With Henry Budd
14 October 2009
Question: Where are you?
Alex: I’m sitting under a tree in the Paramount lot drinking a green tea on my lunch break.
Question: What happened on set today?
Alex: I’ve been running around the intensive care unit looking after patients of mine, a young fellow who’s had a few drug issues and hammered the alcohol. He’s clean, but he needs a new heart. I’ve found him one, but he’s missing, so there’s panic in the operating room.
Question: Give us a run-down on the show for anyone who hasn’t heard of it.
Alex: Three Rivers is set in Pittsburgh at a hospital called Three Rivers that specialises in transplant medicine. I play Andy Yablonski, who is head cardiothoracic surgeon and we tell the stories from three points of view: The donor, the recipient and the medical team.
Question: How do you get your head around all the medical lingo?
Alex: I’m playing a specialist transplant surgeon, so I knew nothing. I went to Cleveland, where the surgeon who my role is based on, Dr Gonzalo Gonzalez-Stawinski, works. I followed him around the hospital. I spent many hours shoulder to shoulder with him in the operating theatre. At night I read medical text books.
Question: How long have you been working on the show?
Alex: I shot the pilot about four months ago. Then I landed a role in a film called The Back-up Plan with Jennifer Lopez. I just wrapped that and literally the day after I was back on Three Rivers.
Question: What was working with Jennifer Lopez like?
Alex: She’s awesome. She’s the best version of a superstar. When someone is that famous you can’t help but have some preconceived ideas, but she is just cool and really down to earth.
Question: What was your big break?
Alex: Oyster Farmer was the first film I did that got internationally recognised. It got into the Toronto Film Festival, where I met some bigger agents and decided I should move to the States to try my hand. I was here for over a year before I got my first role in a film called The Invisible. Before that I couldn’t even get arrested. But from there I got on The Shield and it all sort of rolled on from there.
Question: Have you had “only in Hollywood” moments?
Alex: When I was working on Moonlight I walked out of my trailer and a Ducati rolls up. The rider takes off his helmet and it’s Brad Pitt. He asked me if I’d seen Angelina because she was shooting a Clint Eastwood film on the same lot. I was like, “I think you have the wrong trailer”. But that stuff happens all the time here.
- Anybody looking for me today – I will be right here, staring at these pictures of Alex as Dr Andy