It’s daytime, not night when I meet Eoin Macken for a round table at the Festival of Televison in Monte-Carlo. The actor plays doctor TC Callahan in The Night Shift. A series that focuses on the graveyard shift in a hospital and some physicians, including TC, experienced a war.
You did a lot of research for the part and met a soldier that served in Irak?
He has become one of my best friends. He served in Irak and Afghanistan. Being Irish, we don’t have the same affiliation with army. The army is really important in the American culture, it was essential to understand that it is important for the people there. He made me realize that everything is relative. I was a little worried about the trauma part of my character. I had never been to Irak or Afghanistan but It made me understand how the trauma is associated with what is happening. We discussed his return to society and how he handles his trauma with others. Finding his place in society was something I found intriguing in his character.
All networks want their medical series, how do you explain the success of The Night Shift compared to other series in the genre that have failed?
If I knew that, I’d be really rich because I would do that kind of series. Our show is different, it’s the same as the traditional medical series because we have a medical part, a military and also a comedy part that I appreciate. It gives a bit of lightness which is important. And I think that’s why the series works, they tried to do something different. When you watch TV or a movie, you want it to be a little different. The series manages a the balance of the three parts and that’s why it works. Traditional medical series have drama with a lots of emotions, The Night Shift adds a little humor to this.
Eriq La Salle, known for his character Peter Benton in ER, directed episodes of The Night Shift, how did that go and have you benefited from his experience in the medical series?
The first time I met Eriq, he annoyed me because he arrived and he started telling us what we should do. I didn’t know who he was because I never watched ER. He’s quite specific on what he wants. He really defined what our show was. It wasn’t easy at first because he’s very intelligent and he knows exactly what he wants. He has good ideas, but its Eriq’s style or nothing. And that’s why he’s so very good because he understands how it works.
You’re also a director. Would you like to direct an episode?
I’m trying to. I want to achieve making an episode because so far I did independent films and documentaries and it’s always been with people with whom I had previously worked with. I really appreciate everyone in the show and so creating an episode would be easy and fun because we all have a good relationship and they are all really talented. And we all understand each other. I’d like to direct the others and in particular tell JR what to do. That would be super awesome!
What is Michelle Obama like in real life?
She’s truly extraordinary. I rarely met anyone who has so much presence. She’s beautiful and charismatic. I totally fell in love with her.
What do you know about season 3?
I don’t know anything. We’re shooting 13 episodes this year, one less than last year. I don’t know why there were 14 episodes in season 2, it’s bizarre. I don’t like making 22 episodes in one season. It’s too long for a series. I think you can put a lot in 13 episodes, 22 episodes are exhausting. My character is a handful, he’s very nervous.
And finally some life advice from Eoin:
“My thing is if you get drunk with somebody, everything is okay!”