Client Confidentiality – Behind the Scenes of FX’s “The Patient” with Stars Steve Carell and Domhnall Gleeson

“I hope that I'm chained up in the set for everything I do going forward,” joked Steve Carell about his new project, FX’s The Patient, which he both stars in and executive produces. During a TCA press conference for the limited series, which premieres August 30th on Hulu, Carell talked about the physical limitations of playing an abducted therapist whose been chained to a basement bed by his captor. “It was a real lock with a real key, and I thought, boy, if there's an earthquake or a fire, I hope somebody thinks twice about letting me out of here.”

(Suzanne Tenner/FX)

(Suzanne Tenner/FX)

“We had spent a lot of time talking about a way to do a show that dealt with therapy,” series co-creator, co-showrunner, co-writer, and executive producer Joel Fields revealed about the series' origins. “We were having a tough time finding a way in because it's hard to find drama in people talking to each other, and then we stumbled upon this idea, and it seemed like, gee, there might just be some stakes in this particular circumstance, and we were off to the races once we found it.”

Steve Carell plays Dr. Alan Strauss, a therapist who does a lot of introspection about his faith and family when he is abducted by his newest patient. “When we came up with the original idea, the character wasn't originally Jewish, and we started, as you always do, looking for ways to add specificity and depth and came up with that idea and pretty quickly realized that it allowed us to tap into things from our own lives and our own pasts that added certain dimensions,” added Joe Weisberg, Joel’s fellow co-creator, co-showrunner, co-writer, and executive producer. “It became a lot more fun to write in a certain way after that.” Exploring different lawyers of Judaism, Joel and Joe brought in a few experts to help with accuracy, including Menachem Hecht for Orthodox elements and Duvid Swirksy for Reform Judaism. A therapist and writer named Dennis Palumbo also assisted with the accuracy of Dr. Strauss’ therapeutic practices.

“There's a lot of fascination with serial killers, there is a lot of stuff about serial killers available, and I read a bunch of it,” shared Domhnall Gleeson, who plays Sam Fortner, a serial killer who abducts his therapist in an effort to change his ways. “At the end of the day, it felt like the clues were so well written. Sam is a very specific sort of person…. It was about asking questions of myself and asking questions of the script as opposed to looking for answers on the internet or in research. I enjoyed that journey tremendously.”

Domhnall Gleeson and Steve Carell may have found their characters on the page but also credit each other with a lot of their acting choices. “We tried to read all the episodes to get to the end so we could inform ourselves about the beginning,” explained director and executive producer Chris Long about the three-day rehearsal period before filming began. “These are enormous days page-count-wise, but we tried to shoot less hours, about 11 hours a day, which is not particularly long hours in our world. But we did a lot of takes, and we experimented a lot. So we had rehearsal time, but we also did build-in time during shooting where we could experiment.”

“The direction was wonderful, the series was incredible, and working with Steve was like a dream,” gushed Domhnall Gleeson about his experience on The Patient. “Working with Domhnall, talk about in the moment,” added Steve Carell. “It felt so fresh every time we would try something or do something, and one of the best experiences I've ever had with another actor. Just a phenomenal and exciting journey to take with somebody.”

Don’t miss Steve Carell and Domhnall Gleeson in FX’s psychological thriller, debuting August 30th with a double-episode premiere exclusively on Hulu. New episodes will launch on Tuesdays through October 25th.

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