Actor Tom Ellis stars as Dr. William Rush on the new medical drama RUSH, Thursdays at 9pm on USA. His character is a complex and dark with addictions of his own. He works on-call providing “medical fixes” to the rich, famous and troubled of Los Angeles. I caught up with Tom on a rare day off from filming in Vancouver. Read on as the handsome actor shares thoughts on his first stateside TV break, his awesome director, and getting down to Debbie Gibson. You’re originally from Wales. After a few pilots that didn’t get picked up, this is your first show stateside. How are you enjoying it so far? I’d have to say it’s the best role on TV I’ve ever gotten. It’s pretty exciting. I’m really enjoying our Vancouver location. It’s really beautiful, kind of magical here. I wouldn’t change a thing about this whole experience. Have you found a few endearing qualities to this rogue, dark, drug addicted doctor, you play so well? I find ways to sympathize and empathize with him. I try to understand him and the road that has gotten him where he is. He’s been disappointed in his life on many different levels. He has faults as everyone does. Innately he is a good man, and a good doctor with genuine concern for people. How does he get compensated for these personal visits to those in need? I lay out all the terms and conditions. It’s a lot of cash upfront. This may not be right, but it exists. It’s a reality. What is your view on Rush’s rather arrogant attitude? He is very intelligent, so he walks in on situations with the belief that he’s above it. Some of his attitude comes from the power he feels having people lives in his hands. But generally he uses humor to navigate through life. As for his rocky relationship with his ex, do you think love could be the catalyst to straighten him self up and win her back? Love is the one thing in life that makes everyone stop and assess their situation and themselves. It makes people think what would I need to do, what would I need to sacrifice, to make this work. That’s when you know its real. I hear you’ve compiled a playlist of 80’s pop tunes you listen to before work. How did that come about? The director and I put some songs together that not only my character gets into, but we’re also big fans of. It includes Debbie Gibson and Katrina and the Waves. It really sets the tone for the workday. We had one of Debbie Gibson’s songs featured on an episode, and she actually got in touch to let me know how much she loved the show. It was thrilling. What’s it like working on the writer and director Jonathan Levine’s set? Jonathon is super intelligent, but also fun and a bit childlike. He wants everyone to bring imagination and fun to their character. The shackles are of on his set. As long as it services the character, it’s all good. The guest stars have all commented on how fun the whole experience on set is. Jonathon is one of the coolest guys I’ve ever met. For many doctors it’s a struggle not to care too much for their patient. Is this sometimes challenging for bad boy Rush? Ultimately if you choose to be a doctor you have that caring gene that makes you want to help people. At some point you have to develop a new layer of skin to get through. As an actor being in touch with that sensitive side is something I embrace so the character won’t be totally revolting. Rush has trouble seeing a woman in trouble. And he has a soft spot for children, he really connects with kids.
-words by Tina Turnbow