Good ol’ Dr. Andy Brown is still putting people back together, only these days Treat Williams is specializing in cutting-edge transplants as Nathaniel Grant on TNT’s brand-new Heartland (Mondays at 10 pm/ET). TVGuide.com invited Williams to preview what’s ahead for his new surgeon, as well as reflect on Everwood’s unfortunate fate.
TVGuide.com: First off, let’s talk to the Everwood fans out there. What will they find familiar about your new doc, and what will they find different?
Treat Williams: Hmm, that’s a good question. Not too much familiar, a lot different. This is the guy that Andy Brown probably was in New York, five years before he came to Everwood — very caught up in a very high-stress environment. Not getting along with his wife, that they would have in common. One child instead of two… but the biggest difference is that Nate is very type A, so all of the warm and fuzzy aspects of Andy are not to be seen.
TVGuide.com: Yes, you have a tricky line to toe here because Nate has some unflattering traits.
Williams: Exactly. Exactly. What’s fun about that is if they hang on with this, we will begin to see the cracks in that very tough exterior that he’s got. And when we see them, we see why he is the way he is. It’s revealed that he has an incredible love of humanity that he just doesn’t wear on his sleeve. [Laughs] Or anywhere else.
TVGuide.com: You’ve got some great chemistry with Invasion’s Kari Matchett. It’s hard not to root for a reunion for these exes.
Williams: I’m rooting for it. I mean, every time we do a scene together, there’s this instantaneous history that these two have.
TVGuide.com: Of course, we have Dabney Coleman as the ailing mentor. His character is in pretty bad shape, but will he be holding on at least a bit longer?
Williams: I can’t stand the guy; I hope they bump him off! No, he’s around the whole season, and I’d like nothing better than to have Dabney have a miraculous recovery, because I don’t think I have enjoyed working with another actor as much as I have with him. He is really an icon, and really delightful.
TVGuide.com: In the first episode, the cast seemed a bit too quaint. Will we be seeing some other faces? Rockmond Dunbar (Prison Break's C-Note) shows up at some point?
Williams: Rockmond comes in [starting this week] and hits the ground running. He’s extraordinary. That becomes a very strong [relationship]. Our characters have very different ways of doing things, and that causes a lot of conflict. A lot of the show is going to be on Rockmond’s shoulders as the season goes on — and deservedly so.
TVGuide.com: And Morena Baccarin’s Jessica? Will she stick around, given what happened between her and Nate last week?
Williams: Jessica's issues become stronger with regard to being the girl that all the doctors want to “see” when they come into the hospital. And Danni [Nicolet’s Mary] becomes more and more important to me as a friend and confidante. “Vancouver” (Chris Martin) is the guy I get to beat up on the entire season; he’s the guy who keeps screwing up and is finding his way.
TVGuide.com: Do you feel pressure to do right by your lead-in, Ms. Sedgwick’s The Closer?
Williams: I don’t feel the pressure. I hope for the sake of my cast mates and I, because we like each other so much, that [success] happens, but television has become such a crapshoot. It’s either going to get the numbers that it needs and holds The Closer’s audience, or we’re all going to be looking for jobs. [Laughs] But there will be no hard feelings. If I were them, I'd be saying the same thing: We love you, but you didn’t get the numbers! I’ve only seen The Closer three or four times, so I don’t know whether the audiences are compatible.
TVGuide.com: I think they’re a good match. We played with some hearts and lungs in the first episode — what other transplants are on the way?
Williams: We have some interesting stuff down the road. We have a group transplant, a “domino” transplant, where a series of organs are transplanted at the same time. But the uterine transplant in Episode 4 is absolutely fascinating. It’s a very difficult transplant because of the amount of small blood vessels and supply to the uterus. But giving someone the ability to give birth is a very strong subject in that show.
TVGuide.com: With your assorted doctor roles, do you almost feel like you could scrub in if you had to?
Williams: Next year I’m graduating from med school. [Laughs] I’m the guy who will raise his hand and say, “I’m not a real doctor, but I play one on TV. I can handle this.” I cheated through biology in school, but now I’m actually learning about it. It’s fun.
TVGuide.com: Your visit to Brothers & Sisters [as a love interest for Sally Field's Nora] — was that something that could have turned out to be more? Or was it always closed-ended?
Williams: No, it could have been more, I suppose. [Everwood creator/B&S executive producer] Greg [Berlanti] said, “We’re just starting, could you come down and do four for me?” [On Everwood] he gave me some of the most beautiful work I’ve ever done, so I got to work with the gifted Sally Field… what a neat cast. Greg is one of the most loyal men I’ve ever worked with. They certainly have enough guy guys on that show, they didn’t need me. But I would have been very happy to [continue on] if Heartland hadn’t happened.
TVGuide.com: It could have been a funny moment if your Brothers & Sisters character had crossed paths with [Everwood alumna] Emily VanCamp’s Rebecca.
Williams: It would have been funny. A little double-take. “Don’t I…? Nah.”
TVGuide.com: Do you keep in touch with any Everwood cast mates?
Williams: I do, I do. I’ve spoken with Greg and I just talked to Chris [Pratt]. Emily, I know how she’s doing, so I don’t have to worry. I had dinner with Tom Amandes Saturday night…. So yeah, we’re all in touch.
TVGuide.com: Do you still mourn the show’s passing? Do you think the network made a mistake not picking it up?
Williams: [Pauses] I don’t think the network made a mistake not picking up what it had become. I don’t think the Everwood I had signed on to do was the Everwood that they were examining [for a pickup]. It had become a different show.
TVGuide.com: How so?
Williams: It became what the mantra of the WB was: “We make television about teenagers and their sex lives.” It was no longer the balanced show about a town and its people anymore — which was fine with me, because I got to see a lot more of my kids! We say that Everwood didn’t get picked up; I’m not sure what it was that wasn’t picked up.
TVGuide.com: Well, you certainly haven’t lacked for work since….
Williams: No, no…. I’m ready for a vacation! [Laughs]
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