Richard Schiff (‘The Good Doctor’): ‘I try to avoid hospitals’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“The most enjoyable moment was when I proposed to Debbie, played by my wife Sheila Kelley,” admits Richard Schiff of his work on “The Good Doctor.” Watch our exclusive video interview above (or listen to the audio version below) where he adds, “We got to play the proposal scene all over again and (showrunner) David Shore was kind enough to let me rework that a little bit. My wife loves it whenever I pay attention to her. So when I pay attention to her on camera with that kind of intensity she was very pleased. There was a beautiful intensity that Sheila and I brought to that scene. She’s so alive in her acting. I adore working with her.”

ABC’s “The Good Doctor” tells the story of Dr. Shaun Murphy, played by Golden Globe nominee Freddie Highmore. He’s a surgical resident with autism at the San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital. The series was developed from a South Korean series by David Shore (‘House’). Schiff, who won an Emmy for his work on “The West Wing,” plays Dr. Alan Glassman, a friend to Shaun and neurosurgeon at the Hospital.

Schiff confesses that “to be perfectly frank, it’s not my style of show. I try to avoid hospitals. I spent the first couple of years of my life in a hospital, so I think there’s some deeply rooted psychology there. I don’t like to watch sick people very much. And you can fall into a procedural trap. Anything can fall into a trap. On ‘The West Wing’ you can fall into the trap of Aaron Sorkin, and just ride the wave of clever words. It’s always a matter of trying to find the highest point near the ceiling of perfection. It’s an impossible task, but it’s what I strive for. I like to feel like I’m flying when I’m acting. So elevate is a good word for that.”

In the most recent second season, Lisa Edelstein guest starred on the show as an oncologist to help treat Glassman’s cancer diagnosis. Schiff says, “That’s an example of an actress who is alive and present and willing to go places we might not have anticipated. That’s a good example of elevating!”

Schiff also gets a lift out of working with Highmore. He recalls that “the scene that sticks out for some reason is when he hit me in the hospital. In the middle of shooting he turns to me, as he always does, and says ‘this is fun,’ which is his catch phrase for every scene we ever do. I said ‘you’re in tears and you’re smacking me across the head. Where does the word fun come into your vocabulary?’ But that’s the way he looks at it. He’s a pleasure to work with I have to say.”

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