are going to be able to work that out for me.

Maybe you should just do all crossover episodes to make your life easier! I'd actually love to see one little wink and nod to the audience, in either show ...
I keep pitching that! I keep saying 'Breaking In' should break into House's office, and then my character Melanie and my 'House' character Adams could sort of take a look at each other and battle it off.

You fighting you? Every man (and woman) would tune in to see that!
Yeah, me fighting me, I love it.

Dave AnnableI also feel like your husband, Dave Annable, needs to come play -- on either show.
Oh my gosh, he has to! I was able to come on 'Brothers & Sisters' to play his love interest for a bit, so I know that ['Breaking In' creator] Adam Goldberg adores him, and Dave's very good friends with Bret Harrison now, and everybody over at 'Breaking In,' so there is a good possibility that that could happen, which would be very cool. And who knows? He can definitely come on 'House' for a bit, too. We'll see ... it was challenging to work with him the first time, and so the second time, I don't know how that'll be. We'll probably be at each other's throats. But hey, that's marriage! [Laughs]

Tell us: Are you excited for the new season of 'House'?

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Missed the new House last week so this week was a bit confusing. Guess Cuddy is gone for good and a few others, not happy about that but I can't stand the actor Yi, what a jerk....she looks and talks like she is about 13 years old. Sure miss the old House and not sure how many more episodes I will watch of the new one! Sorry...

October 18 2011 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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