by Sky UK (Aug 7, 2013 – Sky UK)
Saving Hope is the brand new medical drama with a supernatural twist that took the US by storm.
Now it’s coming to our shores. We caught up with Erica Durance, who plays Dr. Alex Reid in the show.
From the very first episode, Alex’s world is thrown into chaos when she and her fiance, Charlie, are involved in a car accident that leaves Charlie in a coma.
The twist? His spirit walks the halls of the hospital where the couple work, trying to communicate with Alex and helping other patients who find themselves in limbo. Pretty interesting stuff.
In our exclusive interview, Erica revealed that she’s super-excited about the series coming to the UK, that she’s a romantic at heart and that she isn’t phased by blood and gore.
Read on to find out more…
Saving Hope is coming to the UK, we’re all very excited…
Thanks. We’re all really excited too!
In the series you play Dr. Alex Reid – what can you tell us about your character?
Well, my character is a very driven, strong woman. All she cares about is her job and the love of her life, that’s her direction at the moment.
The series starts out with everything being hunky dory and everything being OK, they’re on the way to their wedding and then everything goes wrong and he ends up getting in to a car crash and going in to a coma.
So, the first series for her is basically about her trying to get him out of a coma and trying to reach him. On an emotional level she’s representing that age old question of what happens to you and your belief system when something tragic happens.
She’s a woman that’s based in science, but now she’s forced into this other kind of world where she starts to think, ‘OK maybe there’s something else out there, maybe there’s something else I should try or something else I can do to bring him back?’
And, of course, it’s more than just your average medical drama isn’t it? Because through Charlie’s character there’s almost this paranormal or spiritual element to the show – how would you describe that aspect of the programme?
Everyone uses different terminology to describe it but, basically, we’re coming up with the idea of trying to show another perspective into the world of the hospital genre because it hasn’t been done like this before.
We use the situation with Charlie in the coma to be able to see people who are in this kind of ‘in-between’ state. People who have passed over or people who haven’t quite passed over, like Charlie, which, of course, is something that can happen often because we’re in a hospital.
We wanted to ask those questions like ‘Do you believe in fate?’ ‘Do you believe in Science?’ ‘Do you believe in the tangible, the stuff that’s just there?’ and the cool thing about the show is that we don’t have to answer those questions for the viewer. We just put it out there so it’s like adding another layer to this specific type of genre and it’s gone down really well over here, people seem to be really enjoying it. It’s just something new, you know, the hospital drama with a twist.
I kind of thought of it like a cross between Grey’s Anatomy and Ghost…
Yeah, you know everybody has their own references to draw upon but basically, for me, I love the love story between Alex and Charlie and how they’re just trying to get back together. You know? It’s fun, there are some quirky moments, it’s not like this heavy supernatural realm or anything but with this we’re just trying to look at this new perspective, that of the in-between person and how it feels for them. Is it weird for them? Are they trying to get back? Do they want to get back? You know? It’s really a chance to give all sorts of different perspectives to that idea.
As the season progresses does Charlie try to communicate with Alex? How does she deal with that?
He really does try in lots of different ways and for Alex there’s a couple of moments where she almost believes or senses or feels that he is there with her, and yet it’s something that she wants to shut down straight away because it’s a very painful thing, but, also, she wants to believe so badly that he is there and you see her trying to maintain this hope for him.
As well as the love story between Alex and Charlie, there’s also another relationship bubbling away between Alex and Joel. There’s obviously some tension between them and we hear rumours that they may have some history together? What can you tell us about that?
Yeah, you know, Joel is the guy who broke her heart in the past and here she is working in this hospital trying to deal with all this other stuff and he comes in with this ‘devil may care’ attitude and it’s just so very different from Charlie, so, you start to see all this tension between them and then all this history starts to come up and, yeah, it’s just another element of crazy that Alex has to deal with.
They have a lot of unresolved issues so you see them on occasions when they’re butting heads. It’s one of those situations where you can sometimes have all different kinds of love in your life and people that are good for you and people that aren’t good for you, so it’s all about that mess (laughs).
It seems like Alex has got a lot going on!
Yeah, it’s been a tough year for her!
Sounds like she could use some time off! Does she ever take time off? In the show we see she barely stops for her wedding and she’s straight back at work after the accident happens. If she did take a day off what would she do with it?
Fret and worry. There is a period of time where she is supposed to take time off because she can’t really handle it, so you do see that, but she doesn’t want to stop because if you stop then you have to think about it.
She doesn’t want to go home, she doesn’t want to be where Charlie was, but as the series goes on you do see her having to face that more and what it does to her and how she starts to unravel.
What I love about the series is, as crazy as it may seem that she goes back to work so soon, this is what people do when they’re grieving. We sometimes expect that people should stop, but for some people it’s part of their therapy because they can’t deal with it, so they just keep going, they try to keep that part of life the same because everything else is different.
All of this drama takes place in the Hope-Zion hospital which is based in Toronto, you’re from Canada yourself, how much fun has it been to film in Canada?
It’s been really good fun, you know, I’m from Vancouver, my first job was in Vancouver so, for me, what’s been really fun is exploring Toronto because I’ve never lived in Toronto before so that’s been really fun to experience the East Coast and the East Coast weather.
I always enjoy exploring a new city, I’ve been based in the heart of the city and it’s a really full on city whereas Vancouver’s a bit more nature based with hiking and all that kinds of stuff so, yeah, it’s been fun. I’ve really enjoyed it.
And what about filming on a medical set with all the blood and the instruments and the medical language that they use, have you enjoyed that side of things?
It’s been fascinating. One of the reasons I took this on is because I’m always wanting to learn something different and this is so different from anything I’ve done before, so it’s been really interesting.
We’ve been able to see surgery live and we always have a medical doctor on hand when we’re doing our OR’s and one of our biggest blessings is that we have this amazing set that they’ve created for us which is like a complete hospital so, you know, it’s got all the working machines and all those kinds of things.
Everything’s really based in reality for us and we can just dive right into it. We also have prosthetics, all the blood and gore and that kind of stuff. It doesn’t get to me, I find it really fascinating.
It sounds like you’ve really enjoyed working on the show, why do you think people will enjoy watching it?
Because it’s a beautiful love story. I believe they’ll fall in love with the characters, like I did. It’s a different perspective on the medical world but at the end of the day it’s all about the heart. It’s these two characters who really, truly love each other, so there’s so much that I believe people will relate to on a human level.