... Treat Williams, Actor
Treat Williams debuts on TNT tonight on the premiere episode of the new series "Heartland".
Heartland is a medical drama that focuses on the high-tension world of the organ donor and transplant business. After watching an advance copy of the series premiere, I can say this isn't just another hospital drama, there is more to it. The series also stars Kari Matchett who we've recently seen in "24" and "Studio 60".
Treat Williams has enjoyed great success in feature films, starting with his breakthrough role in director Milos Forman's film version of Hair, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination in 1980. Just two years later, he was nominated for a second Golden Globe for his portrayal of Daniel Ciello in Sidney Lumet's Prince of the City. Williams' extensive film credits include 1941, Smooth Talk, Dead Heat, Heart of Dixie, Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, Mulholland Falls, The Phantom, The Devil's Own, The Deep End of the Ocean and Hollywood Ending. Most recently he was known as Dr. Andy Brown in the WB's "Everwood".
TheTwoCents was able to get Two Cents and Five Answers with Treat Williams!
Q: When you first read the script for "Heartland" what about the story appealed to you?
Treat Williams: David Hollander wrote a script about a subject that I don't think has been tackled before: the concept of heart and organ transplants and the relationship between the donor and the recipient. There is a mystery between the two that has never been talked about in terms of the ramifications of what it is like for someone who's receied the heart of another person and what kind of responibility they have to the person whose heart they've received. I also love the character.
Q: Your character is a hero, but he's not perfect. What makes flawed characters more interesting to watch?
TW: People identify with these types of characters. Most of us are flawed, complicated people and we're trying tvery hard to disguise that or hide it from the public. Ultimately, we respond to someone who's capable of doing heroic things but has issues or problems in their life that they can't seem to resolve. I believe audiences identify with that. All of us have those secrets and those things that we wish we could improve about ourselves. And when you have someone who's heroic and flawed, I think it makes us feel better about ourselves.
Q: How did you research your rold in "Heartland"?
TW: I went to UCLA and stood in on an open-heart surgery on an 18-month-old boy for about five or six hours. I met with our technical advisor and learned about the ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) machine, which takes over and performs the body's functions for the time of an operation. I spent time in different hospital wards, including the intensive care unit. I also spent time with families and patients from 2 to 80 years old waiting for someone to give them a few more years of life. It is an extraordinary concept to give someone a longer time on this earth by replacing their organs with those from another human.
Q: What is the most challenging part of playing a doctor?
TW: Learning the big words.
Q: Do you have any experience with organ transplants or donation?
TW: No, but I did give blood in college to make money for pizza.
It was great to get these answers from Treat Williams! "Heartland" premieres on TNT tonight at 10pm EST.