During a recent conference call, Mark Feuerstein provided some key insight into his character Hank Lawson and what lies ahead in the second season of ROYAL PAINS.
Where do we next find Hank after the nine months that have passed since the last time we saw him?
Mark: It has been a long winter for Hank Lawson. The first time you will glimpse him having lived through the winter and spring, he will have a full beard on his face – a mane as I like to call it, across his entire face. He’s taking care of patients. He lives a full winter and spring running HankMed by himself — or with the help of Divya’s presence and responsibilities never made fully clear. Over the course of the winter, she’s been through stuff with Raj and the cancellation of the wedding. But Evan’s been gallivanting all of Europe with Paige. So it’s been a long winter, but he’s made it through and he will shave his beard for all of our viewers who might not like to see that much hair on his face. And then there’s a lot of new wrinkles and storylines to ensure from having you know, been away from HankMed for nine months.
Where exactly are the Lawson brothers residing now that Boris has kicked them out?
Mark: A very good question. Because we don’t want to shock our viewers too much, Hank and Evan will return to Shadow Pond soon enough. But there will have to be some repairing of the dynamics between them and Boris. So there will be a scene between me and Campbell Scott where we address the tension that emerged because of Hank’s dynamic with Marissa and the triangle between Marissa, Hank, and Boris. Hank is being a good doctor by respecting the doctor/patient confidentiality, but Boris in his inimitable way demands full loyalty. And because Hank can’t give that as a result of his Hippocratic Oath, it produces major complications in their dynamic. But suffice to say, it will all be okay between him and Boris and his living arrangements at Shadow Pond so that other conflicts of a greater importance can ensue.
I loved the Season 2 rap video that you did, and was hoping that we could get a Season 3 one. Do you have any news on that?
Mark: Oh, you’re killing me — we didn’t make a Season 3 rap! It was merely because of our crazy schedule that we just weren’t able to make one. I’m going to do my best to make sure [we do another one]. Thanks to you for saying that — because it’s only been members of the crew who have complained to me, which of course I take to heart — but now that I know that the people want some more rapping, I’m going to have to get off my horse and get on top of making something. Because it’s so much fun to make them, and yet it takes a lot of time from production and of my time, and I’m going to be directing an episode this season so my time will be even less available to me. But we’re going to make something, and it might involve the crew this year playing various roles of the HankMed characters. That’s all I’ll say for now. But it’s in development.
Can you talk about the relationship between Hank and his dad and where that’s going to go this season?
Mark: So we lived a very full arc with Evan and Hank — the Brothers Lawson — trying to repair their relationship with Eddie R. Lawson, our long lost father who left us when we were 11 and 9-years old respectively. And we repaired that relationship and we let Eddie R. Lawson (played by Henry Winkler) back into our lives. And now, we’re somewhat of a unit. We’re tight. We are back in action. But right at the moment, when we both have begun to trust our father again, he is being sent to jail. So that was a big wrinkle, and there was even a question at the end of the season whether he’d go to jail or not. But we made sure he did and fulfilled his debt to society. Now he’s coming out of jail and I think the big question in Evan and Hank’s minds is: Will he walk the straight and narrow path? So as we head down to Florida to pick him up, we are very much preparing for battle to make sure Eddie walks the straight and narrow path. What we didn’t realize is that we would encounter is a new member of the Lawson family, Hank and Evan’s grandfather, who we have never met and never known. That character of Ted Roth is played by none other than Ed Asner, who was one of my favorite of television growing up on the Lou Grant show and just Mary Tyler Moore and throughout history. He was most recently in Too Big To Fail, which I thought he was brilliant in. But we were so lucky to get Ed Asner to play our grandfather. It’s one of our biggest guest stars for the season. And it’s the result of the familial tension that continues to develop and give our characters dimension in Season 3 of ROYAL PAINS.
What a rich cast with Henry Winkler and now Ed Asner. Can you talk about some of the other guest stars that are going to be coming up on this season?
Mark: Yes. I am often moved to writing an email to our casting department because they do such a brilliant job of bringing incredible actors, both well known and not as well known to the show. Two guest stars of a more worldly-nature, less actors and more personalities, that I’m going to mention now are Greg Jennings, the great wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, who has played in the Super Bowl and caught two touchdown passes in the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers is a guest star in Episode Number 2 — where I get to recapture my high school glory days playing football in the episode. It was so much fun to get to play football again and to get to work with Greg Jennings, so that’s one. Then in an episode we’re about to start shooting on Monday, we got Matt Lauer to do an episode, and he will be shooting next week. So look for Matt Lauer in Episode Number 7. Then actor-wise, we have incredible actors like Julie Benz, who you’ll know from a bunch of different TV shows, like Natalie Zea. Julie Benz was on NO ORDINARY FAMILY and a bunch of other things that you would know; Natalie Zea, who is on that amazing show whose name is escaping me [JUSTIFIED], with Timothy Olyphant; and then Shiri Appleby, who was on LIFE UNEXPECTED. All these great actors that we have access to because we shoot in New York, but we also get actors that come in from L.A. We’re going to have Tony Hale in the same episode as we have Matt Lauer. So Season 3 is turning out to be the biggest bang up year for ROYAL PAINS in terms of guest stars that we’ve ever had.
Is there going to be some sort of shake up this season between Hank and Evan? So that they won’t be so co-dependent, or perhaps Evan will consider moving out on his own?
Mark: A very good question and you’ve hit upon it. If Season 2 was about family, and Evan and me repairing our relationship with our dad, Season 3 is going to be not just family, but what goes on between the brothers. And it will be about the new conflict that has been developing between Evan and Hank slowly but surely over the course of our three seasons and our two summers in the Hamptons. Evan and I have – like so many families who go into business together — had different ideas about how to grow the business of HankMedm, and that will come to a major head in Season 3. In addition, Evan and Paige are developing into one of the cutest couples on television in my opinion. Brooke D’Orsay, who plays Paige, is so adorable and only brings out the most delicious colors in Paulo Costanzo, who so brilliantly plays Evan. But there are things about Paige that Evan doesn’t know and Hank becomes privy to. Because of those things, the relationship between the two of them gets very complicated and makes for even greater conflict between Evan and Hank in Season 3. . . So I’ve said a lot and very little at the same time. But you know for every spoiler wherever they may be, I want to keep some things a mystery. But there are things going on with Paige even of a health nature related to her physical wellbeing that may be called into question and may be a problem for Hank as it relates to Evan and Paige.
Do you think that Hank believes in true love or soul mates? Because he seems rather prone to just kind of going with the flow of whatever woman that comes into his life.
Mark: I think Hank does believe in soul mates. I think part of the reason he stayed in the Hamptons was because of Jill Casey and to see what might emerge between the two of them in the Hamptons — and their relationship has proven very complicated. They were on again, off again, on again. And now it looks she’s found her bliss and her calling in the medical attention that she’s going to give to those in need around the world, because she’s going to stay on this mission in South America with the Red Cross or whatever organization she signed up with the character played by Will Chase at the end of last season. So she may not be staying in the Hamptons, and it may not be true love. I think i it interests the writers to keep Hank open and available, but I think it also interests the writers to maintain the sense that there is something that was meant to be about Jill and Hank. Hopefully, we could keep that going for ten more delicious seasons of ROYAL PAINS!
You and Evan have really great chemistry on the show as brothers. Do you guys work on that? Do you like hang-out outside the set? How does that translate so well on TV?
Mark: First of all, thank you for saying that. I appreciate it. I love working with Paulo Costanzo. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a more impulsive, impetuous, and instinctive actor in my career. He brings so much to the table every scene that I get to do with him. And I don’t know if you guys know this – I’ve definitely said it before — but the character was originally written not as Evan Lawson but as (Evan Waxman), my best friend. It was only when Paulo Costanzo walked into the room that the writers said, ‘This guy looks too much like him both in the form of his proboscis — his nose — which clearly resembles Mark’s, and the steel wool afro or JewFro,’ as some people like to call it, ‘they can’t just be friends. It would be too weird. They must be brothers.’ And here I am telling you story lines that only involve family. The story line of our father, the story line involving our grandfather played by Ed Asner, and now the story line all of Season 3 which will be the tension between the brothers Lawson. None of that would’ve happened if chance and fate hadn’t brought into the room a guy who looked so much like me and was so brilliant and perfect to play my brother. So the answer to your question is (a) thank you for commenting on the chemistry. That was just chance and fate. And (b) do we hang out? Yes. Once in awhile when we’re not you know working, he and I will go to a movie together or I love his wife Jen, and we’ll all be at some event together and loving hanging out. But I have to say when and how we were soul mates, the answer would be that we’re most meant to be together as brothers on ROYAL PAINS. And yet beyond that, I hope that Paulo and I remain friends for life. And I have every reason to believe that we will.
Then, in one last shout-out to the fans of the show, Mark shared how working on ROYAL PAINS has been the most amazing experience for him by saying: It’s my pleasure. Really, I will say thank you to everybody. That it remains the joy of my life and career to be on ROYAL PAINS, to play Hank Lawson.
To see what the Lawson family is up to and what medical secret Paige may be suffering from, be sure to tune-in to watch ROYAL PAINS which returns Wednesday, June 29th at 9:00 p.m. and then airs Wednesday nights on USA NETWORK.
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to The TV Addict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower). Tiffany also writes as a columnist for NiceGirlsTV.