The hit Fox series House returns for Season 8 on Monday, October 3 at 9 PM ET with Episode 8.1: Twenty Vicodin. Actress Odette Annable, who plays Dr. Jessica Adams, and series creator/executive producer David Shore recently held a conference call to discuss the new season. Here's what they had to say below.
Odette Annable: Hugh is fantastic. I couldn't help but to be nervous at first really for the whole thing but to be working with Hugh and just to get to know him as an actor and as a person and he really blew me away. I mean, he might be one of my favorite actors that I've ever worked with. He's so generous and so talented and so easy to work with so it's been a pleasure so far.
Related: House Renewed for Season 8 on Fox
Can we expect to see you around for the full season?
Odette Annable: I'm around for most of the season, yes, and I guess that will be determined later how many episodes I will actually be in but yes you'll see me stick around for a little while.
We've seen House angry, hurt and depressed but never so overwhelmingly sad as in this season opener and the sense of sadness seems to have taken a lot of the fire out of him. Can you discuss House's mindset in this episode and if he'll be emotionally better further into the season?
David Shore: Yes. I didn't think of him as being overwhelmingly sad in this. We threw him into a different environment and different environments call for different reactions. He's got it more or less under control but unlike in any other situation he does have to behave himself. He's in prison and that's a challenge for House and so playing with that challenge was challenging. I did not think he was overwhelmingly sad. I thought there were clearly issues there but going forward we want to-we're going to get him back into the hospital quickly, and we are going to get back to kind of the fun at the root of the show.
David, will you be writing an episode solo this season?
David Shore: Maybe, yes, maybe. The last couple of years my job is to make sure the scripts are all up to the level we expect on the show and I rewrite every script to a greater or lesser extent and I've been quite happy in that role. This show requires a lot of research and I don't have a lot of time for that research so for that simple reason I haven't been writing a lot from scratch. If it turns out that this is a final season, which is yet to be determined, I may well write the last one. I will probably write the last one.
The series has been a lot about House sort of rehabilitating in some way or forming his behavior in any kind of backsliding. Are we going to see permanent changes in his behavior from his stay in prison?
David Shore: One of House's sort of mantras is nobody changes. I think that's largely true. I think the show has been about a guy who's striving to change and failing for the most part and that is human nature and it's really about the striving to be different. You're not going to see a different House this year. On a very fundamental level I don't want to do that. I like him and I think the audience likes him. And I think what happened was last year he tried to change and I think this year he's going to say that was stupid on a certain level. We're not going to get bogged down about that. And I'll tell you, by the way, yes I just opened myself up to being misquoted. I'm not saying last year was stupid. I'm not even saying that the relationship was stupid. I think the relationship was great but I think it didn't work out and so House's reaction to that is to not go down that path again so fast.
Odette, David was talking about all the research and stuff. Did you have a big adjustment playing a doctor, and learning medical terms?
Odette Annable: Absolutely. At first I got the script probably a few days before shooting so I didn't have time to throw myself into that world but we do have some great researchers on the show and some great medical techs. They're on hand every single second whenever you need them so I will prepare with them. I will do my own research just sort of episode by episode into what we really do because we really don't know where our characters are going and what we're going to be doing per episode so we'll take it sort of on an episode by episode basis. But yes there are a lot of medical terms that I have to learn and this isn't the type of show where you can just show up and wing it. You really do need to know your things and prepare so it was very challenging and still is, working on it.
Odette Annable: Fox is killing me. I actually have no idea. I'm very excited that Breaking In got picked up but my number one priority right now is House and working on that. So I will be doing double duty at some point. I don't know when that will be yet. I do think the show Breaking In will start probably early in the new year so we shall see how that goes. I'm willing absolutely but I guess that needs to be worked out with my bosses so maybe that's more of a David question.
David Shore: We've been very good I'd say. I pride myself on being quite good, on our team being very good at making accommodations and working with other shows and movies over the years to make sure that our people get all the opportunities that they've earned.
David you said on the call and you also said in the letter you sent out that you won't keep him in prison for long. Can you expand on that a little bit like how many episodes will we see him in the slammer?
David Shore: You see we wanted to do two things this year. We didn't want it to be trivial. We wanted him to be appropriately punished but we also didn't want to do a prison show so we had a bit of a dilemma. He will be out in episode two. That's episode two but what we did was we had it take place over time which has been helpful for a number of reasons because a lot has changed in our hospital, which I think is great. So the first episode takes place months after the end of last session, six months. We didn't really define it, and then the next episode takes place a decent amount of time after the first episode. So House's world has changed and in the second episode we throw him back into his revised old world.
And you also said this could be the last season of House. How do you feel about that if this is the final season?
David Shore: It's always sad in some ways but this has been eight years, nine years, ten years, whatever it turns out to be it's been a tremendous luxury. It's been way more than I could have possibly imagined. It's been unbelievable. I've been extremely lucky as a writer to have been able to explore this character for one year never mind eight so I've got to focus on the positive, and it's just a question of when is the right time to go out before it becomes later.
How did you kind of come up with Odette's character and that angle for House?
David Shore: Well, once we put him in prison and once we knew that we had this challenge this year, bringing in some new characters, those two thoughts kind of went together, and then our casting people and Katie Jacobs brought us Odette and and things fell into place.
Last season my favorite episode was "The Dig" which was obviously the 150th episode and it kind of ended with Thirteen sort of hinting that she'll need House's help. And it's also been so speculated Olivia (Wilde) won't be sort of here in full capacity this season. So I was wondering where that story's going to go and are you going to hold off for it for a while because potentially this is the final season or will we see any continuity with that at the start of the season?
David Shore:Olivia will be in very few episodes this year. Very, very few episodes not because of particular creative reasons on our part but because she's got a very thriving movie career and has asked us to allow her to do that. We had a great association with her and we do have an episode planned which is kind of the goodbye episode. Not just planned we've got it shot. I think it's very nice.
A couple of years ago we had a couple episodes, one focused on Wilson and then there was the "Five to Nine" with Cuddy. Is there any chance we could see some episodes maybe devoted to like Foreman or Chase or Taub where we're seeing their workday from their perspective rather than House's?
David Shore: Yes. Nothing is firmed up on that but that is something we talk about on a regular basis in the writer's room. I believe the Wilson one was first right, and we liked it a lot and Wilson was first and then we did the Cuddy one. We like that to. I think it's a great way to still be our show and yet get a different perspective on it so absolutely we would love to do another one with somebody else.
With Cuddy gone and Wilson staying away from House, at least for a little while in the beginning of the season, as we may have expected, shall we expect House to push more boundaries or is someone going to be as conscious this season?
David Shore: Yes. House is always going to push boundaries with or without Wilson. He's going to have to earn Wilson back but he will. I'm going to give that away, spoiler alert. He will win Wilson back. House is going to be House. House is always going to be House is the short answer to that question. Doesn't matter what environment he's in, it's just a question of whether he can get away with it and to what extent he can get away with it without going back to prison.
Odette Annable: Well, I think she's used to being really the smartest person in the room, and now she will be the second smartest person in the room, and she knows that when she meets House. She doesn't have his experience or wisdom or knowledge yet but she's truly fascinated by him as a doctor. The interesting thing about her is that she's fortunate enough to be in a financial situation that she doesn't have to work but she wants to. She's there to learn. She's very passionate about medicine and he sort of changes that in her. He revives something that she was maybe losing for a second, and she's sort of an overachiever with a cause and her cause is to help people. I think her relationship with House-they're going to be playing sort of on that line and towards the end of the first episode you'll see that they help each other. Yes, so it will be definitely a very interesting relationship.
Who do you think influences the other the most?
Odette Annable: Oh, boy. I think they both will influence each other in many different ways. I wish I could tell you where my character was going and how that sort of will develop but that's really the beauty of television. You're sort of going to take the journey with the audience and it'll be as much of a journey for me as it will be for the audience and we'll see how that relationship develops. I have no idea where it's going.
David, I had one follow up for you. Did you always think that House would end up in prison when he drove his car through Cuddy's House or was that something that came to you guys over the summer when you knew about the different cast changes that were happening?
David Shore: We never know anything for sure. We knew he'd wind up in prison. We had some debate internally about whether we'd keep him away for a while but we quickly got beyond that, and we kind of want to get back as quickly as possible to the roots of the show so we streamlined the process a little bit.
And I know you're going into your eighth season. You've written this show for so long and run this show for so long but how challenging is it or how different is it to write the House character or to write the show without him having Cuddy as a love interest, boss, challenger, all the different purposes she served for him on the show?
David Shore: I miss her. I miss her personally. I miss her as a writer but as always is the case, new challenges mean new opportunities and we're embracing those opportunities.
You kind of alluded to it but am I understanding correctly you think House will not be pursuing any kind of romance this season?
David Shore: Certainly not initially but he's a human being so things-well, he's actually not a human being which is a big secret but in my mind he is a human being and we will treat him accordingly.
I just have a quick question about where this season we're going to see House's Vicodin addition, and I apologize if that question's already been asked.
David Shore: No, it hasn't been asked. I'll take that one. That has been something that has been a challenge from day one. A practical challenge and a dramatic challenge in the sense that ... as a human being. From day one we have wanted to be honest about that. I made him a Vicodin addict in the pilot and it's something that could be played comically and there have been opportunities for that and there have been opportunities for amusement. We've done some of that but it was also extremely important that we treated it honestly. He is an addict. It is a problem and that we explore that honestly. Having said that, the practical issue is just it's not entertaining to watch a guy dealing with addiction every week of the year. That's not what the show is about so it's alive. It's in there. We discuss it. We will have certain episodes where it's more of a story than in others but it's not at the center of the series, at least the beginning. There are other issues at the center of the series at the beginning of this season.