I recently had the opportunity to participate in conference calls regarding House, along with representatives from the Toronto Sun, TVGuide.com, Zap2It.com, Soap Opera Weekly and People.com, among others. I first got to speak with Mira Sorvino, who is guest starring on the February 3rd episode, airing immediately after the Super Bowl. She plays a psychiatrist stationed at the South Pole. When she becomes ill during her assignment, diagnosis becomes tricky as she is the only doctor stationed there. To read the interview, jump with me.
During the episode, Mira’s character, Cate, is the only doctor at the research station who becomes ill in the middle of the assignment and has to diagnose herself. Because of the location and lack of supplies she feels she wants to use, she has to become adept at making her own diagnostic tools. She said,
It was pretty interesting how we sort of jerry-rigged various instruments to try and mimic the diagnostic capacity of a real hospital. The thing with the egg in the middle of the water was quite inventive.
Also because of the location, Cate is obviously not in the hospital physically. She and House connect via webcam, which meant Mira didn’t get to spend a lot of time with everyone on set. But she doesn’t feel like she missed out on much of the overall House experience, saying,
I didn’t get to work with Cuddy, and some of the other doctors. I did have interaction with some of the doctors, not all of them. But I have to say, it was pretty great having all these on-on-one scenes with House. So I didn’t really feel like I missed out on anything. I do know that if the opportunity arose for this character to be revisited and for a more intense relationship, perhaps romance, to grow between them – because she’s a teaching fellow at the hospital, so she’s on leave to the South Pole. She doesn’t live there permanently – that would be really neat and fun. And then I would assume I would have more interactions with everybody else as well. And they were all really great, too, to work with. They were all really generous and sweet and talented.
Mira also talked about how much Cate and House were alike, mentioning a chemistry between the pair.
At first I think it’s more founded on a little bit of skepticism on both sides. He doesn’t really believe in psychiatry at all and sort of mocks her for that, doesn’t think of her as a real doctor. She is the only medical professional on site to help the whole Arctic exploring team, or Antarctic exploring team down there, so she doesn’t want to use up any of the medical supplies on theoretical diagnoses.
Then as they start communicating for some reason, I think he feels sympathy for her when she’s really all alone and has to diagnosis herself constantly and things go from bad to worse. They understand each other. I feel that she gets him in a way that none of the actual people in his world get him. They’re similar in that they’re both loners and strong-willed and there’s this nice little subplot, chemistry, sexual tension. There’s actually a bizarre co-mingling of that.
And the medical mystery side when she has to give herself a self-exam nude with a webcam, and he’s watching from the comfort of his living room with a roaring fire going on and he starts playing “Let’s Get It On”. But it’s kind of odd because she’s looking for cancer. It’s a pretty interesting, really well written episode.
Mira has been a huge fan of House and Hugh Laurie for years, so when I asked about what she was looking forward to most and what had been the best part of the whole experience, she said,
I think, kicking it back and forth with Hugh. I think that was my thing that I was most excited about. [After was] the same thing. I think just acting with him was great and getting to relate to him was pretty great.
Even though Mira has been resistant to taking a full-time TV gig, even turning down some unmentioned offers, she would consider returning to House.
There’s talk of it, but because of the writer’s strike, no one knows what’s going to happen. No one knows the plot lines because the writers have been unable to work since then, and they’re obviously the ones who will decide what happens to this character and to House. But I would love it. I would love to come back for an extended story arc, it was fun.
Mira was a pleasure to speak with and could not have been more gracious about answering everyone’s questions. The Superbowl episode, titled “Frozen”, airs February 3rd at approximately 10:15/9:15c. And check back tomorrow for the 2nd half: my interview with Olivia Wilde, who plays Thirteen!