Hugh Laurie plays Dr. Gregory House on the tv series House M.D. Born in Oxford, England, he was educated at Eton and Cambridge. Besides acting and comedy, he has written a thriller, The Gun Seller, and a screenplay for the film version, and a second novel The Paper Soldier coming in September 2007.
[Rolling Stone magazine: People have mentioned a period in the Nineties where you were depressed. Was that just a dark patch in your life, or does it continue?]
Hugh Laurie: I have continued on and off to see a therapist, as lots of people do. And I do feel like for the most part it’s behind me. But I have some very, very black days on this show, very black days. But a lot of that has to do with just finding the situation I’m in overwhelming. There are days when I feel very exposed and very lonely and vulnerable.
[Do you mean overwhelmed and exposed in the sense that there's too much attention on you and every movement you make?]
Hugh Laurie: That sort of stuff, yeah. And there is no escape from it. It never stops. I can never just say, “I need a couple of hours to just go walk in the park and stare at a tree.” There’s always someone rapping on the door of the trailer saying, “The camera is ready.” It’s just relentless. Whatever mood you’re in, however you feel physically, whatever situation you’re experiencing, the machine goes on.
[A cautionary note to the reader: In print, Laurie's words sound darker, more depressed, more self-pitying than they do in person. So imagine, in these passages, not the negative monotone of House but, instead, a voice with a charming British accent, a loopy smile, a self-deprecating sense of humor and a neurotic tendency to overthink everything.]
[Have you found that playing House has affected your personality and made you more cynical or misanthropic?]
Hugh Laurie: No, though I suppose being on television has changed my life. I feel very self-conscious and I feel like I can’t go out. I hate being looked at. I hate being photographed. I have this weird superstition about the camera stealing part of your soul. I sort of believe in that, actually… And the idea that any image of you will be looked at and distributed and pored over and commented on is depressing. You feel intruded upon. Most people would say, quite rightly, “That’s the price you pay.”
[What do you want to do next, considering that you also write books, screenplays, music?]
Hugh Laurie: Well, being the sort of general malcontent that I am, I always want to be doing what I’m not doing. So I’m here, actually, and the idea of sitting at home writing a novel appeals to me. But of course if I was sitting at home writing a novel, I would love to be playing music. I’m always wanting to be doing something else. That’s a definite defect. A flaw in the character.
From interview article Dr. Feelbad, by Neil Strauss, Rolling Stone