ER Cast Interview
As ER goes into its 15th and final season, find out how
the cast are feeling. *Contains spoilers*
QUESTION: I'd just like to hear from each of you, because you've come in at different points in the show, what does being in the final season of ER mean to each of you?
DAVID LYONS: I think, for me, it's probably different - well, for
Angela as well.
ANGELA BASSETT: We're probably the newest.
DAVID LYONS: Yeah.
ANGELA BASSETT: The youngest, newbies.
DAVID LYONS: Yeah, the youngest. What does it mean? I couldn't even put it into words essentially, because it's - it started off 15 years ago at such a pace, and it's ending at that same pace. It's almost like we're launching out of this series as opposed to just sort of letting it die out. There's so many great people coming back, so many of the big guns coming back. And to be a part of that, to be a part of a show which has been done for so long and has never dropped its standard and to see all those familiar faces and be able to act with those familiar faces, it's incredible.
PARMINDER NAGRA: I agree.
DAVID LYONS: You've been here for six years.
PARMINDER NAGRA: It's changed - for me personally, it's changed my life so much on so many levels, apart from anything, just moving from the UK to Los Angeles and basically transplanting myself here and feeling like it's finally home here, which is lovely. And my friends are here and - I'm actually getting a bit emotional now.
SCOTT GRIMES: Do you want some pineapple?
PARMINDER NAGRA: Angela?
ANGELA BASSETT: I've been here since May, so I'm still, you know, pixilated. I'm still very, very - just excited. It feels like a brand-new show for me, and it's my first foray into series television. And it couldn't be with a greater family and a greater gang of comrades. And it's just been wonderful. I'm not sad yet. I'm still ecstatic. And I think I'm spoiled, you know. And it's great work, great scripts, so it reminds me of the beginning days when you were just out of drama school or whatever and you just love the work. You don't care how long. You don't care where, how long it takes, how many hours. It's a joy to be on the set. I'm loving it.
SCOTT GRIMES: I started with Mindy and Linda. And if this was the last show I ever did - it's one of those things where if I never get another job after this, this is a great ending to anybody's career. Because one, the crew - I don't know if you guys have met them or toured the set or anything, but the best group of people you could ever work with as far as talent, actors, cameramen, all of that. So to find something better than this is just going to be really difficult. I'm actually really sad as well because this is a big part of my family that's going away. And also, as far as a generation that grew up - it's 15 years - the television I really watched, "ER" was a part of it. So that's ending as well. So that's - I was a huge fan of the show before, and so that's now going away. There's a lot of stuff happening emotionally for all of us. More Mindy than anyone else.
LINDA CARDELLINI: For me, sometimes when we're out and people will say they watch the show, there will be certain people who have watched the show for 15 years. They'll say, "I've seen every episode for 15 years." And to be part of that, a show - I don't know anything that I've relied on every week for 15 years in terms of - aside from my family or friends. But to have a show like that and to be there in the end when - I think this season, for me, has been one of my favorites. I've been on the show for six years, and this season, I think, has been so rich with the past of the show and the present and also sort of looking toward the future. And I liked what David said about it's sort of not just petering out. It's doing really well, and people are really watching and paying attention. That feels really good for us, but it also is quite a privilege to be there for the end. And I'm glad that I got to be there. I'll miss everybody too, but I don't want to cry.
QUESTION: That said, what can we expect from the final season? What's in store?
LINDA CARDELLINI: Well, there's a lot of people coming back ... Anthony Edwards and Laura Innes and Shane West and Paul McCrane, they've come back. There will also be several more people who come back. Right now we have Eriq La Salle, who used to play Dr. Benton. He's directing. And I think they have some interesting storylines that they won't even tell us about because actors have big mouths.
SCOTT GRIMES: Because they're afraid we'll tell you.
QUESTION: I was just going to say how emotional
has it been having former cast members coming
PARMINDER NAGRA: I've got to say there was one moment where there was - some of the newer cast was sat on one side of the hallway, and you had Anthony Edwards and Paul McCrane and Laura Innes sat on the other side. And it really felt like - to me, like I wanted to put my hand in through this invisible glass and just like - it was so bizarre, seeing them and hearing them, and especially the two characters who were probably never supposed to come back, which were Romano and Dr. Greene, the two characters that died, and suddenly sat there, was a bit weird.
QUESTION: Angela, what was a challenge for you - what is a challenge, coming to this show the last year, knowing it's going to end, and still - you still have to bring certain energy and something very powerful, knowing that this is the last year? It is quite an experience. So in which state of mind are you today, knowing all those facts?
ANGELA BASSETT: Well, you can't act that. You just come in, you read the script, you prepare, and you give it the full measure of your devotion. I love what I do. So you give it the full measure. You respect those that you work with. I respect them as individuals. I respect their talents. And you just come to work, ready to give as good as you're going to get.
QUESTION: About giving as good as it gets, how crazy is the wrap party going to be?
LINDA CARDELLINI: I hope it's good.
PARMINDER NAGRA: Yeah, I hope it's good.
SCOTT GRIMES: All "ER" wrap parties, even when it's not the final year, are huge.
LINDA CARDELLINI: Yeah. They're kind of keeping that as quiet as the Clooney return. We don't know anything about it.
SCOTT GRIMES: But I'm sure it's going to be - because they do something cool here. They invite practically every actor who has ever been on the show to every wrap party. So we have, I'm sure ...
LINDA CARDELLINI: ... 200,000 actors.
SCOTT GRIMES: But it's going to be pretty big.
QUESTION: What kind of feedback do you get from the fans right now? Are they upset, or what's going on?
LINDA CARDELLINI: I've found people seem to be hopeful that it is really not ending. I think for 15 years - I think after a certain point, they kept saying, "It might be the end. It might be the end. It might be the end." And I think that some people are kind of in denial that it is truly ending. They're like, "Oh, it's not going to end. You guys are doing really well. It's going to keep going; right?"
SCOTT GRIMES: They seem to think that it's getting
cancelled when really - you know, whether that's the term they're
using, it isn't. It's not. And that - They're like,
"Oh, I'm so sorry you guys are getting cancelled." And I keep
wanting to - it's the only thing - I'm like, "Yeah, we're going
away. We're not getting canceled. The show has just
decided to end, and it's ending on a high note." So I keep
ANGELA BASSETT: Is it really the last? Is it really?
SCOTT GRIMES: Yeah.
ANGELA BASSETT: No.
SCOTT GRIMES: And it is. I think even - like we say it now, but I didn't even believe it until about maybe a month ago. I always thought, "Oh, look, this great resurgence of people," but I can see their point. They can't really go back on their thing now, and it's good to end it like this.
QUESTION: Can I have a little followup? Do you already know what you're going to do after the show? Take a vacation or ...
SCOTT GRIMES: I'm talking too much, so you guys...
LINDA CARDELLINI: I'm going to take a little vacation and sleep in.
SCOTT GRIMES: We were all thinking of going to Disney
World. I swear to God. It's no joke. We were all
going to plan - because, again, we're real close. We were all
going to go to Disney World as a last kind of bash in
February. But who knows? But as far as work ...
ANGELA BASSETT: It's an actor's life. Who knows?
SCOTT GRIMES: You never know. I mean, just kind of take a little -- this show is nine months of hard work. And Angela was saying the other day - she's like, "I love working out. I haven't worked out in" ... you can't. There's no time to do anything. So it would be a good time to get back to what you love and spend time with your kids.
QUESTION: I wanted to know from each of you if you have one of your most loved or most memorable episode, something that you really like that stood out just personally that was your favourite.
LINDA CARDELLINI: Mine hasn't aired yet ... [but] I think it's one of my favourites. I have this huge story where my son gets hurt. And that's been a favourite of my own personally. But in terms of working with everybody, I think that when Mekhi's character - when Dr. Pratt died at the end of last season, that was some of the most fun I had ever had. I mean, it was so tragic. The episode was so tragic, but we all knew - you know, Scott and Parminder and Maura and all the people who were on the show at the time knew that it was ending and that they were going to leave. We already knew that Mekhi was going to leave. And we had worked together for so many years that that episode was incredibly special. Most of the time we're in different parts of the hospital, and for a lot of that episode, we were all in the same room. And there was something really magical about being there together with your friends, knowing that the end is near and all being in the same scenes together, mourning somebody leaving - you know, his character is dying, but he was also leaving the show. So there was something really connected and unbelievable about that episode personally and, I think, professionally.
SCOTT GRIMES: I agree. I like any episode where -
because there's so few people on the show now, any episode where -
it's very rare that we're in the same scenes together because
there's different storylines. There's always one per episode where
everybody kind of crosses each other in admit, and those are always
my favourite. I couldn't pick one. When I first got to
the show, the Africa stuff I just loved. This was years
ago. Then there was one I loved called "The Student," where
she (Parminder Nagra) was kind of learning everything, which is a
big part of "ER" - over the years it has been bringing new people
in and seeing how they cope with being an intern or a med
student. So that whole episode was kind of encompassing
ANGELA BASSETT: You know, I really liked the upcoming episode, "Heal Thyself." And what was really special is that my husband played my husband on the show. So that was special, sort of this ... all this emotional work that we had to do together and jumping to 2002, then '8. So having to play who you were before this tragedy and who you are ... who you became because of it, how it impacted your life and, you know, not get confused between the two. That was ... it was challenging, and it worked, you know.
SCOTT GRIMES: Yeah.
ANGELA BASSETT: It was habit. Thank you. I loved that, getting to work with him. And, of course, the episode coming up where Scott and I get stranded in a snowstorm. So we just get to have fun.
PARMINDER NAGRA: Personally mine was "The Student," which was a few years ago now, which was coming of age for Neela from going from being an intern to a resident. And I just loved the whole premise. I loved the script. And Paul McCrane directed that episode and just was so supportive during that whole thing. It was great. And my other actual personal favourite was the wedding of Luka and Abby.
SCOTT GRIMES: God, yeah.
PARMINDER NAGRA: We had so much fun. It felt like a wedding. And, you know, normally those days, they start off fun, and then it can drag on. The whole day was just a lot of fun. It was great. We were all together, and we had not one, I think, piece of medical dialogue.
SCOTT GRIMES: There wasn't anything in the hospital.
PARMINDER NAGRA: And we all got to wear really nice clothes. So yeah, those two.