Tuesday 17 September 2019

Owen: Knick more about losing life

Clive Owen plays an early 19th century surgeon in The Knick
Clive Owen plays an early 19th century surgeon in The Knick

Clive Owen has said new medical drama The Knick is more about losing lives than saving them.

The new TV show from Oscar- and Emmy-winning director Steven Soderbergh is set in Manhattan in the early 1900s - and with medical technology not so far advanced Clive warns viewers not to assume all the stories will end happily.

Clive said: "Medical dramas tend to be about people coming in very sick and doctors working hard to heal them.

"But with our pilot script, we're just four pages in and we've already lost a pregnant woman and her baby. Welcome to 1900! This is startlingly different from other medical shows in its casual brutality."

But the absence of modern medicine and hygiene is a bonus for director Soderbergh - as there are not surgical masks.

"The bane of doctor shows," he said, noting with a laugh how they obscure actors' faces and muffle their speech at key moments of high drama. "Not having to use them - that's fantastic."

British Sin City star Clive plays Dr John Thackery, the hospital's world-class, hard-driving and drug-abusing chief surgeon.

Clive revealed: "Thackery is brilliant, he's abrasive, he's extremely difficult. He's very direct. I like that."

He revealed his main challenge was keeping track of his character's vacillating physical and mental state from scene to scene.

Clive said: "I kept a wall graph: 'How am I now? When did I do some cocaine last? Do I feel like I need another hit?' That issue was always going on, underlying everything while I was playing him."

The Knick also stars Andre Holland, Jeremy Bobb, Juliet Rylance, Eve Hewson and Michael Angarano.

PA Media

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