THINK: What can you tell us about the rest of the season in House?
HUGH LAURIE: I honestly can’t tell you very much because they don’t tell me. I look about 10 minutes ahead in my life – that is usually the way I operate. It is partly a factor of having so many problems to solve at right that second that I have very little energy to project into the future and very little memory of what happened. Someone just asked me what happened in the last show and I can’t remember. I think I may be permanently brain damaged.
THINK: Do you get feedback on he positive side of House’s character or the negative?
HUGH LAURIE: Dr House’s moral failings – or his social feelings – are all mitigated by his skills as a doctor. If he was even one percent less skilful he’d be simply intolerable. But we tolerate him because of that.
THINK: What would you want to happen between House and Cuddy?
HUGH LAURIE: If I were a viewer I would want those two lonely characters to find some sort of peace. But as an actor I’m less interested in what happens than in how it happens because David Shore’s genius is in the way he executes something. As someone once said, “Ideas are 10 a penny, it’s all in the execution.”
THINK: Has your sex symbol status sunk in?
HUGH LAURIE: No, I still can’t get to grips with it. Crazy.
THINK: Your book The Gun Seller would make a fantastic movie…
HUGH LAURIE: Ah, well, that was a plan at one time and I did actually sell it to MGM who then sort of went out of business. United Artists went and then MGM, they went. I mean, I have a bit of a knack I can bring down mighty corporations just by selling them my book. It’s quite amazing.
THINK: Will it come to fruition?
HUGH LAURIE: I don’t know, I hope so. I still have a lot of affection for it and believe there is a good story in there somewhere.
THINK: Tell us about Monsters vs Aliens.
HUGH LAURIE: I’m the voice of Dr Cockroach PhD. When they were looking around, “Who are we going to get to play this cockroach?” My name came to the top of the list. He is a funny character – he doesn’t know that he is but he is. He is an unwitting comic.
THINK: Is he a monster or an alien?
HUGH LAURIE: He is a monster – a British cockroach. Although we don’t have the same cockroach problem as you have over here. Cockroaches are pretty exotic things. They usually come back in someone’s luggage.
THINK: Have you seen brilliance as an excuse for bad behaviour in this industry?
HUGH LAURIE: That’s a good question. Yes, I have, not that often. I have more commonly seen bad behaviour and thought “Oh, you’re not good enough to get away with that.”
Oddly enough, my general experience is that most people on both sides of the camera are a pretty congenial and collaborative bunch. I know it’s a popular picture of prima donnas stamping in and out of their trailers, refusing to do this, that and the other. I have seen that a couple of times but they’re rare. I will of course give you their names directly after this.
THINK: Is it excusable if they do have the goods?
HUGH LAURIE: It would not be excusable if you were, say, married to them or trying to do business with them but as an audience member, yes I have seen performances and thought to myself “I don’t really care what it cost that person or the people around that person to achieve that performance, that’s a wonderful thing.”
I have thought, “That was worth it.” But of course I’m not the one who’s had to pay the price for it.
THINK: Do you have any thoughts on ER ending?
HUGH LAURIE: Sadness. I absolutely adore it. In fact the episode in which Omar Epps plays a character that dies? It was one of the most stunning hours of television I have ever seen. It is a very different set-up because they have a very big cast and it hasn’t been a constant cast, it’s been rotating. So, yes, great sadness.
THINK: You have a pivotal birthday coming up…
HUGH LAURIE: I do, yes. Don’t remind me.
THINK: How are you dealing with it? And how do you think House would deal with his?
HUGH LAURIE: Not well. I’m pretty okay with it.