After six seasons of wondering will-they-or-won’t-they, HOUSE fans finally their answer. But what does the recent recipient of the 2011 People’s Choice Award for “Favorite TV Actress in a Drama” think of her small screen alter-ego’s relationship with her show’s titular star, what’s it like having Candice Bergen as a TV mom and what are the prospects for an eight season of the hit FOX show? We caught up with actress Lisa Edelstein via conference call today to find out just that. See for yourself, after the jump.
What would your reaction have been if someone had told you that during the first or second season of the show that House and Cuddy would get together?
Lisa Edelstein: I wouldn’t have been surprised. In fact, I thought I saw it in the pilot, then it kind of didn’t become a story. I always felt that they had a complicated relationship and if the show lasted long enough, it would be a relationship worth exploring. If you told me House and Cuddy would have gotten together in season 7, as an actor, I would have been more surprised we reached a seventh season!
After working with Hugh Laurie for six seasons, what has it been like having to play an entirely different, more emotional side of the House and Cuddy relationship this year?
We’ve been working together for 7 years — which in our line of work, is like dog years, 49 — so I really feel like as our friendship as people grew, as we got to know each other, this kind of intimacy between the characters was an easier thing to do than if it had started from day one and you just kind of have to jump in and pretend to know each other. So in that sense, it’s been great. I really appreciate that if there was anybody that I would have to be intimate with on camera, it would be someone who I knew and trusted.
What do you think House and Cuddy get from one another as a couple?
I think that there is a great history there and as you get older, that is a really important thing to have with somebody. Time has passed, problems have been conquered, trust has been earned and those things really have an enormous value. For him, she is someone he trusts, he knows she wants the best for him and will tell him when things have gone to far. For her, it’s his intelligence and brilliance that really excites her. Getting attention from a man like that is not an easy thing to achieve and having achieved that, there is a kind of rush of excitement. Of course, whether or not she is ultimately someone she can trust is something he has to prove.
Can you drop any hints about where Cuddy and House’s relationship is going?
I think they are two very complicated people who really want to be together. Whether or not they can is another thing in entirely, but they’re going to try as hard as they can.
What is your hope for the two of them?
I would hate to see [Executive Producer] David Shore reading my opinion about what should happen between my character and HOUSE. As an actor, I just stay out of it and enjoy the ride.
Have you enjoyed getting to play scenes with Candice Bergen, who recently came on board as Cuddy’s mother?
Candice is amazing. She’s an incredibly bright woman, which I think just shines right through in the dialogue and is really fun to work with. Historically, I was really happy to be on set with her because I grew up watching her. It’s been really fun pushing the envelope in terms of the getting to see what it would be like to see House have to deal with a really pushy mom. Plus, having met the character of Candice’s mom, it’s clear why Cuddy would be able to tolerate a guy like House.
What do you attribute HOUSE’s longevity to?
It’s the magic bullet isn’t it and I’m so happy about it. I can only thank David Shore, Hugh Laurie and just be grateful for the ride. It’s so arbitrary what makes it and what doesn’t, luckily we had the luxury of being after AMERICAN IDOL. For our first six episodes, we were on our own and would have been cancelled by any other network because we didn’t really have much of an audience. But as soon as AMERICAN IDOL started, we got 28 million eyeballs and a lot of people stuck with us. It was an incredible thing and I think that really had a lot to do with it.
You’ve been playing Cuddy for seven years, how do you think she’s changed over the years?
According to David Shore, characters don’t change, they get unveiled. They become more complicated in terms of how the viewers perceive them and how the writers write them. When you sign onto a show, you as an actor are hired to perform what the writer’s imagine. As the show goes on, how you perform that affects how the writer imagines the character and it becomes a melding of the two. Of course, it’s always David Shore’s character, his story, he controls the world, the puppets. But the rhythm, humour and all that kind of becomes embellished once you put in an actor, any actor in the part. I think because the show has matured, the character has to become more complicated, real, with life experience that take them on a journey. But they don’t ever change.
There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the future of HOUSE, are you on board for an eight season?
I think there are still some issues to be worked out. Not so much with my contract, but between the network and the studio. The thing that is a little unusual with HOUSE is that although we are on FOX, we’re produced by NBC Studios, which complicates thing in terms of who pays for what. I believe NBC wants FOX to take over the cost of production and FOX doesn’t want to. So until that’s resolved they can’t even begin to talk to any of us. I know officially they have Hugh [Laurie] for an eight season, where as the rest of us will have to wait for the contract between the studio and the network to be worked out.