Category Archives: Dr Andy

‘Three Rivers’ of life, death and rock ’n’ roll – with #AlexOLoughlin

 

It’s early on a Monday morning on the Hollywood sets of CBS’ new medical drama “Three Rivers,” which premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday, and star Alex O’Loughlin, wearing only scrub pants and a striped bathrobe, is sprawled across a hotel bed.

By Kate O’Hare
Published: 4 October 2009

Suddenly there’s a burst of rock music, sending O’Loughlin (Moonlight”), who plays transplant surgeon Dr. Andy Yablonski, stumbling into the next room. There he discovers a patient playing the video game “Rock Band.” By the end of the scene, the two are jamming.

Between takes, O’Loughlin shows off his air-guitar skills with the game, then picks up a real acoustic guitar and makes some music.

“I was just mucking around,” he says. “It’s a beautiful guitar they’ve got in there. It’s a vintage Gibson. It’s divine. It’s worth a lot of money, so I’m hesitant to pick it up. But it’s its karma. It’s supposed to be played.”

If this scene doesn’t sound like the usual medical drama, that’s the goal of series creator and executive producer Carol Barbee (“Judging Amy”).

“I know we’re doing a medical drama, but it doesn’t feel like that,” she says. “It feels like we’re doing these stories about these lives. The guest-star stories are so interesting, because you’re dropping into these worlds.”

“It’s the worst day; something catastrophic happens. You don’t know that you’re going to be a donor that day.”

Set at Three Rivers Medical Center in Pittsburgh, the drama focuses on the organ-transplant team. Led by Yablonski, it also includes rebellious but talented Dr. Miranda Foster (Katherine Moennig), womanizing Dr. David Lee (Daniel Henney), operating assistant Pam Acosta (Justina Machado) and transplant coordinator Ryan Abbott (Christopher J. Hanke).

Overseeing the team is head of surgery Dr. Sophia Jordon (Alfre Woodard, who was born in Tulsa).

 Since “Three Rivers” is about transplants, there has to be a donor, which means someone has to die so someone else may live. But that doesn’t mean the show or the characters have to be earnest and grim all the time.

“The stakes are always there,” O’Loughlin says, “and these are people that deal with this on a day-to-day basis. They live in the light. These are some of the funniest, most joyful people that I’ve ever met, because that’s the only way you can deal with death on this scale every minute, every hour of every day.”

“So that brings us in. Then there’s this team that gives life. That’s what they do as a team at Three Rivers. They give hope; they give life. They’re in the life business.”

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#AlexOLoughlin … one of the best experiences of my life.

It was an incredible experience. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I mean these people are some of the best in the world.

The opportunity to play a character like that, it was amazing. It was amazing!

– Alex O’Loughlin, about playing Dr Andy Yablonski

Set Interview,

Three Rivers,

2009

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CBS – Three Rivers: Alex O’Loughlin Set Interview (2009)

We end our week of focussing on organ donation and organ transplantation and Alex’s role as Dr Andy Yablonski, on Three Rivers, with this short behind the scenes interview with Alex.

(Transcript of a video)

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Alex: I play Andy Yablonski, who is a staff surgeon at the Three Rivers hospital. It’s new to me; I’ve never played a doctor before. And so I studied a lot at the Cleveland clinic, to get as much information as I could.

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Alex: My character is based on an actual surgeon who we all know as Gonzo. And this guy to me, is like a rock star. I don’t know if he’s the youngest surgeon there, but he is certainly at the younger end of the surgeons there. And he is extremely good at what he does.

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Alex: Gonzo introduced me to the operating rooms. And the environment and the atmosphere. And so the first thing I saw was a patient that was prepped … cause once the patient is prepped you don’t see their face or the rest of their body. You just see the open cavity and all the organs. We walked in and we were talking about something, and he went, “By the way, look at that.” And I was, “Oh my god”

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Alex: I think the thing that I did … that most stood out to me, was absolute honestly in interaction with humans that you have to have. Because every patient that you have to deal with, you have to talk to, person to person, with nothing else there. You have to be so clear and honest.

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Alex: It was an incredible experience. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I mean these people are some of the best in the world. The opportunity to play a character like that, it was amazing. It was amazing.

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Video:

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Alex O’Loughlin Congratulates Carol Barbee on her Awards in 2010

My Thoughts:

It is probably not a good idea to try and make a prime time TV show while staying with realism and authenticity. It seems that people do not want to be confronted with reality when they seek out entertainment.

I have seen so many comments over the years of people saying that Three Rivers is a morbid story, because somebody needs to die to save another person’s life.

I find that view amusing, because it looks like people forget that in nearly every episode on a show like Hawaii Five-0, somebody and sometimes more than one have to die for the team to have a case for that week. In most cases they solve the crime and prevent the perpetrators from continuing with their crimes and killing people. Most of the time in the process the team kill more people and even colleagues in police also die a lot in the show. Why don’t people see that as even more morbid, than a show like Three Rivers where people at least get a direct second chance on life every time?

I am only playing devil’s advocate here, and hopefully inspire people to watch a show like Three Rivers with different eyes. Although they could have done some of it differently, for me it was both entertainment and education in one. I think Alex should always be proud of what he did with this show, even if it was so short-lived.

Alex - At Donate Life Dinner

Although the show was cut prematurely, they at least got recognition from the organizations whose causes they highlighted ……

Three Rivers Producer Carol Barbee Accepts Crystal Heart at the Donate Life Hollywood Inspire Awards Dinner.

(Transcript)

Announcer: Good evening and welcome to the Donate Life Hollywood Inspire Awards Dinner, and the culmination of the Donate Life Film Festival.

Carol Barbee: We are all just holding each other up. We’re all just here. We can all save each other’s lives. And other people can save our lives. And you never know which side of that equation you’re going to be on. And I found that fascinating, when I started to look into organ donation. And just beautiful sort of coming together of three different points of view, the doctors. the donors and the recipients. And they all need each other. And you never know which side of that equation you’re going to be on.

Alex & Producer, Carol Barbee at TCA 2009

Dr Gonzo Gonzales-Stawinski: Tonight Carol is not only being given one award, she’s actually being given two awards. The Donate Life Inspire Award and the prestigious Crystal Heart Award. This national award highlights broadcast media representative for their outstanding efforts to accurately depict the science and reality of organ, eye and tissue procurement and transplantation to the public. This year Three Rivers has done it better than anyone.

Alex - Donate life Awards

Alex: Carol, congratulations on everything. I love you so much. It’s so wonderful working with you. We’re about to work together again. And all the hard work and dedication, and passion and honesty and beauty you put into the show called Three Rivers, that I was so proud to be a part of. You know, it’s  paid off. And congratulations! I love you.

Alex O'Loughlin and Carol Barbee

Carol Barbee acceptance speech: The day they told us they were taking us of the air, I got an e-mail from a procurement person. She said, “I just wanted you to know that this person sent this e-mail to say that her daughter got a heart last night, because her donor watched your show last week.” And I said, “You know what, we’re good. We’re good”. So thank you. And it was a privilege to tell the stories. And thank you.

11 June 2010 - Alex O'Loughlin

Carol Barbee: Hello everybody. This is Carol Barbee, the executive producer and creator of the CBS drama, Three Rivers. I’m here at the Donate Life Hollywood Inspire Awards Dinner. And I was just given this amazing award, the Crystal Heart Award from AOPO. And I want to just thank the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations, as well as Donate Life America for this amazing honour, I understand that it was sponsored by MTF.

And I just wanted to say to all of you, it’s such a privilege to tell these stories. And I thank you for all of your support. Thank you for this honour. Being involved in this show certainly changed my life and my understanding and my commitment to organ donation. And if we could have helped to make that change in other people, the whole thing is really really worth it. So thank you for this honour. I’m going to treasure it. Thank you.

Alex O'Loughlin & Carol Barbee - TCA 2009

Video:

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Gif for the day – Dr Andy

I’m not really the sort of actor that phones it  in, in any way.

I kind of … I don’t work like that.

– Alex O’Loughlin

Three Rivers Soundbites

2009

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Something that is visible with every single character that Alex portray, is that he gives it all to each and every one of them. Even in the smallest gestures with his face, one can experience the emotions. He does not need large gestures to let you feel how and what his character is feeling. He just becomes that person with every move.

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And this smile brightens any day…..

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