When I see Zach Gilford, the first thing that pops into my mind is, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!” Yes, Zach played quarterback Matt Saracen on the iconic Friday Night Lights, which I am a HUGE fan of, by the way. Now he is starring as a doctor and the troubled boyfriend of Jordana Spiro’s Mob Doctor. This isn’t his first time playing a doctor, last season he co-starred on the failed Off the Map, which I also thought was pretty darn good! During a recent interview, he filled us in on some of his insights into the show and his character. Please read on…
TheTwoCents: I’m curious – there was some allusion to the back story of your family. There might be some tension there. And, you know, it being a mob story, family’s really important. Can you speak about tension and where that all might sort of play out?
Zach Gilford: Yeah, I think kind of where some of it’s going to start coming from is, eventually, when my father is like a U.S. attorney or a state’s attorney. And Billy’s being kind of like putting away corrupt governors and siding with more organized crime syndicates, if you will, in Chicago. And so, obviously, it’s something that you kind of just plant seeds for and as the show has life and grows then you start letting those grow and then become more prevalent. But, eventually, down the line, hopefully it’s something that could cause kind of like that sort of conflicting family sort of storyline.
TTC: Can you speak to the tension between the crazy schedule that you both have, and how it might strengthen your relationship?
ZG: Yes, I mean, I think it’s, that right there is that we’re always, I mean, hers is extremely crazy and insane, but, you know, as surgeons you’re always running away, there’s a patient that’s something’s happening, you have to go deal with and, so it’s kind of like, you can never like count on any time together, really. And I think that plays into why she’s able to kind of lead this double life, is because if she’s always running off getting a page or a phone call that she has to be somewhere else, no one really thinks twice about it, because it’s kind of what happens with surgeons. You know, and eventually down the line, it just starts getting a little shadier and gutsier and I sort of start, I don’t know what’s going on, I really, you know, obviously I have no clue that she’s involved with the mob in any way, but I start being very skeptical and be like, what is, like there’s something you’re holding back on me and if you’re not going to at least be honest with me, then what’s the point?
TTC: What’s it been like working with your costar, Jordana?
ZG: We have a lot of fun together, you know? I think we both have similar kind of work ethics where we take it seriously but we also have fun with it, you know? We’re not those kind of very – of actors who need to go in a corner and have complete silence or anything like that and I think we’re both collaborative and we like to like go with what the other person is doing and not just show up and be like I’ve decided that it’s going to happen this way. So, we have had a good time together and, yeah, she’s just, I think she, she’s cool. Sounds stupid but I think it like plays into how she can play this part, because, she’s a normal, like we get down with the guys kind of girl and I think that’s very important for a part like this, because she needs to have an edge and can’t just be this pretty girl, who then pretends to be in that world.
TTC: How key were the show creators, Josh Berman and Rob Wright, to getting you to sign on for the Mob Doctor, and what potential did you see in the scripts that you saw initially?
ZG: You know, I really liked the script initially. I thought it was really well written. I thought it was a really cool concept. And so I sat down and talked with them and it really was kind of seeing where they wanted to go and what their vision of the show was, you know? Because any script you can shoot it ten different ways, stylistically and things like that. And another huge thing was just kind of hearing their approach to how collaborative they like to be with the people they’re working with and up front and very accessible, which has really proven true throughout the process. Anytime we get a script if there’s something we have a question about, or you’re not sure about, I can send them an email and usually, you know, within a couple of hours, I’m able to get on the phone with them and talk it out and, they either kind of get me to understand to why they did it that way or they come over to my side and they kind of like adjust the script a little bit. So it’s been a really nice working process with them.
TTC: After your experiences on Off the Map, did you have to shadow someone this time around to kind of get a feel for the hospital?
ZG: No. I didn’t. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to like bother the surgeons by just like hanging out and I just think it’s kind of weird. Like if I was like, I don’t know, if I was having a surgery or a doctor or whatever and then some actor’s hanging out. I’d be like what are you doing here? I don’t want an actor in the room. I just want doctors.
Enjoy Mob Doctor tonight and every Monday night at 9PM ET on FOX!!
Anne – Assistant TO the Editor-in-Chief