Hugh Laurie determined to hook up with pal Stephen Fry again
I miss my old mate Fry says Doc House star Laurie
He looks as mad as a hatter as he sticks his tongue out with a prescription drug on it – but Hugh Laurie is probably the sanest actor in Hollywood.
Since moving to the States to play quirky medical genius Dr Gregory House, Hugh has become a worldwide name, he’s in the top 10 wealthiest earners in US TV and has been nominated for every award going.
But despite the acclaim, Hugh is determined to return to Britain to team up with his old comedy pal Stephen Fry.
Hugh, 50, who hit stardom with Stephen, 52, in A Bit Of Fry And Laurie 20 years ago and went on with him to make Jeeves And Wooster, told The People: “I miss working with Stephen a lot.
“We’ll definitely be doing more Fry and L aurie. We used to talk about doing something like a stage review.
“Stand-up comedy is a massive industry now but actual sketch comedy on stage I don’t think anyone is really doing that now, and that’s something we thought we would try and do.”
Hugh, who is reported to earn £250,000 an episode for House in Los Angeles, added: “I love London. I really do. I miss rain. I mean, I love sunshine too, but there’s something odd about a place this green that has no rain.”
Oxford-born Hugh has been playing oddball Dr House with an American accent since the top-rated worldwide show started five years ago but says: “I have to think about every word I say.
“Not even just the words. I heard the other day that I had been criticised on the internet for laughing in a British accent.
“The character was conceived as an American. I tried it in English for about 12 seconds.
“The producer Bryan Singer who was directing the pilot episode said, ‘Thanks that’s enough’. I just do the best that I can, but it gets tough at the end of a long day.”
Hugh insists the similarities between him and cane-using Doc House are few.
“Me and House, we’re the same height, and we both floss intermittently,” he joked. “And I am naturally cranky. It’s how they found me.”
Despite his massive fame in House which is sold to 66 countries and is reputedly the most watched TV show in the world, Hugh refuses to let success to go to his head.
He said: “I’m a good old-fashioned Presbyterian so I am very suspicious of success and worldly pleasures. But the fans of the show are almost all lovely. Trouble is, the really crazy ones don’t wear a hat that says Really Crazy.
“I never watch the show myself. I am anywhere but in front of the TV when it’s on. I suddenly find chores in the garage. There are a lot of people on the show that work very, very hard, and I hope that they are proud of it. I certainly am and it’s a real thrill to work on.
“I feel lucky. Very lucky. I still feel proud of some of the things we do.
“We don’t get it all right, by any means, but it’s enough to make me puff my chest out when no one’s looking.”
Hugh is determined to carry on entertaining the world in House however the storylines pan out and he shrugs off being typecast by staying in the role.
“If I’m typecast by House, well, there are worse things,” he shrugged.
“I don’t mind what direction the show goes in, as long as it’s done with style. I don’t really care what happens, I only care how it happens.
“House could become a nun, or an arms-dealer, or a transvestite, I don’t really mind as long as it’s done well. It’s the ‘how’ not the ‘what’. Just an ending that satisfies is all. That does justice.”
One thing you won’t find him doing is logging on to Twitter, like pal and self-professed Twitter-witter Fry.
Hugh said: “My Twitter time was an experiment. It didn’t quite work for me. I am not Tweeting I have strong feelings about Twitter, which I will keep to myself but I’m not a fan. No, I’m not.
“Stephen is on it every day.” Fry has appeared on rival American TV series Bones and Hugh is hoping to recruit his services in the City of Angels.
Hugh said: “I see him a lot and I hope he’ll be coming over to LA soon. I really hope he guest stars on House.”
Season Six of House sees Hugh’s character in a psychiatric hospital after he hit rock-bottom at the end of the last series. Hugh said: “It is a pretty dark sort of a place, although there’s laughter too. There’s always laughter. But it’s a very complicated mixture of many different elements and at the beginning of the new season it’s part of the story, it’s not the whole story, but it’s part of the story.
“The fact that he’s having hallucinations at all is as puzzling to him as it is to anybody else.
“That is really part of his task to try and work out the cause of this disintegration, this psychic disintegration.
“He’s superficially sceptical of psychiatry and psycho-analysis, but beneath that I think he probably rather fears it, fears it because it strays into an area of the unknowable, and that’s not somewhere where House likes to be.
“There are tectonic shifts within this character. He is trying to keep himself in check, curb his acerbic tongue and connect with people in a way he hadn’t done previously. How long it will last remains to be seen. I have my doubts.”
Hugh was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in House in 2005.
Although he did not win, he did receive a Golden Globe in both 2006 and 2007 for his work on the series and the Screen Actors Guild award in 2007 and 2009.
“I’m not frustrated by not winning the Emmy at all,” he said. “It was just great to be considered.
“I’d love to write an episode of House sometime, but I am not equipped. Those guys are cleverer than cats.
“I’d love to direct, as the cliché goes, but then I’d lose any right to complain about how hard I work – and I do love my complaining.”
But if there’s one role Hugh covets, it’s to be a Bond villain.
“It’s the best gig going,” he smiled. “I also love Dr Who. I grew up with it. I’d play anything that involved less than five hours in the make-up chair. also love doing voice work.
You can wear your own clothes if you want and read from a script.”
He has even thought about branching his talents out into music.
He plays the piano, guitar, drums, harmonica and saxophone and is a vocalist and keyboard player for the Los Angeles charity rock group Band From TV.
He said: “I would love to be an American Idol judge. I’d also be hopeless.
“I would love to do a CD of music even though actors’ music never quite works, does it?” For now he can keep on hitting all the right notes in House.