In the new ABC series Private Practice, Kate Walsh spins off her Grey's Anatomy character Addison Montgomery and moves from Seattle Grace Hospital to Los Angeles to work in a small medical co-op. For Walsh the spin-off is a dream come true and she admits when she first read the script for the original episode, she was excited beyond belief. "I remember I was in bed at about 3:00 in the afternoon, reading it like a teenager and having tiny screams of joy, and I was thrilled with it. I couldn't have been happier." She is still excited about this new direction in which her career is going and is very happy about the storylines and writing for the series. "It was like a really super-top-secret, delicious diary of somebody else's I had just found," she recalls about reading the initial script. "I was really beyond thrilled. So it's been like a very good, good dream."
About the character of Addison, Creator and Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes says, I think that the Addison that you see as a doctor is very strong and decisive. I think that Addison as a person has never been fully as strong or as decisive, but I think she's a smart,interesting woman." And Walsh agrees. "I think that that's sort of the dichotomy there, and I think that you see that that's sort of the interesting thing about a lot of the characters in this show is that, professionally, these characters on Private Practice have all attained their dream. They are all choosing, of their own volition, to have a practice, a co-op, and they have all of this choice, and they are at the apex of their careers. And yet they are sort of a mess, personally." This is basically what the characters of Grey's Anatomy experienced, and what Walsh says makes them interesting.
Walsh says her character will experience a lot of new things as she grows personally and professionally in her new job. "I think there's also something compelling about taking a character and just kind of plopping her in a new environment at 39 years old and just seeing her flail like a bug on her back, you know. It's creatively challenging and interesting to me, and I think every one of these characters in some way has a starting-over situation in their storyline."
For Tim Daly, this series is a big change from The Nine, the short-run series in which he starred last year and his role on The Sopranos. When asked about the physicality of his former series and the new one, Daly says, "I don't really choose projects by, you know, the physical activity. It's more by the characters and by the stories and the emotions that are going on."
Last year The Nine ended abruptly, not giving any closure to it and upsetting the viewers. "I think it's really frustrating for the audience," acknowledges Daly. "But I've gone through this for a couple of years now with Eyes (his other short-lived series two years ago) and then The Nine. You always want to have something that's [a] clean [conclusion]." However Daly did have an extremely popular sitcom, Wings, which ran for seven seasons in the 90s.
"If you're an actor you have to be either stupid enough or resilient enough to sort of constantly slam your head into a brick wall," Daly acknowledges. "And it's an extraordinary event when something is successful enough, particularly on television, to be a long-running show. A lot of factors have to come together at the perfect moment for that to happen. So I think that if you're lucky enough as I am to have done something to make me kind of financially okay that I can choose the best material, then you try to do that and - or choose atleast what you're really interested in and passionate about and then let the chips fall where they may. But it's better to have been on something that you believed in or were passionate about and have it die a miserable death than to be on something that you really don't care about and know that it's going to kill your career and your soul and everything else in you."
For Amy Brenneman, who starred on the successful Judging Amy, she says being part of an ensemble cast is a relief. "I passed on some stuff where I would have been the series lead. And then, as a woman, you are left with being a 'wifey' for the guy, and it was like, I don't want to do that. And the amazing thing about what Shonda [Rhimes] does is she tells these stories in a true mosaic fashion, and she spins themes so you get your chunky stuff to do and this amazing stuff to do, but we share the load. And it's such a gift on so many levels, and I think it makes for better storytelling because you don't have the traditional lead everybody is supporting. You know, it's constantly shifting, and that's kind of unique. I was really excited when this came along."
Private Practice premiers Wednesday September 26 on ABC.