Royal Pains Star Mark Feuerstein Talks HankMed 2.0, Plus Directing & Twitter!

USA Network’s great summer medical show Royal Pains returns for its fourth season this Wednesday, June 6, at 9/8c, and we got the scoop from star Mark Feuerstein on how the dramatic end of season three will set things in motion for season four.

On the schism between Hank and Evan that will start the season:

“And so now we come to Season 4, having had a major schism between the brothers over the business, which I think is a very real thing. My father was a corporate lawyer who dealt specifically in corporate divorce with two partners who were in business and had very different ideas about how to grow the business and how to grow together in business. So that’s the problem we come to at the end of Season 3. And now Evan is off in HankMed 2.0, as he calls it, while I’m left in a lurch trying to piece together the remaining bits of our company so I can continue to do what I do, which is taking care of patients when they need me, where they need me. And it looks like Evan is very good at being an entrepreneur and growing the business on his own and finding other doctors to replace his poor, lonely, sad brother, who is now on his own. But as I like to believe, it should always be true with family, though it’s not always true in reality, the brothers will come back together, will find a way that they can get over this schism. And will be that much more mature and productive because of the fight that they had.”

But which brother is right?

“I think Evan is absolutely right, that the business needs to grow. And as Hank goes out on his own and realizes you can’t just wait for business to come to you, you have to go out in the world and find clients and find patients. It’s a reality of running a business. But I also think Hank is a purist. It’s a question that we’re always asking in our business. You and me both, from reporters of Web sites and magazines to actors, to directors and writers, what is selling out? When are you watering down your initial intention, your vision, for the sake of commerce and marketing? And those are the questions Hank is asking Evan all the time, because he’s saying ‘I don’t want to waste my time promoting HankMed, making t-shirts and hats and Frisbees when I could be in the field saving someone’s life or even just maintaining someone’s life.’ And so I think Hank gets a little self-righteous because you don’t get to do that if people don’t know that you exist. So that’s why there’s a great conflict there. Because Evan puts too much importance on growing the business and not enough on staying true to its initial principles. And Hank is too busy sitting on his pedestal, focusing on his Hippocratic Oath, to realize that if he doesn’t get out there and hawk his wares he won’t have anybody to take care of.”

On who Hank is without HankMed:

“Hank very much identifies himself with his work. So as you’ll see, when he is somewhat out of work, he is slightly lost. There’s a moment with a patient who asks Hank for his pamphlet, explaining what they do and how it works, and he doesn’t have it because that was always Evan’s job. He doesn’t have the documents that he’s supposed to be giving the client because he doesn’t do that sort of thing. So, you know, it’s always a great opportunity in life when a person who has been our right hand is sick for the day and you realize just how little you can get through the day without them. And so Hank is a little at sea. But as is always the case in the Hamptons of Royal Pains, there are always people who need to be treated and somehow they always find their way to Hank Lawson. And when they do, Hank always rises to the challenge. So it’s not like he’s sitting on the beach, crying for Evan for the following five episodes. There are lots of things that go down.”

And what happens to Divya when Hank and Evan are at odds?

“This is a wonderful question. A question that I can’t really answer you because it’s a story point in Season 4 of Royal Pains. If I told you that I would deprive you of all the tugging and pulling and bargaining and convincing and charming and cajoling that we do of Divya Katdare. And so all I can say to you is that it’s not for lack of effort that Evan and I try to figure out the answer to your question, who gets Divya Katdare? But only by watching our show will you receive your answer.”

On the joys and challenges of directing as well as acting:

“If I thought acting was stressful, if I thought acting almost gave me a heart attack when the sun is setting and we have to nail a very complicated medical or emotional scene, then directing will officially give me a heart attack and force me to have to perform open heart surgery on myself out on the set. Because directing is the greatest challenge I have had in my career to date. And I am so grateful to the USA Network and to the executive producers of our show, Michael Rauch and Andrew Lenchewski, who have afforded me this opportunity. Rather than just telling the story from my perspective, as limited as it can be when you’re an actor playing one role, I now find myself in a position where I get to tell the entire story. I get to think about every character and their journey and their arc and how it dovetails with the journeys and arcs of every other character. And what images I want to show to tell the story. What jokes or visual points of view I want to bring to Royal Pains. . . . And just to be able to spread my wings and make creative decision that I never get to make is a great gift. But the fact that it might open the door to another career for me in this business is a gift I cannot describe my gratitude about getting.”

Mark also mentioned that he is now on Twitter under @markfeuerstein, so all Royal Pains fans should head over and follow him! And don’t miss the season premiere of Royal Pains on Wednesday at 9/8c on USA.

(Photo courtesy of USA Network.)

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