The Good Doctor cast share on-set secrets

“I cry at the table reads!”
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The second season of The Good Doctor is currently airing on Channel Seven, with its arrival highly anticipated by fans, who grew fond of the series’ cast and their unique characters.

But what do the stars of the medical drama series make of their characters? We caught up with them to find out more about their roles, and on-set secrets.

Freddie Highmore (Dr Shaun Murphy)

“It’s not all about Shaun’s autism”

For all the praise Freddie Highmore has received for playing a character with autism, he points out that there’s more to Dr Shaun Murphy.

“He’s not solely defined by his autism,” Freddie, 26, explains. “He’s come from this quiet country life. There are many things he’s dealing with that aren’t necessarily linked to his condition, so it’s exploring that too.”

Freddie is also keen to stress that Shaun isn’t intended to represent everyone with autism.

“It would be an impossible and sort of arrogant thing to do, in the same way that, ‘Oh, everyone who’s neuro-typical will be represented by this one person.'”

For Freddie, it was important that his character move away from TV and film stereotypes of people with autism. He says they’ve often been portrayed as “devoid of emotion”, which he calls “nonsense”.

What attracted Freddie to The Good Doctor was the humour and the “moments of joy” in the script. Viewers get to understand Shaun and see him as a fully formed individual.

“It seems sort of silly having to say it,” Freddie says, “but it hasn’t necessarily always been done in the past.”

Antonia Thomas (Dr Claire Browne)

“Claire is shut off emotionally”

Antonia Thomas says she loves playing Dr Claire Browne because she’s “a complete ball of contradictions”.

“She has a huge heart,” Antonia, 32, explains. “But in her personal life, she’s pretty shut off and she can’t connect, so she has all these contradictions going on.”

In the real world, the British actress is living something of a double life. She’s starring in two TV shows: Lovesick, “a very British rom-com”, and The Good Doctor, “a very American medical drama”.

“I get to flex very, very different skills and that’s what keeps me excited about this job,” she says. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Richard Schiff (Dr Aaron Glassman)

“I guessed at the start Glassman was dying”

“I knew from the first script, from the pilot,” he remembers. “I sat down with [executive producer] David Shore and asked, ‘Is Glassman dying?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah! How do you know?’ I said, ‘There was a clue in the first episode.’

“I don’t know if he’d gamble his life and career on whether Shaun will be successful as a surgeon unless there was some kind of special reason for that.”

The second season of The Good Doctor has been one of turmoil for Glassman.

“Being in a position of potentially saving lives and then facing the fact you can’t save your own is not a fun feeling,” Richard, 63, explains.

“The predicament, and the potential for him losing his faculties [as Glassman becomes more ill], is a good challenge for an actor. So I’m looking forward to continuing the roller-coaster.”

Another thrill for Richard this season has been his real-life wife, Sheila Kelley, getting more scenes as his love interest, Debbie. Richard proudly explains that Sheila is more than an actor.

“She originated the entire worldwide industry of pole dancing as fitness,” he says. “People should look her up.”

Christina Chang (Dr Audrey Lim)

“I cry at table reads”

Viewers who cry at The Good Doctor should know that there’s at least one cast member who does too.

“I cry at the table reads,” Christina Chang, who plays Dr Audrey Lim, admits. “And sometimes while I’m shooting too, which is not appropriate. Halt, dab, dab, start over. This is an emotional show.”

Christina, 47, says Dr Lim is driven by the fact she’s a female surgeon.

“In reality, only 19 percent of surgeons are women,” she says. “She’s driven even more to stand up for women and girls.”

This season, Christina has been upped to a regular cast member. She’s full of praise for her “kind and nice and brilliant” co-star Freddie.

“He wrote the premiere episode for season two, and he’s going to direct further down the line,” she says. “So he’s capable of wearing many different hats at the same time.”

The Good Doctor airs Tuesday, 9pm, on Channel Seven.

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