Sharing their resuscitation concerns, ER Cast recalls Clooney setting the tone and saluting the groundbreaking HIV story
County general staff gathered for a virtual walk through the past Thursday when George Clooney, Julianna Margulies, and several other ER alumni performed at Stars in the House to get nostalgic about their time on NBC’s long-running medical drama .
In addition to Clooney and Margulies, who played OTP Doug Ross and Carol Hathaway, RSVPs included Anthony Edwards (Mark Greene) and Noah Wyle (John Carter), Gloria Reuben (Jeanie Boulet), Laura Innes (Kerry Weaver) and Goran Visnjic (Luka Kovac), Ming-Na Wen (Jing-Mei Chen), and CCH Pounder (Angela Hicks); Alex Kingston (Elizabeth Corday) appeared on a recorded message while Paul McCrane (Robert Romano) had to cancel at the last minute.
Then scroll down for a recap of all the highlights of the two hour special (which you can see here) Hit the comments to share your favorite moments from the special …
EIGHTH TIME IS THE CHARM? | After a series of mistakes in prime time, Clooney knew he had a hit before ER made it into the air. “I remember when we were on the upfronts,” he said. “We were backstage – Julianna wasn’t allowed to be there because [Carol] should be dead – and they showed [the trailer]and the place went monkeys – t … we knew the time slot was great because in 16 years there had only been two shows in that time slot … and suddenly it was like, ‘Oh, we’re going to be working for a while . ‘”
MARGULIES ‘ALMOST LIFE ON THE STREET | After Margulies believed Carol had died in the pilot, he was ready to move on. She’d already done two episodes of Homicide: Life on the Street, and she was ready to do more … until Clooney called her, “George called me and said, ‘If you’re thinking of getting another job, I’ll challenge you on not to. I think you may be offered a regular role in the next few days. ‘And I said, “But I died, how does that work?” … A week later they called and said, ‘We’re going to make you a regular series. ‘”(Before calling the 911, Margulies consulted the Murder EP Tom Fontana, who told her:“ If you don’t take risks in life you will never know. And I will always have a place for you here [on Homicide]. ‘”)
CLOONEY ‘PUT THE SOUND’ ON SET | When Wyle saw a scene with Clooney and Pounder, he was amazed at how many background actors he recognized – 26 years later. He attributed this to Clooney. “George, very early on you called us into your trailer and said, ‘I had the advantage of being in seven series that didn’t go on. Here’s what we’re going to do differently: We’re all going to be nice to everyone, erasing the lines between foreground and background, and cast and crew. We’ll all take our work seriously, but we won’t take ourselves seriously. We will do our homework and we will not waste rehearsals learning our lines. ‘You set out the ABCs of professionalism under which we worked. “
THE DIRECTOR WHO MADE HIS MARK | Every director who booked ER was determined to distinguish their episode – but only a future Oscar winner could do it: “When Quentin Tarantino directed us, he was such a big fan of the show,” recalled Margulies. “He only took one shot, so they had no choice in editing. We’d rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, record, and he’d say, “OK, let’s move on.” And I said, “Why are you doing this?” And he says, “It’ll be my cut no matter what.”
BASIC HIV STORY | Clooney gave credit where credit was due, highlighting Ruben as an HIV-positive medical assistant to Jeanie Boulet. “People forget it was 1995,” said Clooney. “People still resigned themselves to Magic Johnson … People were afraid to touch and they were afraid … It kind of made people pariah and you played a character who said, ‘I’ll keep living mine Live with it. In a way, I was a victim of it, “and I found it amazing to see a show that 40 million people could see.”
Reuben added, “It was literally at this point when medicine began to give people back their lives. I know this word is used a lot, but it was really groundbreaking. We broke barriers – who gets HIV, how do they get it? Jeanie Boulet was a married, professional, straight woman. It was like, “That won’t happen.” Reuben took pride in the fact that she played a character who treated her diagnosis with “such strength, grace and dignity.” She also wanted to make sure the show “wouldn’t let her die from it because HIV didn’t have to mean death … I didn’t want to [that] be the message. “
ERIQ LA SALLE ALSO RECEIVES ITS DUE | Wyle took a moment to applaud his MIA costar for serving as County General Surgery Peter Benton. “He played an unapologetically talented black man who disagreed and didn’t care about being liked,” said Wyle. “It was an unpopular character to play and take on an unpopular stance, and I didn’t get it then – I don’t think a lot of us understood what he was doing at the time – but in retrospect, he stood for something that was extremely significant. It was the avant-garde of something that was way ahead of its time and I wish he were here to bow for it because I don’t think he ever took it while we were working together. “
DRS. ROSS AND KOVAC REALLY HAVE THE WAY OF THE CROSSING | The medical drama swapped one handsome doctor (Doug Ross from Clooney) for another (Luka Kovač from Visnjic) early in season six. “I parked the car and there is this guy,” Visnjic said, referring to Clooney. “He said, ‘Hey, you’re our new guy’ and I said, ‘Yeah, that would be me. “Clooney told him he would” love “it in the emergency room and would have” So much fun, “then drove off. (Fun fact: Clooney and Visnjic were both in the 1997 film Peacemaker but had no scenes together .)
ER: THE NEXT GENERATION? | When asked if they would be interested in reconsidering their role as a star, the general consensus was no. “When you watch the show, it’s hard to say we could do it [again] at the level we did it, ”said Clooney. “Because boy, I actually saw it a little bit because my wife saw it, which is very weird, and I have to say it’s such great TV.” He pointed out the first season of “Love’s Labor Lost” and called it “a piece of television like I’ve never seen … It’s hard to catch lightning again.”
Following Clooney, Margulies added: “You can’t catch lightning bolts twice in a bottle. I think you have to leave the beautiful and move on because it just feels cheap … it would make it cheaper for me. “
Wyle interfered as well, attributing the decision to move to the franchise emergency room to John Wells. “CSI and Law & Order … all of these shows figured out how to brand themselves and replicate the model in another city and make another show out of it, and I always loved that we never tried that. “