Saving Hope is a new summer series on NBC. The hour long, six episode, medical drama stars Michael Shanks (Stargate SG-1), Erica Durance (Smallville) and Daniel Gillies (The Vampire Diaries). Shanks, Dr. Charlie Harris head of Hope-Zion Hospital, is in an accident which leaves him a coma. He now roams the hospital, but is he a spirit, having an out of body experience, or is it all a dream? Durance is his finance Dr. Alex Reid and Gillies is Dr. Joel Goran who is called in to help save Charlie Harris’ life and keep the hospital functioning.
Daniel Gillies talks to Pop Culture Zoo about his new series Saving Hope and The Vampire Diaries.
POCULTUREZOO: Daniel, are you announcing that you’ve completely left The Vampire Diaries, and when were you offered this role?
GILLIES: Well, I wasn’t offered this role. I auditioned for it. It was last year around April, and I have not entirely left the The Vampire Diaries. Fortunately we film at different times of the year so, I mean, I’m deeply indebted to that show for what it’s given me.
But this show takes precedence at this moment in time. However, I love Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson, and I would do anything with them in a heartbeat, but I can’t really speak to any further adventures of Elijah on that show because I’ll probably get fired. But I’m happy to be on this one and with actors like Erica. It’s just a pleasure to come to work every day; I’ve got to tell you.
No, it’s an easy thing to sort of assume that one would come up here and say, but Michael Shanks, Julia Taylor-Ross, and Erica; it’s a pleasure, and working with Morwyn Brebner (Executive Producer) and David Wellington (Executive Producer), and (Ilana) Frank (Executive Producer). They have created this whole architecture within which we feel like we’re doing something incredibly original and touching, you know, and funny. It’s really deeply human as well as mystical, and we’re — we all feel blessed to be part of it.
PCZ: What percentage of the show is focusing on the relationships of everybody and missing the ghostly and actual medical drama? Like with House always has like the rare disease of the week. Is there always going to be like the big operation, somebody pulls through or not?
GILLIES: Well, yeah. I mean, those are the three, and I feel like we deal with those very admirably. It’s always well balanced so beautifully, and they’re not mutually exclusive to one another either.
There’s the harmony between what’s happening in this sort of enchanted world, and thematically there’s sort of motifs that sort of marry into what’s happening with the individuals and the surgeries of the week and the underlying texturals of the drama that’s happening between us and our sort of past history and whatnot. I mean, I think they are doing a beautiful job of balancing that. I don’t know how they are doing that to be honest.
PCZ: What was the feeling of being in that hospital? Did you visit the morgue?
GILLIES: We weren’t really permitted to go into places like the morgue, and we couldn’t go to the other wards. I mean, I’m sure we could have – you know, I’m sure we had access to some, but we were really there to work.
It was also a hell of the way out of the city. What was it called, New Market? We were literally driven there and taken to set. There was no sort of opportunity to wander, so to speak. It just was sort of cinematically offered enough light to be able to do it, but what they have created now, the new stages are stunning.
PCZ: Did you have to learn all of the medical terminology?
GILLIES: I am the son of a doctor. My mother is a nurse, my sister is a nurse and my uncle is a doctor and my grandfather is a doctor. I come from a family of all doctors so almost by osmosis I inherited “doctor speak”. (Laughing.)
PCZ: When did the show come about?
GILLIES: The show – April of last year. I was still part of the The Vampire Diaries, but I had hiatus. I hadn’t signed an exclusive with The Vampire Diaries and I went to go look at pilots. There were only two or three that I wanted to go in on and one of them was this one and here we are. We shot this in May last year. It was done last May-June and we found out in November, December that we were going ahead again so it’s been a long journey.
PCZ: When you went in the show did you realize that Michael had done Stargate and Erica had done Smallville?
GILLIES: Yes, I did, but I didn’t realize that we were sort of a trilogy of sci-fi actors. I didn’t know, but I’m just delighted to be with them. They are both the best actors around.
SAVING HOPE airs Thursdays at 10:00 PM on NBC