Robert Sean Leonard, <EM>House</EM> Robert Sean Leonard, House

TV Guide spoke with House's friend and tormentor on sparring with Hugh Laurie, making Wilson more prickly and vegging out with Dog Whisperer. (House airs Tuesdays at 9 pm/ET on Fox.)

TV Guide: It seems your character, Dr. Wilson, is finally giving it to House as good as he gets. But why is he friends with such a curmudgeon?
Robert Sean Leonard:
House is brilliant, self-deprecating and witty. What's not to like? OK, he mistreats people — but in a really amusing way. Almost every­thing the guy does is for some purpose. And Wilson's a lot more secure in his friendship with House now. I think that has changed, as Hugh and I have changed on the show, too.

TV Guide: Your real-life relationship has changed?
Leonard:
Sure. We know each other better now and we rely on each other.

TV Guide: So it's not as difficult to be friends with Hugh Laurie as it is with House?
Leonard:
Oh, no. Hugh's a great guy to work with and really fun. Anyone who can channel Peter Cook is OK with me.

TV Guide: Why have you described him as "an 8-year-old"?
Leonard:
Here's an example: We went to a benefit the other night and they showed a scene from House. Hugh sat with his fingers in his ears. It's one thing not to watch yourself — it's another thing to hum "London Bridge" with your fingers in your ears in public. [Laughs]

TV Guide: Do you know who's going to be on House's new team?
Leonard:
I know now. The writers didn't know till not too long ago. It was like, "Who's the most fun with Hugh?" They didn't have a decision until the very end. [The new team members will be revealed in late November.]

TV Guide: Is there any ad-libbing in those priceless House-Wilson exchanges?
Leonard:
Our writers are far wittier and smarter than we are, so we don't need to improvise. When I auditioned, Bryan Singer — who directed the pilot — said Fox wasn't sure if they wanted me, because I was "not warm enough." I was too sarcastic and prickly. In the waiting room, I said, "I don't want to be like a teddy bear because House wouldn't waste his time with that kind of guy." Bryan agreed but said, "Go in there and smile more and get the part." So I smiled more, miraculously got the part and in the end, we were right. The more we worked on it, the more prickly Wilson got and the better the relationship.

TV Guide: But House still accuses Wilson of being a wimp, doesn't he?
Leonard:
Wilson's heart bleeds more than House's. He's more prone to go the safe route rather than confront.

TV Guide: Are you the same?
Leonard:
Are you kidding? If I don't work for a few days, I don't even change out of my paja­mas, let alone deal with other people. My girlfriend and I are afraid that we're going to disappear. All we like doing is reading and watching Dog Whisperer.

TV Guide: Who is your girlfriend?
Leonard:
Gabriella Salick. In 1995 my friend [producer] Jason Blum said, "I only know one person who leaves her house less than you do, and that's my cousin Gaby." She's a world-class equestrian and a classics scholar. She's very smart about Indo-European language roots — not so smart about early Jack Klugman films.

TV Guide: Marriage plans?
Leonard:
We love the idea of marriage, but we're both busy. I think we're going to, but we don't have a set date.

TV Guide: Speaking of not getting married, is there tension between Jennifer Morrison and former fiancé Jesse Spencer on set?
Leonard:
They're quite civil. They're either very professional or very mature. If I broke up with someone on the set, there would be pans flying. They'll hate me for say­ing this, but they're both incredibly sweet.

TV Guide: So how happy are you being on one of TV's top hits?
Leonard:
I have the best job in Hollywood. I rarely work more than three days a week. I once said if I worked the way Hugh does, I'd put a gun in my mouth. I love being an actor, but I also really love my life and my girlfriend and our dogs and the new Richard Russo book [Bridge of Sighs]. Hugh is on set 16 hours every day. I don't think many things are worth that.  

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