We had the great opportunity to chat with actor Chi McBride over the phone today, and we’re here to bring you the goodies! Never shy of witty remarks, McBride had to take a break from the green (literally, since he was enjoying a nice round of golfing) to talk to us today, and he gave some very interesting insight and perspective on his role as temporary Hospital Administrator Garland Bryce on TNT’s medical drama “HawthoRNe” (Tuesday nights at 10/9 c. Starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Vartan and Marc Anthony as well this season).
Since we’re not about to miss the opportunity to dig up some spoilerish dirt, we followed up on this Michael Ausiello report from yesterday about possible shocking comebacks on “House” and we asked Mr McBride about the chances for his character Edward Vogler to return to stir up the pot at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.
Interestingly, both Bryce on “HawthoRNe” and Vogler on “House” are hospital administrators who arrive and completely throw the professional lives of people on the show upside down, but the similarities between the two characters end there, according to McBride.
Alessandra: How does it feel to play these very serious roles and come to a show and throw everything upside down? This character on HawthoRNe, Garland Bryce, is similar to your House character Edward Vogler in that sense.
Chi McBride: “I knew someone was going to make that comparison sooner or later, I guess then that it’ll be you”
“I’ll say right away that the similarities between them end at being involved in the administration of a hospital, and I’ll explain.
There’s a big difference between the two guys, in that whereas one guy (Vogler) just threw his wallet around, this guy (Bryce) is a different animal. This one throws his intellect around, in terms of challenging people by throwing them off balance mentally and challenging them to do their job. He comes and shakes things up but he’s not like Vogler who just came in and threw money around in order to take over the hospital. He will always try and challenge you but he does that operating in a very different way from Vogler’s. He will push you to the limit mentally but he does that because his objective is to find the best possible solution.”
Alessandra: “There was an interesting scene in this sense in last week’s episode, when Bryce literally walked into a fountain and offered Christina water to heal, to challenge her and see if she was actually ready to go back to work, to see if she would take it, which would have meant she was ready for the job (note: Christina didn’t accept the healing water offer). That’s something Vogler would never have done, and it was a very interesting, different way of approaching the matter.”
Chi McBride: “Yes, it was and like I said this guy has a different approach. So the two characters are very different from that point of view, and you see Bryce talking to Christina or Bobbie and challenging them but like you said it’s a different way of handling things.”
Alessandra: “Without giving too much away, what are we to expect from your character in the upcoming episodes? Is Bryce going to still try and find a solution by digging into the characters’ problems, by challenging Christina and asking her questions to see if she can actually can come back and work again?”
Chi McBride “Yes.” “You said not to give too much away!” (laughs) “Ok, you want more..”
“It’s going to be very interesting… nothing is as it appears, so you can take that and think it over. You’re not going to understand how things actually end up until the very last minute of the final episode.”
Alessandra: “Well, that’s enough to get people wondering and talking, which is what we want! Seen as your character is going to be on HawthoRNe until the end of the season, is he going to interact with the male characters of the show or will he still be dealing mostly with the women?”
Chi McBride: “No, he does get to interact with the men as well. At some point there’s also a scene with the guy who is the (ex) hospital administrator in last week’s episode, so that was one, but there are more interactions coming up.
It was great to work with all of them, really. I was able to join in in the creative project and it was wonderful to work with them… great people, very professional, it was a great experience.
Alessandra: “Is there a chance we will see you back on House anytime soon?”
Chi McBride: “I don’t know what those guys are cooking up, so I couldn’t tell you right now because I don’t know but I would certainly be glad to come back if I was asked to.”
Alessandra: “I’m asking because there were reports this week that a bunch of characters may possibly be returning or have a different capacity on House because of Cuddy’s departure, and your character Vogler was one of them.”
Chi McBride: “Really? When I did that part on the show a lot of people liked it because they hated the guts of my character, it was the character people loved to hate. He was putting the main character of the show at risk, I mean the name of the show IS “House” so of course everyone hated him, and there’s only so far that you can take that.. but who knows it may be interesting to bring him back and explore the dynamic the two characters had some more. That was an interesting dynamic that they had so yeah, who knows…”
Alessandra: “Are we going to see Bryce delve more into the personal lives of the characters on HawthoRNe? Is he going to be involved in the personal part of the matter more? All of what’s happening to Christina is a consequence of her aggression, is that going to be something Bryce deals with more in episodes to come?”
Chi McBride: “He doesn’t get into their personal affairs and you won’t really get to know this guy, he’s there for one reason and one reason only. Information is power so he cares about what goes on in these people’s personal lives in terms of how that affects their jobs and nothing else.”
Sadly I didn’t have a chance to ask him about how perfect Michael Vartan is in person but stay tuned, because I will, well, uhm… ask Vartan himself soon enough how he stays so perfect and how it is to finally be back at threatening people with guns by sneaking up on them in their cars! Ah, the awesome Alias days! About time those came back! And the full kickass Vartan mode with them! Yeah I know you’re all jealous. I’m even jealous of myself right now. But I’ll get over it in time for the chat.
And don’t forget to check out a new episode of HawthoRNe starring Chi McBride as guest star tonight at 10/9 c on TNT!