The leading man of House Hugh Laurie admits that he speaks Spanish in this interview that we conduct in the set of the show. During our conversation Hugh confessed that his alter ego went “off the deep end” last season. His role as the cantankerous Dr House has made him the highest paid actor on television - but it seems Hugh Laurie may be tiring of living the American dream. The actor hinted in this interview that after eight years this season of House could well be his last. Laurie has won critical and popular acclaim for his portrayal of the curmudgeonly but brilliant Dr Gregory House in the hugely popular medical drama House.
Q: I was expecting a cane?
A: My cane is resting in its trailer.
Q: Which is the most complex medical word you have had to remember?
A: I’m afraid to say I can’t remember it. I have to. For my brain, if I did it this morning I can’t remember by the middle of the afternoon. I could go through the scripts and I could find some absolute peaches, if you are interested. No, I just sort of wipe them as soon as I have said them, which is why I would have been such a terrible doctor. I have no long-term memory. But I have a very good short-term memory. I can remember a number and to the phone there, but beyond the phone, no, forget it.
Q: Leaving for so long in LA do you speak Spanish?
A: I can ask for a few things but that is about it.
Q: I thought you were fluent?
A: No. But I truly think that Spanish is a very rich language. I would love to be able to understand more to read some authors, as Garcia Marquez, in his native tongue
Q: Do you read Spanish authors?
A: Of course, I do read a lot is one of my favourite things to do
Q: How about your favourite episode?
A: I couldn’t possibly say. That’s a very difficult choice. I like them all. I even like us on a bad day. There’s always something. I tend to think that we do better shows when the patient is someone that the audience engages with. That’s just sort of a natural thing, when the audience gets involved in the patient’s life. So I like stories which have good patient stories. You know, we have done 170 (episodes) now, I think.
Q: How did you enjoy being a con and did you have any experience at all to draw from?
A: Besides going to an English pub at school? No, I had no experience at all. We are all just basically experienced from all the movies we have seen, which are a terrible thing, isn't it. Mercifully I have no prison experience. It was however, a real prison. It brought its own, sort of a concrete feel to it. And nobody could be in that building and be unaffected by it. It is now a redundant disused juvenile, because there are no juveniles more, they treat juvenile’s offenders as adults now, so they closed this. It was designed to hold 4000 and by the time it closed I think it held 24 000. There were six to a cell and the cell was just two bunks and a toilet and that was it.
Q: Where was it?
A: I can’t remember the name of it.
Q: Would you like to see House become a better man?
A: I think he is a good man. Ultimately I think he is a good man. I think he is an annoying man, a mischievous man, and occasionally a very self-destructive man. But ultimately I think he is on the side of the angels. I think he is impatient with certain things that we all find important, he doesn’t, and that makes him tiresome at times, but I think he is on the side of angels. I think he has taste and he has a gift. He has the gift of healing, but I already think of him as a good man, a misunderstood man, a troubled man, but a good man. Of course I wish for him happiness; I think happiness would probably make him a nicer man, a superficially nicer man. But I don’t know that he is designed that way, I think that is just not in his nature, happiness is not something he seeks, and I don’t think he thinks it’s important.
Q: Was he happy in season 7 when he was with Cutty?
A: Yes, but it came and went. And he had moments where he decided, or tried to decide, that this was what he wanted. He wanted this more than to be a Doctor he wanted this more than to do the right thing. But I think he tried to convince himself of something that he couldn't really believe. Maybe he couldn't change. And he would always be drawn back to the darker side
Q: After 8 years, do you have a better comprehension of the profession, or more respect?
A: I already had a very great of respect. My father is a doctor and I always had a huge respect for medicine and I have always actually rather stuck up for western medicine against people who, which is very popular thing now, there’s a very popular suspicions of men in white coats, you know, they are all out to get us, it’s all a con, doctors tell you this, but actually if you eat more celery. You know, I have always defended western medicine. Three quarters of us would not be here if we didn’t find antibiotics. That's just an undeniable fact, in fact probably more than three quarters. And you can chew all the celery you want, that is just a fact, we wouldn't be here there would be empty chairs. It’s a chilling thought that we owe our survival and certainly the length of our survival to western medicine. So I am a defender and I believe in it and I applaud it. Because my memory is so hopeless I don’t think I am any wiser now than I was when I started.
Q: How do real doctors relate to you?
A: I think by and large they approve. You will always find examples of Doctors, who will go it doesn’t happen that way, or I would never have done this, or I have never seen that. Just as I am sure cops look at cop shows and go. Ah, that would never happen. But I think they approve because this is a show that lives by logic, by reason, but science, it has a belief in science. I think that doctors would approve of that
Q: Eight years is a long time. In what time has the show changed you and can you envision a life after House?
A: Oh, I hope so! I hope I'm not going to drop dead, assuming that I’m unplugged. I have had the opportunity to… Simply being in front of the camera for a very long period of time, I have done, we have done a hundred and seventy-odd shows, that’s about fifty-sixty feature films worth. That’s a huge amount of experience and that sort of experience gives you a confidence in a way. I think that I have a confidence now that I might not have had. And I hope that I may be able to use that in other fields, whether it is TV-shows or whatever it might be, I hope to move forward to do creative, interesting things.
Q: Would you be interested in another show?
A: I think probably not. I think I have been rather spoiled here. I can’t imagine there will be another one quite like this. As you probably know, the financing of all TV-shows is dictated by finding an audience between 18 and 49. I have now passed out of 49, so probably; I am no longer a desirable commodity for TV. And I am at peace with that, that's fine with that. I think I will probably be as interested by either writing or producing or directing, or some other aspect. I find the whole field of it fascinating. And I think I am extremely lucky to have had the one shot that I have had at it and I wouldn’t go looking for lightening to strike twice.