'Nurses' Star Natasha Calis Teases NBC's Canadian Import

Natasha Calis, Nurses, NBC
Q&A
NBC Universal

Already bracing for Grey's Anatomy withdrawal? There's a cure for that.

Medical drama (and Canadian import) Nurses premieres December 7 on NBC. Set in Toronto, the 10-part series follows five young nurses working on the frontlines. Natasha Calis, Riverdale's Tiera Skovbye, Jordan Johnson-Hinds, Sandy Sidhu (an actual Grey's Anatomy alum), and Donald MacLean Jr., make up the onscreen hospital nursing staff that brings their personal dramas with them to the emergency room.

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TV Insider spoke with Calis (NBC's The Firm), who plays adrenaline junkie Ashley Collins, to learn about her character, the importance of nursing, and more.

Congratulations on Nurses being picked up by NBC! What originally drew you to the role of Ashley? 

Natasha Calis: Thank you! I was drawn to Ashley because of her edginess and her complexity. There’s a lot more to her than meets the eye.

A series about nurses seems especially timely given the COVID-19 pandemic. What do you hope audiences will take away from watching? 

Nurses Cast, NBC

NBC Universal

I know we all feel blessed to have the opportunity to showcase the importance of nurses, which doesn’t seem to be portrayed in a lot of other medical shows. Before doing this show, I really had no idea of what an emotional toll nursing could take. It’s a job all about caring, compassion, and putting the needs of others before yourself. I hope audiences take away a newfound respect, like I did, for how much more is involved in nursing than just medicine.

 

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The cast has a great on-screen dynamic. Did you hall have fun behind-the-scenes? 

We have so much fun together. One prank that stands out is one Tiera and I played on a director. There was a fake bathroom on set with no running water, and we thought it would be hilarious to have it look like someone had used the toilet. So we chewed up a chocolate bar and, well, you can use your imagination. When it was time to rehearse, the director walked into the stall to show Tiera where to go and completely froze in her tracks. Everyone was freaking out. We finally broke the news and everyone was in hysterics.

Nurses Cast, NBC

NBC Universal

You've worked in both film [The Possession, The Harvest] and TV. How does network TV differ from movies? 

That’s a great question. Network TV feels a lot more rhythmic and structured. We get into a routine and when you show up to set, you know exactly what to expect and how the day is going to go, for the most part. Movies are usually shot on multiple locations, and every day is different. I also think that there is a little bit more wiggle room to try new things.

What can you tease about Ashley's character arc for Season 1? 

Ashley really develops into a likable person by the end of the season. When you first meet her, she’s dry, sarcastic, and pretty cutthroat. She says what’s on her mind and doesn’t really care how you feel about it. But as the season goes on, you discover depths to her that are unexpected. She has a huge heart hiding behind her tough exterior, and once she lets you in, you’ve got a friend in her for life.

Nurses, Season Premiere, Monday, December 7, 10/9c, NBC