Fox’s ‘House‘ (Mondays at 8/7c) returns with a fresh episode this week, and it’s not just any typical hour of the medical drama. No, series star Hugh Laurie stepped behind the cameras for this one, marking his first time directing the top-rated show. Peter Jacobson (aka Dr. Chris Taub) spoke with us about the special something Laurie brought to the director’s chair, previewed some “zany” hijinks, and teased the season finale.
Let’s talk about being directed by Hugh Laurie. Of course he’s the brilliant Hugh Laurie, but was there anything in particular about his style that impressed you?
First and foremost, he’s such a great performer, and his instincts are so obviously spot-on and unparalleled, that he seamlessly lets those instincts flow into director mode. When you’re an actor who’s worked close with him, to have him use the same instincts about your work, from an outside perspective, is very lovely. He is just great with handling actors. It was also nice to hear him talk in his natural accent – how often do you get to hear that?
In the episode the hospital enters “lockdown” mode when a newborn goes missing, and I understand that Taub and Foreman (Omar Epps) get into a bit of mischief while trapped in the records room.
Yeah, we do. We sniff around some places we probably shouldn’t, and it gets kind of zany and silly…. We do things we have never done before. [Laughs]
Watch a preview of “Lockdown”:
The last episode left us guessing about Taub’s true commitment to his marriage. Do you like him having that sort of moral ambiguity?
Love it! The more ambiguity about any character, the better, but I especially like it for Taub. He’s a really great doctor and a not-great husband, and they’re giving me a lot of stuff to go with in my marriage. I have people hissing me on the street – a lot of women don’t like me now – but that’s OK. There’s a lot more Taub marriage fun to be had.
He did seem a little hands-y with a nurse at the close of the last episode.
Yeah, that’s sort of the kicker – you just never know with Taub. And the thing I like about that is House thinks he knows and maybe has figured him out again, for the 90th time. It’s clear that Taub continues to struggle with the truth, with everybody.
They’ve been hinting at a Chase-Thirteen hook-up, but it’d be a twist if Taub were actually her next romantic interest.
Just watch out; Taub’s got a bit of the devil in him. No, I will not in any way hint that I will be hooking up with Thirteen. But I think there are a lot of surprises coming up.
Kal Penn (ex-Kutner) isn’t around this season, and Jennifer Morrison (Cameron) has been largely absent. How is that for the cast, having fewer people to bounce off of?
By the time I came on, Jennifer and Jesse [Spencer]’s characters had sort of moved away from the team, so there was not a whole lot of interplay. But whenever Jennifer and I had scenes together, it was always fun. Kal and I came on together so that was a tough loss for me. As a friend it was hard, because he was great to have around, but I also liked how the strains on Taub-Kutner friendship had become a nice story. This year, what’s been great is they’ve settled into a space with the team that feels very cohesive. Jesse’s a blast, and we all have a really nice time. It’s just such a joy to be on this show that whoever doing what works out nicely.
What’s the word on the season finale? Tease us.
How can I tease it? Its’ going to go down to the wire. That’s more of a sports reference, but it really does go down to the wire. It’s definitely going to be dramatic and traumatic for all involved.
Is it about one big event or a few medium-sized ones?
I’d put it more in the “biggie” category.
What are your plans for the hiatus?
My first priority is just taking my son to school and being a dad. But I’ve got a little film lined up and possibly maybe a TV show.
Last summer, you played husband to Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker on ‘Royal Pains.’ Tough act to follow.
Tell me about it. I would never complain about being the dorky, nerdy ugly husband to Brooklyn Decker. I know [her real-life husband] Andy Roddick was particularly jealous.