Interview with Mark Feuerstein from Royal Pains

Mark Feuerstein, who plays Dr. Hank Lawson on Royal Pains recently spoke to the press about the upcoming season of the show. I was supposed to talk, but my computer went crazy, and I was stuck in the middle of virus scan and malware scan hell. I’m so sad, because he seems like such a genuinely nice guy who absolutely loved talking to everyone!

Feuerstein stars as Dr. Hank Lawson, the go to “doctor for hire” in The Hamptons. The series also stars Paulo Costanzo, Reshma Shetty and Jill Flint, with television royalty Henry Winkler, Christine Ebersol, Brooke D’Orsay and Rupak Ginn recur on the series. Hank, along with his team – his brother and CEO of Hank Med, Evan (Costanzo), his physician’s assistant, Divya (Shetty) and the head of administration at the local hospital, Jill (Flint) – treat a variety of fascinating patients in unusual situations, for which only the pretentious Hamptons could provide the backdrop. This season will set off a number of start off prompting many questions: will Hank and Jill rekindle their relationship? Will Divya and Raj (Ginn) survive the plague scare and break off their marriage? What will become of Eddie (Winkler) now that the government has sentenced him to prison, is there a wealthy Baron that will help him out of this situation?

There’s lots of info for the new season in the questions & answers below, so check it out!

On where we’ll see Hank after the nine month jump

It has been a long winter for Hank Lawson. The first time you will glimpse him having lived through the winter and spring, he will have a full beard on his face – a mane as I like to call it, across his entire face. He’s taking care of patients. He lives a full winter and spring running HankMed by himself or with the help of Divya’s presence and responsibilities never made fully clear.

Over the course of the winter, she’s been through stuff with Raj and the cancellation of the wedding. But Evan’s been gallivanting all of Europe with Paige. So it’s been a long winter, but he’s made it through and he will shave his beard for all of our viewers who might not like to see that much hair on his face.

And then there’s a lot of new wrinkles and storylines to ensure from having you know, been away from HankMed for nine months, as our viewers will (ask).

Jump with us to see what else Mark had to say!

On the brothers housing situation

Because we don’t want to shock our viewers too much, Hank and Evan will return to Shadow Pond soon enough, but there will have to be some repairing of the dynamics between them and Boris. So there will be a scene between me and Campbell Scott where we address the tension that emerged because of Hank’s dynamic with Marissa and the triangle between Marissa, Hank, and Boris.

Hank is being a good doctor by respecting the doctor/patient confidentiality, but Boris in his inimitable way demands full loyalty. And because Hank can’t give that as a result of his Hippocratic Oath, it produces major complications in their dynamic. But suffice to say, it will all be okay between him and Boris and his living arrangements at Shadow Pond so that other conflicts of a greater importance can ensue.


On Hank & Evan’s relationship with their father, Eddie R. Lawson

So we lived a very full arc with Evan and Hank – the brothers Lawson – trying to repair their relationship with Eddie R. Lawson, our long lost father who left us when we were 11 and 9-years old respectively. And we repaired that relationship and we let Hank – Eddie R. Lawson – played by Henry Winkler – back into our lives. And now, we’re somewhat of a unit. We’re tight. We are back in action.

But right at the moment when we both have begun to trust our father again, he is being sent to jail. So that was a big wrinkle, and there was even a question at the end of the season whether he’d go to jail or not. But we made sure he did and fulfilled his debt to society.

And now, he’s coming out of jail and I think the big question in Evan and Hank’s minds is will he walk the straight and narrow path? So as we head down to Florida to pick him up, we are very much preparing for battle that we make sure Eddie walks the straight and narrow path.

And what we didn’t realize we would encounter is a new member of the Lawson family, Hank and Evan’s grandfather, who we have never met and never known, and that character of Ted Roth is played by none other than Ed Asner, who was one of my favorite of television growing up on the Lou Grant show and just Mary Tyler Moore and throughout history.

And he was most recently in Too Big To Fail, which I thought he was brilliant in. But we were so lucky to get Ed Asner to play our grandfather. It’s one of our biggest guest stars for the season. And, it’s the result of the familial tension that continues to develop and give our characters dimension on Season 3 of Royal Pains.


On guest stars this season

Yes. I am often moved to writing an email to our casting department because they do such a brilliant job of bringing incredible actors, both well known and not as well known to the show.

One guest star that – two guest stars of a more worldly nature, less actors and more personalities that I’m going to mention now are Greg Jennings, the great wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers, who has played in the Super Bowl and caught two touchdown passes in the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers is a guest star in Episode Number 2 where I get to recapture my high school glory days playing football in the episode. It was so much fun to get to play football again and to get to work with Greg Jennings, so that’s one.

And then in an episode we’re about to start shooting on Monday, we got Matt Lauer to do an episode, and he will be shooting next week. So look for Matt Lauer in Episode Number 7.

And then actor-wise, we have incredible actors like Julie Benz, who you’ll know from a bunch of different TV shows. Like Natalie Zea and Julie Benz was on No Ordinary Family and a bunch of other things that you would know. Natalie Zea, who is on that amazing show whose name is escaping me, with Timothy Olyphant. [Note from Jenny: That’s Justified!] And then Shiri Appleby, who was on Life Unexpected.

All these great actors that we have access to because we shoot in New York, but also actors that come in from L.A. And we’re going to have Tony Hale in the same episode as we have Matt Lauer. So Season 3 is turning out to be the biggest bang up year for Royal Pains in terms of guest stars that we’ve ever had.


On the relationship between Hank & Evan

If Season 2 was about family, and Evan and me repairing our relationship with our dad, Season 3 is going to be not just family, but what goes on between the brothers. And it will be about the new conflict that has been developing between Evan and Hank slowly but surely over the course of our three seasons and our two summers in the Hamptons.

Evan and I have – like so many families who go into business together, had different ideas about how to grow the business of HankMed. And that will come to a major head in Season 3.

In addition, Evan and Paige are developing into one of the cutest couples on television in my opinion. Brooke D’Orsay, who plays Paige, is so adorable and only brings out the most delicious colors in Paulo Costanzo who so brilliantly plays Evan.

But there are things about Paige that Evan doesn’t know, and they’re – Hank becomes privy to. And because of those things, the relationship between the two of them gets very complicated and makes for even greater conflict between Evan and Hank in Season 3.

But there are things going on with Paige even of a health nature related to her physical wellbeing that may be called into question and may be a problem for Hank as it relates to Evan and Paige.


On whether or not Hank believes in true love or soul mates

I think Hank does believe in soul mates. I think part of the reason he stayed in the Hamptons was because of Jill Casey and to see what might emerge between the two of them in the Hamptons. And their relationship has proven very complicated. They were on again, off again, on again.

And now she – it looks like she’s going to – it looks like she’s found her bliss and her calling in the medical attention that she’s going to give to those in need around the world, because she’s going to stay on this mission in South America with the Red Cross or whatever organization she signed up with with the character played by Will Chase at the end of last season.

So she may not be staying in the Hamptons, and it may not be true love. I think it’s – it interests the writers to keep Hank open and available, but I think it also interests the writers to maintain the sense that there is something that was meant to be about Jill and Hank. And hopefully, we could keep that going for ten more delicious seasons of Royal Pains.


On the real life relationship between Mark & Paulo Costanzo (Evan)

I love working with Paulo Costanzo. I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a more impulsive, impetuous, and instinctive actor in my career. He brings so much to the table every scene that I get to do with him.

And I don’t know if you guys know this – I’ve definitely said it before, but the character was originally written not as Evan Lawson but as (Evan Waxman), my best friend. And it was only when Paulo Costanzo walked into the room that the writers said, “This guy looks too much like him both in the form of his proboscis — his nose — which clearly resembles Mark’s, and the steel wool afro or JewFro,” as some people like to call it, “they can’t just be friends. It would be too weird. They must be brothers.”

And here I am telling you story lines that only involve family. The story line of our father, the story line involving our grandfather played by Ed Asner, and now the story line all of Season 3 which will be the tension between the brothers Lawson. And none of that would’ve happened if chance and fate hadn’t brought into the room a guy who looked so much like me and was so brilliant and perfect to play my brother.

So the answer to your question is A, thank you for commenting on the chemistry. That was just chance and fate. And the B, do we hang out? Yes. Once in awhile when we’re not you know working, he and I will go to a movie together or I love his wife Jen, and we’ll all be at some event together and loving hanging out.

But it’s – well, I have to say when and how we were soul mates, the answer would be that we’re most meant to be together as brothers on Royal Pains. And yet beyond that, I hope that Paulo and I remain friends for life. And I have every reason to believe that we will.


His final thoughts to the people on the call

It’s my pleasure. It’s my pleasure. Really, I will say thank you to everybody who may still be on the line. That it remains the joy of my life and career to be on Royal Pains, to play Hank Lawson. So anyone who decides to write about it, tune in to our show, and to support it the way that you guys are just by being on the phone today, I consider a friend and an ally, and thank you so much for doing whatever you do to support our show.

Just a reminder that Royal Pains premieres tonight at 9/8c on USA Network.

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