Doug Ross Is Back! 5 Revealing Moments From the ‘ER’ Virtual Reunion
They even opened up about the possibility of the hit medical series making a comeback.
Joining Clooney, who played Dr. Doug Ross, were Gloria Reuben, Noah Wyle, Laura Innes, Anthony Edwards, Julianna Margulies, Goran Visnjic, Ming-Na Wen, Laura Cerón, Yvette Freeman, Conni Marie Brazelton, Ellen Crawford, and CCH Pounder.
The get together was for the live streamed web series Stars in the House and served to benefit Waterkeeper Alliance, a nonprofit organization focused on clean water.
While they came together for a good cause, the stars also shared some interesting thoughts and stories about ER, even speculating about what a reboot or revival would entail and whether it would work or not. Below, we’re breaking down some of the reunion’s most revealing moments.
Thoughts on a Reboot
The cast was fairly unanimous about their feelings regarding an ER reboot or revival, admitting it would be difficult to come up with something that works in today’s world. “It would be hard to say you could do it at the level that we did it,” Clooney said. “I’m not sure that that’s available…it’s hard to catch lightning again,” he revealed, plainly.
Margulies echoed her costar, “I think it’s what George said, you can’t capture lightning in a bottle twice, she said. “It feels like it would cheapen it for me.” Meanwhile, Reuben offered an idea she had for a possible update on her character Jeanie Boulet, who she imagines is working in a New York ER, is divorced, and dealing with a college-age son who is struggling with mental illness.
A-List Directing Styles
Margulies recalled a time when Quentin Tarantino directed an episode, “he was such a big fan of the show,” she shared. But his style was certainly something that took her and the other stars by surprise, “he only did one take, so they didn’t have a choice to edit.” The actress noted how they’d rehearse for scenes repeatedly and”we’d do one take, he’d say, ‘good, let’s move on,'” Margulies explained. When she inquired about his one-take style, Margulies said, “he goes, ‘it’ll be my cut, no matter what.'”
The Show’s HIV Storyline
“It truly was groundbreaking,” Reuben said, “that we broke that barrier.” The actress is speaking of her character Jeanie Boulet’s storyline which included an HIV-positive diagnosis. “It was such a mixed blessing, because of the huge success of the show,” she continued. “And yet at that time, it was a challenge for what was going on in my personal life,” she admitted. At the end of the day, Reuben was glad to highlight this aspect of Jeanie’s character, noting of the storyline, “the good thing was that it saved people’s lives.”
Kindness Is Key
Noah Wyle revealed that it was Clooney who determined the tone on set, remembering, “very early on, you remember, you called us into your trailer and you said, ‘I’ve had the benefit of being on seven series that haven’t gone, here’s what we could do differently, we’re all gonna be nice to everybody and we’re going to erase the lines between foreground and background and cast and crew. We’re all gonna take our work seriously but we’re not going to take ourselves seriously. We’re gonna do our homework and we’re not gonna waste rehearsals running our lines.'”
“You kind of laid out the ABCs of professionalism and that just became the standard that we operated under,” Wyle commended Clooney. He also noted that it should be the standard on all productions but that it was somewhat unique and special to ER.
In the pilot episode of ER, it’s believed that Margulies’ character Carol had died, which meant the actress was looking for new work before the show was picked up. Already getting to work on Homicide: Life on the Street, Margulies revealed, “George called me and said, ‘If you’re thinking of taking another job, I urge you not to. I think in the next couple of days, you might be offered a series-regular role.'”
Unsure of how the show would bring Carol back to life, Margulies was skeptical as share remembered, “I said, ‘but I died, how does that work?'” Eventually it all worked out because a few days later Margulies received the call to become a series regular.
Catch the full reunion special, below:
ER, Streaming now, Hulu