BWW Interviews: Ditch Davey Discusses BLACK BOX's Surprisingly Popular Love Triangle
In ABC's new medical drama BLACK BOX, Australian actor Ditch Davey plays brilliant neurosurgeon Dr. Ian Bickman. New to the state-of-the-art facility known as The Cube, the arrogant surgeon forms an instant, explosive relationship with colleague Dr. Catherine Black (Kelly Reilly). Despite being engaged to another man, Catherine finds herself drawn to Ian's brilliance, skills, and bad boy mystique.
Yesterday, BWW spoke to Davey about the show's focus on mental illness, and how he views the burgeoning relationship between Drs. Bickman and Black. Last week, BWW spoke to Reilly about the show and working with legendary co-star Vanessa Redgrave.
The newest epsidoe of BLACK BOX airs tonight (Thursday, June 26th) on ABC at 8:00pm. For more infromation, visit the show's official website abc.com/BlackBox or follow the show on Twitter @BlackBoxABC.
BWW: BLACK BOX somewhat walks a tightrope between the pros and cons of modern medicine in dealing with mental illness; how do you see the way the show approaches the issue?
Davey: Personally, I think recently, and I'd say in the last 10 or so years, I think mental illness has been a kind of a dirty word. I certainly know in my community, back in Australia, back in Victoria, we had a government that shut down our mental illness hospital, and people were thrown out onto the street, because of the lack of understanding for all of that, and I know this happens all over the world. These people are lumped into one basket, but to even begin to have the conversation with the community, and articulating the differences between certain illnesses, you have to find out each person's story.
By going into that, you begin to be able to help these people, and give them a voice, and that's what I really admire about the series; opening up that conversation again; even if it is just a couple of people that recognize some behavior that you may see on the show, and rather than just thinking of your uncle as the crazy uncle you never want to go and visit.
I think it really just begins the conversation again with the community, and maybe with that, we can get some more funding into that area, and then start helping the people in our community; I think that's what it highlights; that these people are people, and with the right help they can go on to live good lives, and extraordinary lives; be a parent, or be a daughter, and that's important, rather than trotting them off to the side.
What I really appreciate about BLACK BOX is that the show doesn't come across as preachy, but rather emphasizes that each person's experiences and circumstances are different.
Absolutely, I think you're right on. That's the conversation, that's the way it was for me. Let's begin the conversation, and you never really know what's right or wrong, but just to be able to have the conversation, you find out more information, rather than ignoring it, because it's not going away.
As viewers, we've seen Dr. Bickman evolve from a fairly arrogant, narcissistic individual, kind of the stereotypical surgeon, into someone who is still quite arrogant, but obviously has more depth than we were first led to believe. How do you see Ian as a character, as he's evolved through the first half of the season?
That's absolutely right, I think the way in which I wanted to approach that, I think we, as an audience, get introduced to The Cube at the same time as he did. So, I think everything was new. So you do automatically start to make judgments on new things, to try to get a handle on it. That's where I really wanted to set him up, as someone who maybe was a little too arrogant; a little too abrasive. That's when you can start surprising the audience and the other characters in the show; when you evolve and grow with them. That's the area that I wanted to go in, and certainly the production, and the writers, and everything, we were all going in that area, and just be able to surprise.
I think that's interesting to take a character on a journey, and for the audience to be along for the ride, rather than knowing everything about him in the first couple of scenes.
That was a real joy, that was great to be able to use that kind of life, and to slowly be able to show the cracks in his veneer. He's been working his entire life to protect his child with in, I suppose. The reason people become like that is for particular reasons in their lives. So that's what I wanted for him, I wanted for him to be impenetrable for certain things that he had to deal with as a child. And because of that you get big cracks in the veneer, and you see a real person seeping through.
In the last episode we saw him talk about how unparalleled the rush of his work is, but we also see some of his personality coming through because of his relationship with Catherine. Obviously, they have a lot in common, not only professionally, but certainly personally as well, and you and Kelly have great chemistry together. How do you see the dynamic between the two characters from where it started as a passionate sort of hookup, to where, going into this week's episode, it is developing into something that is a little more true?
Yea, I think at the start of the season you get a real sense of just the physical attraction, and I suppose the game, the gamesmanship of it all; certainly with him. And as we've got to know a little more, he really has met his match, and she has also, they find a real appreciation in each other, they find a dueling partner, they find it's not just a physical attraction. They are amongst equals, so I think it has been wonderful for them to go on that particular journey. For him, the cracks do start to appear, and he finds her more and more a part of his life, despite himself.
I think the very things that he's tried to avoid in life; because he's afraid of his own emotions, and afraid of being abandoned, and all of the things that you feel to be able to put up those walls; he's kind of being drawn into the very thing that he's been trying to avoid for so long and he can't stop it. And that's a really brave thing; it's a magnetism, it's something that's inevitable. You know, he had to face it at some point, and being in this situation with her, it's fantastic to see them go toe-to-toe when their intellect is on the line, and their sensibilities are on the line. It's great to see those two characters together.
Yea, I definitely didn't anticipate rooting for those two to be together when the season started. I didn't picture that I would end up hoping that they moved forward, so I suppose that's a testament to both of you, and the writing, and the chemistry that you have.
Yea, thank you very much. It's kind of interesting isn't it, Matt?
It really is.
It's interesting that the third point of the love triangle, that there's an interest in that relationship. I think that's interesting as well, to pose those questions to the audience. What's right? Because you think, "Wow, she has made a commitment to Will, and there's that relationship," but there's also a completely different side to her life, and life itself. So, it's really interesting. I didn't get, or Bickman didn't get, very positive comments at the start of the series, as the home wrecker, but now people are starting to root for that couple, so that's very interesting.