Shining a spotlight on celebrities and athletes who love to travel. Created and developed by Stacy Steponate Greenberg.
Imagine, spending the day in an intense, chaotic, overcrowded environment, being tasked to ignore the distractions and pressure and save people’s lives. This is how the immensely talented Benjamin Hollingsworth spends his days on the CBS hit show, Code Black, where the part about saving lives is acting but the rest is very much real. From his big break, playing the son in “The Joneses’ starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny, to “Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rodrick Rules,” to a recurring role on USA’s “Suits,” Hollingsworth hasn’t stopped for a breath in a very long time. Now he plays first year resident, Dr. Mario Savetti, on Code Black, which is based on a documentary that showcased life in an understaffed, overcrowded Emergency Room. Born and raised outside Toronto, Hollingsworth honed his craft at the prestigious and rigorous National Theatre School of Canada. The Overhead Compartment was excited to race around the ER one night with Benjamin Hollingsworth, for some insight into his character, his stamina and his zest for life.
Season 2 of Code Black, starring Rob Lowe, Marcia Gay Harden and Luis Guzmán, starts Wednesday, September 28th on CBS, 10 pm ET.
The Overhead Compartment with Benjamin Hollingsworth starts now….
OC: You play Dr. Mario Savetti, a first-year resident on the CBS hit show Code Black. How did you prepare for the role?
BH: I take enormous pride in playing a doctor; to me they are society’s unsung heroes. There’s a responsibility I feel to honor their craft by understanding the medicine and conditions they work with. I’ve spent almost 300-hours in medical boot camp with other castmates which is more than California requires to become a paramedic. Angels Memorial is inspired by the real LA county hospital which closed in 2009. We shoot a lot of exteriors in the ambulance bay of that historical hospital. When I can, I try and sneak over to the adjacent new LA County Hospital between scenes. I’ve done several ride alongs over there and have developed great relationships with the ER doctors. I’ve experienced first-hand just how critical some of the cases coming in can be. I’ve seen people die right in front of me. It happens daily there. I have also witnessed split second decisions that literally save lives.
OC: How much do you actually know about medicine?
BH: Enough to maybe keep someone alive until they can get to a real doctor. Still waiting for my “I’m a doctor moment.” But, I guess mine would go more like… “I’m a Doctor…(Cough) on TV”
OC: How do you create the energy for the chaotic scenes in the ER?
BH: Caffeine ;) It takes a lot out of us when we film the big Center Stage scenes. We often run each scene anywhere from 20 to 50 times; some days we shoot the same scene for 14-hours straight. It can be physically and mentally exhausting. It takes stamina…and caffeine. We’re a tight team, so if energy gets low we give it the “Code Black treatment.” That basically means everyone, including background artists (most of which are real life nurses), talking as they would in real life during the procedure. What it creates is a frantic buzz that infuses the scene with a sense of chaos and energy. Choreographed chaos is what we do best.
OC: Where is the most interesting place work has ever taken you?
BH: Savannah, Georgia when I was working on “The Joneses” in Atlanta. We had a long weekend, so Demi Moore suggested I go check out Savannah as it was drivable and she knew I loved history…history and crab cakes.
OC: If you had downtime from shooting, how would you spend a day?
BH: Cuddling my 3-month-old son, Hemingway. I can spend hours just looking into his eyes. I’m always in disbelief that I could love anything with such enormous might. When he smiles or giggles my whole world feels complete. I’ve probably kissed him 1000 times.
OC: You grew up Canada, what are your three favorite cities that visitors should check out?
BH: Montreal – I trained at the National Theatre School of Canada and spent three years in Montreal. It’s truly one of the best cities in the world. The food, the architecture, the style and the people make it unique to anything else in North America.
Toronto – I lived there for two years at the start of my career. The city is close to where I grew up – Peterborough, ON. Toronto is home to some of the best theater in the world. It’s clean and, much like New York, it’s famous for its diverse sections of culture. The city is alive with vibrant, talented people.
Vancouver – I still have a place downtown in the Yaletown district which is affectionately referred to as Hollywood North because it can easily be disguised as anywhere in the world. The city is as beautiful as the massive mountains and the ocean that surround it. Whether it’s biking along the sea wall to Stanley Park or taking a water taxi to Granville Island for brunch, no other city mixes rugged nature with a clean urban center like Vancouver.
OC: You’re an avid hockey fan, in particular the Toronto Maple Leafs. What’s it like living in LA with all the Kings fans?
BH: Horrible. But, I still find time to play hockey once a week at the Kings training facility out in El Segundo. I love getting on the ice; it’s a great way to blow off energy. Always a fun group of guys even if they are Kings fans.
OC: Who is your all time favorite player?
BH: Dougie Gilmour, of course.
OC: Top three favorite restaurants in LA?
BH: Osteria La Buca – all local and farm raised in Brentwood. (Who knew there’s a farm in Brentwood?) Meatballs are the best I’ve ever had.
Vernetti – Italian done right, the grilled octopus is insane.
Village Pizzeria on Larchmont – the best place in LA to get a slice of Brooklyn pie.
OC: Congratulations on the birth of your new baby boy! As a new dad, are you getting any sleep and what would be your tip to new parents?
BH: No, I’m not, but I’m hoping it works for the tired doctor look. As for advice? Hard to say, I’m only 3-months in with my first. I have A LOT more to learn, but one tip I can think of is don’t over do it with newborn clothes. You blink and they’ve out grown it. When we found out we were having a boy, my wife and I were so excited that we splurged on a ton of it to make our little man studly. First off, go practical over style. I know that sounds boring, but simple and easy is best. During a meltdown or the dreaded “Dirty D” as we call the “messy” changes, the last thing you want to be doing is fumbling with aligning buttons. Zippers are your friend at 4 am.
OC: First thing you do when arriving at a hotel in your room?
BH: Check out the mini bar and bath robe situation ;)
OC: Complete the following sentence: I never leave home without my:
BH: Script! Those medical terms don’t roll off the tongue over night ;)
Benjamin Hollingsworth, please use care upon departure as items may have shifted in The Overhead Compartment during our journey. Thanks for choosing us for your travel tips! Have a wonderful day!
Photo credit: Brad Everett Young