Interview with Steven Weber and Brian Tee of “Chicago Med” on NBC by Suzanne 3/23/21
This was one of my favorite interviews from the past few months. I just love Steve Weber. He’s one of my favorite actors, and he not only complimented my kitchen, but my youthful looks (I’m actually about the same age as he is). It was great fun to speak with both actors. It seemed like if the moderator hadn’t told us to get to our questions and stop wasting time, we all could have just chatted there for a good while.
Here’s the video version of it.
Suzanne: Well, it’s great to talk to you guys. Steven, I’ve been following your career ever since Wings. So, I’m a big fan.
Steven: Wow, so, since kindergarten?
Suzanne: You’d done a lot since then. I always want to call you Brian.
Steven: You can call me Brian, but then –
Brian: It’ll be confusing.
Suzanne: So I went on all the One Chicago Facebook groups and Twitter and asked people for questions who watch it more than I do, because I’m behind all the time. And a woman named Anya wants to know, Steven, what does Archer have against women?
Steven: I don’t think he has anything against women, but he’s from a different generation, you know, where he assumed his role in this kind of, I guess, patriarchal narrative that’s starting to unravel in real life, thankfully. He’s an old school guy; he’s a man, you know, the way men used to portray themselves, but he doesn’t have anything against women, but he’s triggered. He likes his place and his power that he’s been able to wield over the years, and he’s losing that. He’s losing his hold on that.
Suzanne: Okay, thanks. That was a weird question. So, thanks.
Steven: A very strange question.
Suzanne: And so Brian, do you think Ethan and April will have a long-lasting relationship?
Brian: I don’t know. I actually hope so. Personally, I think that relationship was incredibly wonderful and dynamic in its own right. And at some point, maybe down the line, Ethan and April will rekindle their relationship, but for right now, I feel like they got their own personal problems to attend to, especially with the [unintelligible] situation. So, that’s the first and foremost problem to deal with at the time.
Suzanne: All right, thanks.
Brian: Thank you.
Question: Steven, you’ve come on to a show that’s been on the air for a while now. I wondered how that felt stepping in with this group of people that has worked together for a while, and Brian, did you have any hints for him and stepping in with the ensemble?
Steven: I mean, I guess the metaphor or analogy I use is it’s like jumping onto a moving train. I like to think that – well, first of all, all the actors in the production have been incredibly welcoming to me. Clearly, that’s an indication that they’re so bored with each other, that they need a shot of adrenaline in the form of TV’s Steven Weber, but everybody’s been incredibly welcoming. And, look, there’s definitely a learning curve. I had a couple of days there when all the medical jargon basically was just all consonants, and teeth were flying out of my mouth. It was a little bit of adjustment period, but that’s part of the journeyman actor life, so it’s cool.
Question: And Brian, did you give him any hints or any direction?
Brian: No, when Steven Weber walks on to a set, you don’t give Steven Weber direction or hints about anything. I think, actually –
Steven: You look away. You don’t make eye contact.
Brian: Exactly. No, I was actually there to learn more than anything else, but I will say, in those medical parts that are extremely difficult, even for myself, and I’ve been on this thing for six seasons, it does get easier as you go. But if your muscle is not used to those things, you’re speaking a different language; you really are. And it wasn’t necessarily coaching or anything like that, it was just hinting, like, “Listen, we’ve all gone through that.” That is the biggest learning curve, and we’re still learning –
Steven: You’re definitely talking about that one day I had, man. [I said] “[unintelligible] pancreatitis.” I’m apologizing. He’s like, “Hey, man. Don’t worry about it. We got this.”
Brian: We’ve all been there. It’s all par for the course. I know exactly what you’re going through.
Question: …Brian, you guys were one of the shows that came on pretty early during the pandemic…You play the infectious disease expert on the show…because you were playing a character like that, did your family reach out to you to understand early on during the COVID days, thinking this imposter syndrome of being an actor? You can be honest about it. The second thing, how did you prepare for everything that’s going on, and did you learn anything new in this process that you did not know while preparing for working during COVID and managing that ward?
Brian: I will say, first, I’m learning constantly. I feel like there’s always something new and dynamic to kind of approach a particular character, especially someone that works in the field of medicine. I do get certain questions and calls from random people, if not my relatives, that I somehow know medicine, and I don’t. And I quickly like transition into them asking an actual real doctor. So, I won’t answer any of those, but I feel like in relationship to the experience that we’re dealing with COVID, I’ve recently told the writers and producers that when you’re in that particular element, because I’ve known my character for so long, but yet I personally am experiencing COVID like everyone else is, there is this essence that already existed in me. So, the scenes that you’re seeing, I feel like I’m kind of art imitating life a little bit in that particular sense. So, the connection between COVID and Ethan Choi is already there, because the connection between Brian and COVID had already existed.
Question: Steven, you are playing a character that comes in with a lot of history with Brian’s character, but we haven’t seen it. How do you prepare? What kind of off-camera work do you do? Like, are you talking to the writers to prepare material, or do you do it yourself? How do you prepare? Because it’s there; the chemistry and the attention is there, so how do you prepare for that?
Steven: Well, when they came to me with this particular character, it just so happened that there are aspects of him that I had already developed a great interest in, having to do with the military and also the effects of post traumatic stress, and this is something that we talked about early on. So, that was fantastic. I didn’t necessarily have to drum up things out of the blue, because as I say, it’s an interest of mine. It’s a personal interest. My father suffered from it. I’m involved in a great organization called New Direction for veterans, and they deal with people with PTSD. So, that was there, and, clearly, they’re writing to that.
As for whatever chemistry I have with with Brian, I can’t account for that, but we definitely hit it off instantly, and maybe by virtue of the material, which is actually quite personal and demands a kind of vulnerability. Luckily, I’m with a group of actors who understand what that means. You know, there’s no egomaniacs on the staff; everybody’s there to make a show, and the best way to do that is to welcome people and to make them feel safe enough to be creative and be vulnerable on the set.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
Dr. Ethan Choi, “Chicago Med”
Tee is best known around the world for his starring role as lead villain DK, the Drift King, in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” directed by Justin Lin. On the big screen, Tee was a lead in the summer hit “The Wolverine,” starring Hugh Jackman and directed by James Mangold. He played Hamada, the head of park security, in the box office smash “Jurassic World” and starred in Michael Bay’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2” as iconic villain Shredder.
Tee romanced audiences opposite Anne Heche in the Hallmark movie “One Christmas Eve” and starred in the series “Mortal Kombat: Legacy 2” as Liu Kang. He was the lead in Lifetime’s “The Gabby Douglas Story,” playing inspirational coach Liang Chow, and also appeared in Justin Lin’s comedy “Finishing the Game.”
Tee gave a memorable performance as Jimmy Nakayama in the drama “We Were Soldiers,” opposite Mel Gibson. On the comedy side, he was featured in “Austin Powers: Goldmember,” alongside Mike Myers, and “Fun with Dick and Jane,” with Jim Carrey.
On the small screen, Tee was a series regular in Starz’s “Crash” and recurred on the hit NBC series “Grimm,” CBS’ “Hawaii 5-0” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy.” Tee has guest-starred on many series, including “Lucifer,” “Zoo,” “Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Lottery,” “Legends,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Burn Notice,” “The Good Guys,” “C.S.I.,” “Dark Blue,” “Bones,” “Lie to Me,” “Jericho,” “Entourage,” “The Unit,” “Wanted,” “Without a Trace,” “JAG,” “Family Law,” “The Pretender” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
Internationally, Tee starred in the Korean-American romantic indie feature “Wedding Palace” and was the lead villain in Korea’s action film “No Tears for the Dead.”
On the theater side, Tee earned strong reviews for his lead performance in “Snow Falling on Cedars” at the prestigious Hartford Stage.
Tee is a 2020 NAMIC Vision Award Winner, Best Performance-Drama for “Chicago Med.”
A Los Angeles native with a mixture of multiple Asian descents, Tee is proficient in both Japanese and Korean and holds a bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts from the University of California, Berkeley. His muse is his family, including wife Mirelly Taylor, and daughter Madelyn Skyler, who are his life’s love and inspiration.
Steve Weber from IMDB
This Queens-born actor has certainly proven himself adept at everything from quirky comedy to flat-out melodrama earning TV stardom in the early 1990’s and maintaining a strong foothold on stage, film and TV in its aftermath.
Steven Robert Weber was born on March 4, 1961, to Fran (Frankel), a nightclub singer, and Stuart Weber, a nightclub performer, and Borscht Belt comic and manager. He was already appearing in television commercials by elementary school age. He later studied at the High School of the Performing Arts in New York and graduated from New York State University. The fair-haired, fair-skinned actor worked a series of menial jobs during his salad days as a struggling thespian (custodian, elevator operator, singing waiter) until earning his break on TV in a presentation of one of Mark Twain’s stories. Quickly making his film debut in the popular comedy The Flamingo Kid (1984), he nabbed a running role on the soap opera As the World Turns (1956) a year later. On the set he met first wife Finn Carter, another co-star on the daytime drama. Steven stayed put for a year then went on to gain recognition in more offbeat and/or prestigious productions on film and prime-time TV. He played a rock star in the thoroughly offbeat foreign-made film Angels (1990) and showed real command as John F. Kennedy in the epic miniseries The Kennedys of Massachusetts (1990).
That same year TV stardom came his way with the sitcom Wings (1990). Co-starring with Tim Daly as Brian Hackett, the looser, goofier more aimless half of the brotherly team who co-owned a one-plane, Nantucket-based airline, the actors’ chemistry, not to mention a terrifically eclectic supporting cast, kept the show on a steady course for seven seasons. Easily typed now as a genial, lovable loser type, Weber faced the prospect of severe pigeon-holing. So during the show’s off season, he started showing up in more serious roles. He suffered at the hands of the deranged Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female (1992); appeared in a second chiller with The Temp (1993); and made a cameo in the highly depressing, award-winning Leaving Las Vegas (1995). His flair for comedy shone in is straight-man role as Johathan Harker in the critically acclaimed horror spoof, Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) He truly impressed both critics and audiences alike as the complex title character in Jeffrey (1995), a gay romantic film comedy, and then completely defied all odds by starring in an epic TV-movie version of Stephen King‘s horror classic The Shining (1997), seizing the role inherited from Jack Nicholson and brilliantly making it his own while earning a Saturn award for his chilling efforts.
By the time “Wings” came to an end in 1997, Weber had divorced his actress/wife Finn Carter (they had no children) and married actress/TV executive Juliette Hohnen on July 9, 1995. They have two children, Jack and Alfie. He and Laura Linney were selected to play the TV-movie leads in the popular A.R. Gurney theater piece Love Letters (1999). While other TV series comebacks have fared less well, including the short runs of The Weber Show (2000) (which he produced), The D.A. (2004), Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006), Happy Town (2010) and Chasing Life (2014).
Steven bounced around solidly in other venues. In 2002, he joined the cast of the smash Broadway musical “The Producers,” taking over the nebbish Matthew Broderick role. In 2004, he went to London to appear on stage with Kevin Spacey and Mary Stuart Masterson in “National Anthems.” Other plays over the years have included “Throwing Your Voice,” “Something in the Air” and “Design for Living.”
Steven has remained quite productive into the millennium with recent film outings in Sexual Life (2004), The Amateurs (2005), Inside Out (2005), the title role in Choose Connor (2007), Farm House (2008), My One and Only (2009), A Little Bit of Heaven (2011), Son of Morning (2011), the comedy Being Bin Laden (2011) in which he played Osama Bin Laden, Crawlspace (2012), Kiss Me (2014), Amateur Night (2016), A Thousand Junkies (2017), The Perfection (2018) and Allan the Dog (2020). Seen even more prolifically on TV, he has graced such popular shows as “The D.A.,” “Will & Grace” (as Will’s brother Sam), “Monk,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “Parenthood,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “This Close.”
The actor continues to play a stream of comedic and dramatic recurring roles on such TV programs as Without a Trace (2002), Brothers & Sisters (2006), Dallas (2012) (the New Generation), Murder in the First (2014), Helix (2014), iZombie (2015), House of Lies (2012), NCIS: New Orleans (2014), Ballers (2015) and Get Shorty (2017) and more recently appeared as a regular on the mystery series 13 Reasons Why (2017) and comedy series Indebted (2020). In addition, he has given voice to a few animated programs including Ultimate Spider-Man (2012), Avengers Assemble (2012) The Bravest Knight (2019) and Puppy Dog Pals (2017).
From Emmy Award-winning executive producer Dick Wolf (the “Law & Order” and “Chicago” franchises), “Chicago Med” is an emotional thrill ride through the day-to-day chaos of the city’s newest state-of-the-art trauma center and into the lives of the courageous doctors, nurses and staff who hold it all together.
Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) balances the stress of being an emergency medicine physician with his complicated relationship with Dr. Natalie Manning (Torrey DeVitto), a specialist in emergency pediatrics. Newly widowed, Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt) remains the Sherlock Holmes of psychiatry. Former Navy flight surgeon Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) brings his battlefield skills to the front lines of Chicago’s busiest ER, the go-to place for victims of the city’s gun violence. Work and personal life intersect with him and April Sexton (Yaya DaCosta), a smart, bold and intuitive nurse with the ability to adeptly tackle the most harried of circumstances in the hospital. Sharon Goodwin (S. Epatha Merkerson), the venerable head of the city’s largest hospital, is under intense fiscal scrutiny to preserve the bottom line while continuing to ensure that all patients receive nothing short of quality care and compassion. Maggie Lockwood (Marlyne Barrett), the charge nurse and eyes, ears and brain of the ER, is skilled and confident but finds herself dealing with profound family issues of her own. Recent addition to the ER is ace surgeon Dr. Crockett Marcel (Dominic Rains), a New Orleans-raised surgeon whose breezy manner hides a tragic past.
Together they will confront Chicago’s most critical medical cases and challenging ethical dilemmas with courage, compassion and state-of-the-art treatment. Inspired by ripped-from-the-headlines cases, “Chicago Med” will weave cutting-edge medicine with the personal drama that comes with working in such a high-intensity environment. Through it all, familiar faces from “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D” will intertwine with Chicago’s finest medical heroes.
Dick Wolf, Diane Frolov, Andrew Schneider, Stephen Hootstein, Derek Haas, Arthur Forney, Matt Olmstead, Michael Brandt, Michael Pressman and Peter Jankowski are executive producers.
“Chicago Med” is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment.
Please visit the official show site at: https://www.nbc.com/chicago-med.
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Proofread and Edited by Brenda