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September 2007

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Fall Tv Preview: Paul Adelstein

This is part of our Fall TV Preview in the Sep/Oct 2007 issue.


Every Jewish mother's dream: Her son the doctor, at least on the new Grey's Anatomy spinoff.

Three years ago, Paul Adelstein was cast as a surgeon named Dr. Burke on a new show called Grey's Anatomy but had to drop out due to a film commitment. It was, perhaps, a blessing in disguise: he went on to acclaim in the profile-raising part of Agent Paul Kellerman on Prison Break, and never had time to mourn that character's end because Grey's producer Shonda Rhimes didn't forget about him.

Cast in the backdoor pilot episodes of Grey's centering on Dr. Addison Montgomery's (Kate Walsh) move to L.A. that aired in May to ratings success, Adelstein is in the ensemble of the spinoff series, Private Practice, the sole new fall series with a built-in audience. Adelstein plays Dr. Cooper Freedman, a pediatrician whose misadventures with women will provide fodder for comedy. "I like that he's a man who has dedicated himself to helping other people," he says, and is thrilled that the show reunites him with old friends.

"I've known Kate for 15 years, from acting class in Chicago and waiting tables together. I did a Eugene O'Neill play reading with Amy," he says referring to co-star (and fellow Member of the Tribe) Amy Brenneman, "and a pilot with Audra" (McDonald, recast in the role originally played by Merrin Dungey).

Reflecting on his Prison Break role, "It was an actor's dream, to play an extremist like that, and a surprising role for me to get. I feel it wrapped up well, and to go from that to this is pretty special. It's like being called to play in the big leagues, and it's just a joy."

He reports that his mother is pleased he's playing a doctor, but adds that his parents were always supportive of his artistic endeavors. "I always acted, but I never really thought of it as something to do with my life until I got involved with a theater company in Chicago when I was 20." Jeremy Piven and John Cusack were the founders, and for the first time he saw that making a living as an actor was feasible. He followed his buddies to L.A. and made his TV debut in Piven's short-lived series Cupid.

Adelstein was raised Reform but not bar mitzvahed; his synagogue banned the celebrations in response to over-the-top stunts like arrival of the bar mitzvah boy by helicopter that had turned the ceremony into a circus. "I regret it because I wish I'd learned how to speak Hebrew," he reflects. He did, however, have a Jewish wedding when he married actress Liza Weil (Gilmore Girls' Paris Geller) last November.

They'd met at a playwright's conference in Ojai, California, where they were cast in the same play. "It was like actor camp. We had eight-hour rehearsal days and were staying in the same place," relates Adelstein, who liked Weil -- and immediately looked her up on imdb.com. "She was at the tail end of a relationship so I had to be patient -- not one of my strong suits. But it was worth it." The two will appear together in both the short film Order Up and the crime caper comedy Little Fish, Strange Pond.

Also a singer-songwriter-guitarist, Adelstein has always played in bands and currently fronts one called Doris, which recorded a CD and performs around L.A. "It's my mother's name," he notes. "I'm a nice Jewish boy."

Private Practice premieres Sep. 26 at 9 PM on ABC.


-- Text by Gerri Miller / Photo by Bob D'Amico.

This is part of our Fall TV Preview in the Sep/Oct 2007 issue.
posted by Benyamin | 12:32 PM | Link | |
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