“He knows what he wants and he has a wonderful way of not making things any more complicated than they need to be,” says “The Knick” actor André Holland about Steven Soderbergh, who directs every episode — a rarity in American television — of the 1900-set hospital drama on Cinemax. “You have to come prepared (a hundred percent prepared) because sometimes, you may only do one or two takes of a scene,” Holland explains in our recent webcam interview (watch below), adding, “He may combine two or three scenes together to make it one long shot.”
Holland plays Dr. Algernon Edwards, who joins the eponymous Knickerbocker Hospital as its first black surgeon under Clive Owen’s Dr. John Thackery in the pilot, which aired last August. The racism that Algernon experiences builds what Holland calls “a furnace of rage and frustration” inside him that Algernon unleashes through fights that he picks in black establishments. “It’s unfortunate that that’s how he expresses himself, but it makes emotional sense,” says Holland. “The Knick” will return in October; for Algernon, Holland says that the upcoming second season goes “even deeper into who he is and what his past was and also kind of leaves us wanting more from him.”
Cinemax mailed two episodes of “The Knick” to Emmy voters last month in the same bundle as the shows on parent network HBO. They were the pilot and the sixth episode, titled “Start Calling Me Dad”, which Holland thinks would be the one that he would submit if nominated. “Because that’s the one where Clive Owen’s character and Algernon finally come to a head,” as Holland puts it. “We have this big scene where we basically air out all the things we’ve been wanting to say,” he explains. “That scene for me was probably the most fun to do.”
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