Nikita actor and his management had to be convinced to take role in the Canadian medical drama, but now Casey is glad he did.
Dillon Casey, known to TV viewers for Nikita, is earning praise from producers for his role as Griffin Conner in Global TV’s medical drama Remedy, which debuts Feb. 24.
Behold Remedy’s prodigal son, Griffin Conner. It wasn’t an easy role to cast, according to executive producer Bernie Zukerman (King, This Is Wonderland).
The part called for a “hot young actor,” he says, and most Canadians who fit that bill “just go directly to the States.”
That was Dillon Casey’s plan after shooting Nikita for two seasons in Toronto. That CW drama raised his profile in America and the Dallas native, who grew up in Oakville, Ont., and has had his share of Canadian credits (Being Erica,MVP), was keen to explore opportunities stateside.
His L.A. management team, in fact, passed on Remedy. Zukerman and the other producers “had to circle back and really make a much harder push.” So did the network.
It helped that Casey really liked the script.
“It was a page turner, first of all,” he says of showrunner Greg Spottiswood’s pilot effort. “It was the first script in a while that I actually wanted to know what happened on the next page.”
The 30-year-old actor could also relate to this guy who kind of backs out of the family medical business.
“My dad’s a doctor,” he says. “When your dad’s a doctor, everybody comes up to you and says, ‘Are you going to be a doctor like your dad?’”
Casey thought about it. He even studied science at McGill.
Then the acting bug bit and, instead of being a doctor, he now plays an orderly on TV.
“They’re called porters now,” he corrects.
He also jumped at the chance to work with Enrico Colantoni. He recently watched Colantoni’s 1999 feature Galaxy Quest “just for Rico this time,” he says. “He was amazing.”
“It’s essentially a family drama within a hospital. It centers mostly on what’s happening with the Connor family, where the father [Enrico Colantoni] is the Chief of Staff of Bethune Hospital. He has two daughters: Melissa [Sara Canning], the goody-goody who did everything that she was supposed to do. She became a doctor. Then there’s Sandy [Sarah Allen]. She could have been a doctor, but she just has more personality to be a nurse. Then there’s Griffin, that’s the guy who I play,” Dillon Casey explains over coffee about his new Global vehicle, Remedy, in which he stars as a wayward med school dropout and constant source of embarrassment to his high-achieving family.
“He was going to follow in his footsteps and he’s the smartest guy in the room with straight As through school without even trying. Then at some point in med school he starts to rebel a bit. He starts taking drugs to deal with his boredom and ends up stealing prescription pads from his dad to write fake prescriptions.”
Griffin eventually cuts ties from his family, but after a bar room brawl, finds himself being treated at Bethune Hospital. It’s here that episode one of Remedy picks up, throwing us into an uncomfortable family reunion among the blood, syringes and medico-legal politics of a busy E.R. As the prodigal son, Griffin’s return incites a mix of emotions from his parents and siblings, but Casey assures us he’s not all that bad.
“He’s just sort of a guy that has a tough time consistently doing the right thing. He screws up a lot but his intentions are always good. At least it seems like his intentions are always good,” he says while sipping on a brew during one of his rare days off. “He’s still not sure if he wants to be a doctor or not, and the family is putting pressure on him to go back to med school. He then ends up working as a porter, an orderly”
The medical angle is an interesting subject for Casey, whose own father also carved a career as a doctor. Opting for acting over medicine, Casey says he never felt the same kind of pressure to follow in the familial footsteps, but to some extent, still feels he can relate to the troubled Griffin.
“I went to McGill and I went to U. of T., but the whole time I was there I was thinking, ‘How can I get out of this, go be an actor?’ I can relate to the guy in the sense that his life was headed in one direction, he got freaked out and just literally just dropped out of it. That’s kind of what I did. I didn’t get freaked out, but I just pulled the trigger and went the exact opposite way.”
Unlike Griffin, Casey never hit the rock-bottom depths of drug addiction, machete fights and parental disappointment. To the contrary, he’s flying high on a series of successful television shows like Skins, Torchwood and Nikita. Remedy will be his biggest leading role to date, but there’s no doubt that the actor is up for the challenge, even if that means shooting in some ruffling situations.
“There was a fan on Twitter who managed to sneak on the set as an extra to take these pictures,” he says. “I would go home and there would be all these weird pictures that she tweeted with comments like, ‘Dillon seems like he’s in a bad mood today. Usually he’s all laughing.’ I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this person is spying on me, who is she?’ I knew she was there, but I didn’t know who she was!”
But zealous extras aside, Casey does have a favourite moment from the season so far: A touching father-son moment bonding over good food and women. If you could call it that.
“There’s an episode that Enrico Colantoni directed where he brought [Griffin] to the strip club because he had to inoculate all these strippers. This is the same strip club where Griffin used to work and they tell them they’ve got to hurry up because they’re going to put out the buffet. At the strip club. He’s all grossed out and I’m like, ‘Well actually the butter chicken’s pretty good.’ He’s like, ‘Really?’ The next scene cuts to me eating butter chicken while he’s inoculating all these strippers. That was one of my favorites.”
Remedy premieres Monday, Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Global
Recently, two of the stars of Remedy got to see the premiere episode for the first time. We asked them how the finished product compares to the show they imagined when they were hired.
Genelle Williams (Bitten, Warehouse 13), who plays Personal Service Attendant Zoe Rivera, knew she was getting into a hospital show, but was intrigued by the upstairs/downstairs perspective and the Conner family storyline. “I was under the assumption that the family drama would play out as a side story, but it is front and centre. The show is a family drama that just happens to take place in a hospital.”
“I assumed at first that it would be very hospital-y. I remember thinking when I first read the script, ‘How does Zoe fit in all of this? She’s a PSA, how does that work in a show about doctors?’” Zoe’s storyline is prominent in Episode 101, and audiences can expect to see a lot of her this season.
Similarly, Dillon Casey (Nikita, MVP) was impressed by Remedy’s sense of humour. “In my mind, the tone of the show was darker. I was pleasantly surprised by the funnier, lighter moments. The humour comes from the show’s natural pacing. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotion, you know? You go to those dark places and you juxtapose that with a really funny scene right after. It’s nice because that’s what real life is like.”
Humour in very unlikely places
Creator/showrunner Greg Spottiswood (King, Shattered) agrees: “One thing that fundamentally interests me is tone. If you work in an intense environment like a hospital, you find humour in very unlikely places. You get moments of absurdity contrasted with moments of deep sadness and loss, or some form of celebration. What most interests me is how to tell stories that embrace both the light and the dark. In a hospital environment it can’t always be dark, sad and intense; there are little victories and big victories too.”
Medicine and family, drama and humour, darkness and light, Remedy isn’t just another hospital show. Join us on Monday, Feb. 24 at 9 et/pt for the premiere of Canada’s newest drama. For more behind-the-scenes secrets from Genelle, Dillon and Greg, re-watch Remedy with our new Video Extra feature on globaltv.com, available the day after broadcast.
When is Remedy on TV? In Canada, Remedy airs Mondays at 9 et/pt on Global TV Where can I watch Remedy online for free?GlobalTV.com/remedy/index.html streams full episodes of Remedy online for free, or watch with the Global Go app on your iOS or Android mobile device. Episodes are typically posted the day after the initial on-air broadcast.
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