Hugh Laurie Says House Role Became Nightmare

Published 2013/04/30 by Dr. Dannii Cohen

Hugh LaurieHugh Laurie has told how starring in medical drama House turned into a “nightmare” despite him being the best-paid actor on TV.

The 53-year-old earned a reported £250,000 an episode and won two Golden Globes for his long-running role as curmudgeonly Dr Gregory House.

But he suggested in a recent interview that his huge success became “a gilded cage”, with the actor even fantasising about having an accident just so that he could take a few days off.

While filming the Fox show, Laurie had his car windows tinted to avoid being snapped by phone cameras and stopped buying his own groceries because he “couldn’t stand people photographing the contents of my shopping basket”.

The actor, who appeared in the drama’s finale last year, told the Radio Times: “At this distance it all sounds absurd. Ridiculous!

“After all, what was I doing other than playing about, telling stories with a very nice bunch of people? What could be constricting about that?”

But Hugh, who has suffered from depression in the past adds: “the repetition of any routine, day after month after year, can turn into a bit of a nightmare. I had some pretty bleak times, dark d

“But the repetition of any routine, day after month after year, can turn into a bit of a nightmare.

“I had some pretty bleak times, dark days when it seemed like there was no escape.

“And having a very Presbyterian work ethic, I was determined never to be late, not to miss a single day’s filming.

“You wouldn’t catch me phoning in to say, ‘I think I may be coming down with the flu’.

“But there were times when I’d think, ‘If I were just to have an accident on the way to the studio and win a couple of days off to recover, how brilliant would that be?”‘

Laurie, who is gearing up for the release of his second album and set to star in Tomorrowland with George Clooney, lived in Los Angeles while his wife and three children stayed in Britain during his time on the show.

Asked if readjusting was difficult when he returned home after a near eight-year commitment to House, he replied: “Yes, but probably more so for the family.

“For me it’s been a delight to be back with them, to walk the dog, to listen to music and to read. I’m still appreciating and enjoying it.”

Laurie, the former comedy partner of Stephen Fry, said he might not be physically able to take on such a gruelling role again.

He said: “The big thing is that I’m a decade older than when I got that role.

“Even then the character was scripted as 10 years younger at 35 – and Fox would have preferred 28, to keep advertisers happy.

“Now if my name comes up for the lead, there’d be a shaking of heads. ‘He could play the dad …”‘

The actor added of his Hollywood status: “One great benefit of not being on TV every week is that people will be a lot less interested in what I have in my supermarket basket.

“I could even un-tint my car windows – or at least opt for a lighter shade.

“When the ship goes down, the waves very quickly roll over the top of it and attention shifts elsewhere. It’s just the natural order of things in TV – in life – and is as it should be.”

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