Rudy Martinez previews new episodes of HEARTBEAT
HEARTBEAT on NBC tells the story of a busy, workaholic doctor named Alex Panttiere and her relationships – to the work, to her fellow doctors, to the men in her life, to her interns. While the show will not live on beyond a solid first season run, we spoke with series star Rudy Martinez about what to expect out of the last run of episodes, why ou should revisit the season as a whole, and what’s coming next for him!
How are you describing HEARTBEAT to people?
There are a lot of medical shows out there and I think that there’s a lot of procedural medical shows. And I think that this is not that. This is more about the characters and the relationships that are built up in the hospital. You see a lot of things that go on outside of the hospital as well, so I think that’s what makes the show different than other medical shows. It’s also based on a real person and real experiences. We actually have the pleasure of having Dr Kathy Magliato on set a lot, and she’s the person who is the inspriation for Dr Alex Panttiere. She’s wonderful; having her around is amazing. I read the story in the new scripts every week – I immediately going to Kathy and ask her “did this really happen?” Usually she says, yes, a version of this did happen. This is based on a time when I did this operation, or this character is actually based on a friend of mine, so that’s been the most fascinating thing about working on the show.
It has to be insane to know that some of these stories really have happened in the real world – some of them seem so far-fetched or impossible, and that’s usually the most real thing.
One episode I can think of in particular, I think it was episode 3 or 4, where the doctors at St Matthews had to perform 30 life saving pancreatic cancer treatments and that’s based on an actual study, it was an experimental treatment. They actually did save lives during that, so of course it’s condense and I’m sure dramatized for TV, but you know, Kathy always says that you don’t need to add a lot of drama. There’s enough drama in the hospitals as it is. So I think there’s plenty to work with.
I think you hit the nail on the head – it’s more of a workplace drama than it is a medical procedural, and the workplace happens to be a hospital where these cases happen.
I think that people probably come to HEARTBEAT expecting the high-paced one procedure after the next, and what they get is a lot more heart and character development.
I like the relationship – Alex notices in Marty that he has something. She sees something worthy of having him around.
I think Marty, he’s kind of the runt of the litter in terms of the interns. If you noticed, all of the interns are really tall, kind of towering over me, and that makes Marty stand out. She sees something in him that’s a real earnest quality, maybe it’s potential, and she pulls him aside and tells him to stick close, and learn to sleep with your eyes open [laughs]. I don’t think Marty takes that lightly. I think that he is very determined to make a good impression and to learn as much as possible. And everything he does, even if he messes up now and then, he tries 110%.
That’s really important – if you’re going to try, don’t half-ass it, and that’s what the character is about.
Especially if you’re going to become a doctor – I wouldn’t want a doctor who half-assed his internship [laughs].
Do you have a favorite episode of the ones coming up?
There are some cool story lines coming up. I can’t say exactly what. [Last week’s] episode [was] a really beautiful one. They experimented with the cinematography that’s really beautiful. It’s one of my favorite episodes and Marty [got] a chance to step up. He sees a situation and he has to act quick to apply the knowledge that Alex has given him.
What’s the training like to play a doctor on TV?
Yeah there is a lot of medical jargon! It is sometimes difficult to spew it out. Luckily, we have some really good medical consultants on the show. Kathy being a producer, she’s usually around. We also have Susy Schilling who is a consultant. She is there to help us hold a certain tool, or how to say a certain word, we have a lot of help.
What else do you have coming up?
Yeah, I mean I did a handful of episodes on JANE THE VIRGIN, so I was really happy to get to know that cast and play a recurring character on that. HEARTBEAT has kind of been my whole year. It’s been a whirlwind experience. I’m looking forward spending a little more time writing. I do a lot of theater and I like to write for theater as well. I’m working on a play right now – I actually recently had a reading of it with some friends at a theater here in LA, so I’m kind of hoping to finish that, and maybe get a whole production.
I was reading your bio – seems like you keep yourself so busy. That has to be fulfilling – with a lot of the things you’re doing. Creatively, emotionally, like the scholarship at UCLA that you sponsor. How do you keep it all straight?
I think it’s, for the most part, it’s a joy. I like getting up in the morning and knowing that I have to go to set, or I have to do some work on the scholarship. I tend to be a little bit of a disorganized person [laughs], so luckily I just invested in a really nice weekly planner. I’m kind of a person who needs to write everything out. If I don’t write it down, I kind of forget it. Like, I can’t even use my iPhone. I can’t even use my google calendars or I WILL forget. I’m a very tactile person, writing, jotting things down; makes me feel official.
And you say that you’re writing for theater – are you also exploring moving into TV, films, exploring the different mediums?
I actually would love to write for movies and TV. I think that this is somewhat of a newfound passion. I’ve been writing ever since I was in high school, but there’s nothing like hearing a play that you wrote outloud for the first time. There are parts where you might cringe, but there are other parts where it’s like “hey, I might be good at this. I think this is really unique dialogue with an interesting perspective. I think I should keep writing this.” It inspires you to keep going. I would definitely love to write for TV and film someday.
You mention “I think I’m good, I think I can keep going,” – we are always our own worst critics. If you’ve convinced yourself, then you’re over one of the biggest hurdles.
Yeah! I think that goes across the board. The acting, writing, really anything you set out to do. It’s definitely, in acting especially, I can be my own worst critic. I have to find things that I’m proud of as well.
Do you get time to watch other shows?
Um, yeah [laughs]. I mean, GAME OF THRONES, every week I have to watch that or else I will hear spoilers and won’t be happy about that! I’m trying to get into some other shows – I really love VEEP and HOUSE OF CARDS. Those are like my three top shows. I just started watching MR ROBOT, which is really cool. It’s dark and kind of mysterious. I love the performances on that, and I also started watching TRANSPARENT, which is really good, too. The acting in that is amazing. This is silly – I watch this cartoon called STEVEN UNIVERSE. I love that. I’m like 5 episodes but that’s just a lot of fun. I love the idea of cartoon superheroes. It’s hard to keep up with everything. I just have this ongoing list. Ok, gotta get back to Netflix and watch them all!
HEARTBEAT airs their final two episodes tonight (5/18) and next Wednesday at 8/7c on NBC.