When one steps into the shoes of such an iconic role like SMALLVILLE’s Lois Lane, legions of fans and an exciting slew of offers are pretty par for the course. What isn’t, is whether or not the fans that an actor initially swept off their feet will follow along for the ride. Just ask Erica Durance, who this week prepares to trade her super boyfriend for a not-so-super-set of scrubs in SAVING HOPE.
“So much about Lois was the visual. Her outfits, her hair, her makeup, all those kind of things that they took away from me in this role,” explained the affable actress during the recent Bell Media Upfront in Toronto promoting her newest role as Surgeon Alex Reid. “On SAVING HOPE I was given scrubs — which are quite like pyjamas — and a big tent-like lab coat. No hair and no makeup, which got me thinking, ‘Holy Cow! Maybe I depended on some of those things?’ Now, it’s all about what I’m doing and all about the work with the show being much more grounded, based in real life.”
In other words, no tights, certainly no flights… just questions. Which raises the slightly awkward albeit painfully obvious one: Just how nervous is Durance when it comes to not just headlining her own show, but tackling a role that is very different from the one she built her fan base around?
“It is such an honor to have people watch something you do and love it. Especially because I still love it and I still cherish the time spent on SMALLVILLE. But I looked at this as an entirely new experience.” explained Durance, whose character has the dubious distinction of juggling the challenges of her high-pressure job in the aftermath of a car accident that leaves her fiancé and chief of surgery in a coma [played byMichael Shanks]. “I think there’s a reason that medical dramas keep coming around, there’s always a new twist. SAVING HOPE really throws out these big questions about life when tragedy hits. There are so many cool things that really drew me in and I would love for them [SMALLVILLE fans] to follow me to it but I totally respect and understand if that’s not something that they want to do.”
For his part, Daniel Gillies — who kindly clarified that while SAVING HOPE is his priority, the 13 episode first season should afford him the time to step back into Elijah’s impeccably tailored suits on THE VAMPIRE DIARIES should the show come calling — believes that this medical drama does have something to offer fans who might otherwise prefer to see him draw blood in an entirely different kind of way.
“SAVING HOPE does have a surreal element, the show is quite magical in its look and in its vision and what I like about it is that it sort of pendulously swings between this gritty reality and kind of mystical place,” said Gillies. “It’s a special sort of dichotomy that I certainly think CW fans will enjoy. Hopefully they’re willing to come on the adventure with us because it’s a very special show. All you need to do is watch 30 seconds of it and realize you’ve got something enchanting as well as compelling.”
SAVING HOPE premieres Thursday June 7 at 9PM on NBC (CTV in Canada).