“Our surnames are who we are. No one can take this away from us” Nicholas Gonzalez and Christina Chang at Monte-Carlo Television Festival

Q: What do you love about this show?

C: How there are so many new stories put inside the episode every time. People want to see what happens outside of the hospital. And we love our story. We are so flattered that the writers and David chose to give us this story.

N: And it’s not a ridiculous one, not an over-romantic. It’s very adult, very mature. Bur when you see the finale of season 2, there are some challenges … position changes for us and we have to kind of deal with that in the workplace environment … and obviously, it’s gonna test us and our relationship too.

Q: You have a lot to learn as doctors here…

N: Yes, I’m still learning. What I do every time I have to shoot a surgery scene, I stop a little and I try to focus on the right perspective: “we are going to remove a tumor from the womb of a pregnant woman and then we are going to put the baby back in place. These are fantastic surgeries that happen in real life. And it’s incredible to think that there are many of these… and people… heroes able to do them. My father and my brother are in medicine, and my brother is a surgeon so it makes me appreciate more what he does every day.

Q: Did they give you some advice?

N: Yes, yes. When we shot the pilot, he came and was an unofficial technical advisor. The director was always asking him if it was all good before moving on to the next scene.

Q: There are medical shows that have successful seasons and others that are unable to bond with the audience. What makes The Good Doctor one of the first ones?

N: I love your Gucci scarf by the way… sorry, I had to say it (then to Christina) you can talk now…

C: Well, (Nicholas start to drink his coffee, making an annoying sound)

N: Sorry, go on go on…

C: I was saying (and Nicholas starts again). He does things like this all the time. I’ll say probably an obvious thing: the show is lead by an autistic doctor and as an audience, we are rooting for him and it’s nice to see how he faces his challenges, so I’d say that there is a message of hope that it’s sent to them.

N: And in these dark times, this show shows diversity but also political issues and emotional issues.

Q: So, do you support the fact that television needs to send political messages?

N: Yes, television needs to take responsibility, I have a voice and I have the responsibility of making it hear when I’m in character as well as when I’m not.

Q: Recently, there are more people of color in leading roles in American shows. Was it hard at the beginning of your career, to pass an audition due to your origins?

N: Still is.

C: Yes.

Q: So, how did you fight it?

C: Moment by moment

N: Every day. And roles like this, you know, can help. I mean, there is no spotlight about our culture but it is something we bring in; in the background of the show tough. But you are always dealing with an audition where you love the leading role but they want a white actor or auditions where is your last name to be wrong because not right for the marquee.

C: And our last names are pretty obvious about who we are and about where we are from. I was asked to change my last name because it wasn’t good for the marquee.

N: Me too.

C: And I didn’t do it, and I’m not sure if I have done it if I have got here 13 years ago instead of now. It has been a long road.

N: They wanted me to use my middle name. My middle name is Edward so Nicholas Edward, so much better.

C: What is embarrassing for the person who asked me to do that is that she was pointing out names who were made up. They weren’t even real names!! But I just wanted to be me.

Q: What did you learn about autism from this show?

C: I have personal experiences and we work with these actors, on this particular show who are… I mean I really really like them…they are so…

N: Direct.

C: Yes and authentic. You know, it’s a very refreshing lesson and I think it’s exactly what the directors put on screen with Dr. Murphy.
So yes, I’m constantly learning from them on set.

N: At the same time I also have personal experiences with family members and friend kids. And the audience needs to see which great things they are able to do.

 

The Good Doctors is back with season 3 on September 23rd

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