Hey Gabblers, TV Guide Canada just released an interview with Shonda Rhimes, where she talks about Off the Map, new guest star Rachael Taylor and what’s up for Meredith. Read the interview below the jump:
With Off The Map airing for the first time this evening, its expected that we will be hearing and seeing a lot about it! Now its the turn of Zach Gilford to go Off the Map and tell us all a little about Shonda and Jenna’s new venture. Thanks to Matt Mitovich over at TV Line, we can get a little more insight on what to expect.
Filming in Hawaii is a plus. And yes, being on a series exec-produced by Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes comes with undeniable cachet. But for Zach Gilford, a big draw of going Off The Map in ABC’s new drama series was the chance to bid adieu to Mr. Really Nice Guy.
“A lot of people responded to what they saw me do on Friday Night Lights [as QB Matt Saracen], ” he acknowledges, “so I was excited about this show because while he’s not exactly the bad boy, I get to be a little less of the good guy at times.”
Created by Grey’s EP Jenna Bans, Off The Map presents Gilford as Tommy Fuller, a wannabe McSteamy (read: plastic surgery specialist) who is one of three new doctors selected to help staff a clinic in the South American jungle. Martin Henderson and Jason George (Grey’s) play Tommy’s fellow fellas, while Caroline Dhavernas (Wonderfalls), Mamie Gummer (The Good Wife), Valerie Cruz and Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight) flesh out the female ranks.
With Off The Map set to launch its 13-episode freshman run this Wednesday at 10/9c, TVLine spoke with Gilford about why he welcomed this chance to go (slightly) bad, and how it feels to see the clock run out on FNL.
TVLINE | How has Hawaii been treating you?
I can’t complain. I just went for a run along the ocean and it was very pretty.
TVLINE | Was it somewhat by design that you wound up playing a cocksure guy, on Off The Map?
Yeah, it was a chance to do something else. And the cool thing about TV is that over the course of a season you get to develop a character. A few episodes in, you get to hit your stride, like, “Oh, this is what this guy does, this is how he acts.” You find a lot more stuff to make it seem real.
TVLINE | At first blush, Tommy seems to be there more for the surf than the surgery. What will we be learning about him along the way?
You get to see that he actually is a doctor and not just a goofy frat boy. In the first couple episodes, most of my stuff is with kids or [involves] some sort of language barrier, but eventually I start getting to work with my peers. That’s when I get to figure out the balance of goofy and serious. It’s not like he’s always a superserious doctor and everything is life-and-death, but at times he’s like, “All right, now we have to be for real.”
TVLINE | What was he thinking, being in plastics and taking a job in this third world-ish environment?
He had stuff going on with his family — they were ashamed of him in a way for choosing to do boob jobs all the time — and eventually he got to a point where he had to leave [the States]. I think part of him realized he had wasted some of his potential, but thus far he’s been able to disguise that. That keeps the show grounded in reality amid the action-adventure, big anaconda and zipline stories….
TVLINE | If anything sets Off The Map apart from other medical dramas, it’s the exotic setting and MacGyver-like medicine. For example, in the pilot a drained coconut serves as an IV. Is that something we’ll see a lot of?
It’s not every episode where there’s some huge catastrophe — it could be a fly bite that causes a crazy swelling, or I get to do stuff with this local medicine man, and we touch on other cultures. But about the coconut water: I’ve been drinking that for a couple years and when we did that [scene] I looked at the can and it does say, “Coconut water has actually been used as an IV in the tropics, when standard solutions are not available.” [Laughs]
Hey Gabblers! TV Guide and ABC are conducting a poll to see who will be tuning in tonight for the premiere of Off the Map. See the information below:
Be sure and check out the new show from the creators of Grey’s Anatomy! Let TVGuide.com know that you’re watching “Off the Map” this Wednesday Jan 12th!
I’ve checked in and let them know I’ll be watching. Will you? Or is Grey’s and/Private Practice enough for you?
With his new show premiering tonight, Jason George is all over the place in the media these days. Below are two interviews where he talks about his new character on Off the Map, as well as his time spent on Grey’s.
An interview from TV Guide:
The relationship between Grey’s Anatomy‘s Dr. Miranda Bailey and Dr. Ben Warren may not have worked out, but there’s a good reason: actor Jason George is moving on to play another doctor, this time on ABC’s Off the Map (also produced by Grey’s Shonda Rimes), premiering January 12.
“I would love to [return to Grey's], but I can easily see where the network and Shonda may have problems with that,” George told TV Guide Magazine at the ABC TCA party on January 10. “With this show launching as big as it’s launching right now, it’s easiest to just have my face associated with this character.”
On the jungle-set Off the Map George plays “hard-ass” Otis Cole, who will soon have a hard time defining his relationship with two female doctors. “Otis says early on, ‘There ain’t no HR department in the jungle,’ and then you begin to realize as things go on that there’s a reason there are HR departments,” says George. “It gets complicated and that gets interesting.”
George promises that Off the Map will not lack some action. “Most medical shows are medicine and steamy romance, but on our show, medicine and steamy romance share a little room with action and adventure,” he says. “The fun part is, that all feeds back into the romance.”
And though Dr. Cole may currently be his priority, that doesn’t mean George wouldn’t hop on a plane in a second if Bailey decides to take Ben back. “If they even bring up the idea of me coming back to Grey’s, I’m there, because Chandra Wilson is just one hell of an actress. It’s like, bring your A-game because otherwise she’ll make you look bad.”
And one from freelance journalist Jim Halterman:
While Shonda Rhimes is busy steering the ABC hits Grey’s Anatomy and its spin-off Private Practice, she’s now adding a third series to her arsenal. Off The Map, created by Greys/PP alum Jenna Bans, premieres tonight and follows a group of doctors in an unnamed South America city. Like the template that has proven successful for the other shows from Rhimes’, Off The Map deals with the medical cases and the ups and downs of the various relationships along with a mixed blend of light-heartedness and doses of drama.
The producers and cast of Off The Map were present on Monday at the Television Critics Association winter session in Pasadena and I grabbed a few minutes with star Jason George (who plays Dr. Otis Cole) during a reception held after a day of ABC panels. The charismatic actor talked about how he relates to Otis and his fellow cast mates (which including Friday Night Lights’ Zach Gilford, Mamie Gummer and Martin Henderson) as well as if he would have stayed with Grey’s (where he guested last season as a lover to Chandra Wilson’s Bailey) had Off The Map never come along.
Jim Halterman: Is it hard to form bonds since on the show you’re supposed to have known each other a long time?
Jason George: It’s not that hard. Generally, there’s a certain personality it takes to say ‘I’m going to go off and join the circus.’ We got lucky in that Shonda, Betsy [Beers, Exec Producer] and Jenna did their homework and everybody is good people. We showed up and it’s like I really enjoy these people. I could spend years hanging out with this crew. Also, we’re on this island (the show is filmed in Hawaii) so all we know is each other. We’re all we got! We landed, we’re hanging out on camera, we’re hanging out off camera and so it works out that the chemistry starts to grow off camera and then we start bringing it into the storylines and the relationships. One feeds off the other.
JH: Does it help that you’re on location as opposed to being in Los Angeles where everyone has their own home and lives once they leave the set?
JG: Hands down! When we’re in LA, you show up and everyone has a great time on set and then you see each other for major events. You really get to know your cast mates very quickly here. That has been the blessing of shooting in Hawaii. Also, that it’s beautiful.
Hey Gabblers – Well we haven’t even seen the complete first episode and already the reviews are coming out. Here’s Matt Roush’s review for the Pilot of this highly anticipated show. I’ll have to watch the entire episode to see whether I agree or disagree with him. Read on to see what he has to say about the Shonda Rhimes newby.
You’ve heard the phrase “Physician, heal thyself.” In Off the Map, the latest and most exotic medical romance to emerge from the Shonda Rhimes assembly line, you could add, “And sun yourself while you’re at it.”
The greatest asset of Map is its tropical setting: a South American rain forest that’s actually filmed in Hawaii. (We’ll forgive the subterfuge. The show looks gorgeous, and takes some of the sting out of a brutally cold East Coast winter.) By now, you’ve seen the promos of the young cast leaping off a cliff side into the sparkling waters below. What you haven’t seen is the show itself, saddled with such annoyingly cloying writing that you may be tempted to tell the characters to take a leap and not come back.
Map has a very appealing cast — including Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer, Wonderfalls‘ Caroline Dhavernas and Friday Night Lights’ beloved Zach Gilford (who coincidentally is back on FNL this week, for DirecTV subscribers) as fledgling doctors seeking redemption and purpose by working at a third-world clinic — but the show traps them in a jungle of trite exposition and whiny clichés.
The gauntlet is thrown early on by the clinic’s resident McYowza, the renowned Dr. Ben Keeton (New Zealand find Martin Henderson), who initially seems more celebrated for going shirtless from time to time. He greets the new arrivals with a sermon about how if they use their brains and instincts, “you’ll learn more here in a week than doctors learn in a year of residency.” Take that, Seattle Grace!
He goes on to tell them, “You’re standing in the middle of the greatest medical resource on Earth” — home-grown organic medicine! — and “this is where medicine was born.” Do us a favor, doc. Take your shirt off and shut up.
To be fair, it took a few weeks for most of the Grey’s Anatomy characters to grow on me, but Off the Map achieves what I would have thought impossible, in making even Zach Gilford charmless as the most aimless and callow of the baby docs. Everyone has a back-story for why they’re toiling in the jungle, none of which is very fresh.
On the plus side, the cases tend to be extreme — one thrilling procedure is performed on a zip line above a yawning ravine — even if most of the patients are infected by Grand Metaphor Syndrome (shades of Grey’s). And the conditions at the clinic and surrounding villages are unnervingly primitive, which adds to the drama and the stakes of many of these emergency triage cases. But it’s the painfully earnest dialogue that could really make you ill.
Off the Map premieres Wednesday, 10/9c, on ABC.