Hugh Laurie hasn’t played Dr. Gregory House in three years, but the actor said he still can’t shake the limp he developed in order to play the pained, but brilliant, physician on the Fox show House.
Appearing on The Graham Norton Show, Laurie explained that the limp he used throughout the show’s eight-year run still shows up when he’s on set working on other projects.
“I can’t remember any of the lines at all but when ‘action’ is shouted I start limping,” he explained. “I’m like a dog that’s been prodded with electrodes.”
While he’s having trouble shaking the limp, Hugh Laurie isn’t totally tied down by the time he spent on House. The British actor explained that he has since left America, where the show was filmed, and returned to the UK for good.
“Yes, but I did eventually buy a house in L.A.,” he told Norton when asked if he was once again a full-time British resident. “The rest of the cast bought straight away, but I lived out of a suitcase for a year and a half. Then I dipped my toe in the water and bought a kettle, that was commitment to the country and the first seedling of buying somewhere.”
Hugh Laurie did put a lot into the role beside the limp. The British actor said he had to go through vocal exercises to drop his British accent and adopt Dr. House’s gruff voice.
NPR highlighted some of these measures in a 2012 feature on Laurie.
“Those vocal exercises include letting his ‘throat go floppy’ and lowering his vocal register. Still, there are certain words and phrases — ‘New York’ and ‘murder’ — that he says he just cannot master.
I suppose it’s R’s… R’s are problematic letters. But I do find that I cannot think of a single word or a single syllable that really comes out the same in English and American… Almost everything is alien to me. But I got more comfortable with it.”
Laurie also explained that it took a lot of work to understand Dr. House’s character and the near-constant pain he felt.
“I think pain is an extremely hard thing to empathize [with] moment to moment,” he explains. “You often don’t remember your own pain. That moment that you broke a limb or injured yourself… the memory of the pain is hard to summon up and hard to relive, thankfully… And it’s also hard to imagine someone else’s.”
While Hugh Laurie is having trouble shaking his limp, he’s had no trouble finding work after House went off the air in 2012. He has taken on a number of projects, and currently appears in the movie Tomorrowland: A World Beyond.
[Image via Fox]