November 8th, 2010
03:47 PM ET
When Amber Tamblyn ("Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants") was first offered a role as a new doctor on the wildly popular series, "House," she wasn't too excited about the prospect.
"As soon as they came to me and said they wanted to write something, I went, 'Oh, I don’t want to do a medical show. That doesn’t sound very fun to me,'" she said during a conference call with reporters. "I started asking my friends. They all went, 'Are you an idiot? It’s not a medical show. You’ve never seen it?' I went, 'No.' I felt very stupid for ever thinking that."
Once she had a chance to watch old episodes of the show, she was "blown away," and couldn't wait to work with the cast.
Tamblyn comes in on tonight's episode as Martha Masters, a prodigy medical student taking the place of Olivia Wilde's character, "Thirteen" (Wilde has taken a break from the show to make movies like Jon Favreau's "Cowboys & Aliens"), and the two characters could not be more different.
"It's potentially like she’s a young version of [House], only she believes so strongly in the ethics of truth-telling to the point of a fault. Just in the same way that he believes so much that lying can help you find the truth," she said. "So, the two of them have distinctive ideas about how to get to the same thing. You’re going to see her try to come into the real world [of medicine] for the first time. It’s going to be pretty intense for her."
Tamblyn's character was actually based on a friend of hers, a medical student with the same name. "In fact," the actress added, "they made her sign a release saying she wouldn’t sue Fox."
Of course, another plus for Tamblyn was working with Hugh Laurie, and she was asked about the similarities between Laurie and her boyfriend, "Arrested Development" actor David Cross.
"Yes. I’m a fan of Black Adder. I’d known Hugh before that," she said. "Certainly one of the most attractive things about David, to me, was his personality and his humor. Instantly. Years ago, when I heard one of his albums, I went, 'That guy is amazing.' I instantly had a crush on him."
So what surprised her about coming onto the set of a veteran hit show like "House"?
"They’ve got it down to a science in how they do things there," she said. "It's nice. I feel a lot of other shows, certainly ones I’ve been on, could take a cue from how well they run their show."
She also got some insight into how the cast makes playing a doctor look so easy. "There’s a woman named Bobbin [Bergstrom] who was a nurse for many years and then retired to come be on the show and help us learn how to do anything that we’re doing [in] that episode," she explained. "Anything that we do, she teaches us and shows us how to do it and makes sure it’s the right way."
As for future TV or movie projects, Tamblyn is open to everything: "If you’re having a great experience, and you feel like you’re developing something that people will love, then it doesn’t matter to me. They’re all good."
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