Cavanagh is an actor that most everyone could recognize.
He's one of those actors who just seems to appear on every
single show you're watching. And, hey, we're not complaining!
Most recently Cavanagh was a guest star on USA Network's
hit series Royal Pains, where he had a mini
arc as a talented golfer named Jack O'Malley. The series
follows Hank Lawson, a young emergency room doctor who becomes
a reluctant "doctor for hire" to the rich and
famous in the Hamptons, and Cavanagh's character Jack becomes
quite friendly with Lawson, but has also discovered some
unfortunate news about his health that will end his time
on the show.
PCM's Erin had the chance to speak with Cavanagh about
the appeal of bromances and what it's like to guest star
on a television series. Check out what he had to share about
his time on the show below!
Royal Pains airs every Wednesday
on USA at 10/9c.
Since you're a guest star on the show, did you come
across any challenges establishing your character that you
don't normally experience like when you're working on longer
Yes, great question. I mean, when you're a regular on a
show, you know, like with Royal Pains for example, a perfect
example would be Mark and Paulo and, you know, Jill and
Divya, they don't really have to - I don't even have to
worry too much about what the character is, you know. They
know who they are. It's like putting on a suit, an old suit,
a familiar suit, whatever you want to call it.
And with a guest star it's new and not only is it new you
also have to understand its place I think in the show. I
don't think that those four really worry about their place
in the show. They sort of know what the goal is and how
the show airs and all that kind of stuff.
A guest character knows a lot less, you know, and so you
have to pay attention and you have to listen to how things
are done and what the ideas are behind and the themes that
you're trying to serve and all that kind of stuff. And then
you have to go out there and do as good a job as you can.
It is different but it's a challenge in a different way.
But I think for every actor once they call action, you have
to do as well as you can to serve the character and so the
job is different but the same.
Bromances have become pretty popular in TV and movies
lately and your character and Hank have some pretty good
chemistry on the show, so what do you think the appeal of
a bromance is?
Well I don't know that there's any appeal to a bromance
to be honest with you just because that's one of the words
that are we a better society for having invented it is how
I feel about that.
But I will say this, you know, when two guys - I look at
for example something like Swingers for example, when two
guys get along as guys do, when the banter and the repartee
is witty and flows quickly and feels real, that I think
adds some nice flair, a nice touch to the screen. I've been
fortunate to have a couple of instances onscreen in TV shows
where I've been able to work with actors where the goal
of the writers is to try and create that.
On Trust Me for example Eric McCormack the writers
were like, "Here's what the scene is and if there's
anything that just comes naturally" and it would every
single time. A perfect example of that was when Eric and
I first started talking and we'd been partners for seven
years, it was written and I said, "Look we've been
partners for seven years" but instead of saying seven
years, I decided to throw out five to see what he would
do. And I said, "We've been partners for five years"
and without missing a beat he says, "Seven years"
and I go, "Seven years."
And it was just a funny moment because how can you guys
not know - how can you be off by two years with your best
friend and that was the kind of thing that would happen
again and again. The writers loved it, they supported it,
they were like, "Any time that stuff comes up that
feels real, that's quick and funny and ahead of the curve
and the audience isn't waiting for you to get to the joke."
And I think they've written stuff like that. For example
Jack Bernstein, Constance's episode, these guys have written
this kind of stuff and it's really, really fun to play.
One of the - I think there was a tiny little runner in
the last episode where we were trying to figure out whether
the nephrologist was a child TV star. That thing that just
probably women find so incredibly annoying, two grown males
going back and forth and bickering over a point going, "That's
not her," "That's her," "That's not
her," "That's definitely her," "That's
You know? And yet for us I could have done that, annoyingly
so, I could have done that scene for like 20 minutes. "It's
her," "It's not her," "It's her,"
"It is her." And I think we actually did a couple
of times but Mark did the directing and had to be the responsible
director and cut all our shameless stuff out.
But shameless though it might, be it's fun to do.
Well let's see Jack is really such a great likeable
character. He's sweet, funny, adorable and just genuinely
a nice guy. Have you ever wanted to play the complete opposite,
a darker role, a bad guy or whatever?
Oh yes. No I've definitely done that. Just I don't think
I've done it on such a - for awhile. For years there I was
nothing but the bad character, I had long hair and I played
like serial killers and escaped convicts. And what was one
movie, something called Heart of the Storm where
I would - yes I mean, not to list credits but I've done
plenty of that. I loved doing it.
I did a play here in New York recently where that was the
character was just morally reprehensible and I think every
actor will tell you as I am telling you that it can really
be fun to play the villain. So I've enjoyed it when I get
to play the villain but I also enjoy it when something is
well written like I feel like the character on Royal Pains
is well written. I felt the character on Ed was well written.
And so be it nice guys or bad guys, largely if they're well-written
guys they're going to be fun to play.
What have you learned about yourself from working on
That I am not as good a golfer as I thought I was.
What was it like trying to come off as professional
golfer? Was there a lot of extra work that you put in or
how was that experience like for you?
Well it's, you know, I play a number of sports and you
always - I hate it when I watch something of a sport that
I play and the guy is supposed to be good or the girl is
supposed to be good and then the camera outs them as being
terrible. I just hate that because it takes me right out
of the story. And so in this instance I didn't want to be
And so I took a lot of lessons, you know, I took a lot
of coaching but it's interesting the very first time I golfed
I really did knock one straight and true and it was on take
one with all the crew watching and all that kind of stuff.
But Michael Rauch who's a very good friend of mine and who
was directing the episode he knew that in the session prior
when we were setting up the camera I was on the driving
range for about 40 minutes and I didn't hit one like that.
I shanked everything, you know, I left it short, I hooked
it, just like are diving for their lives and then we had
four cameras running and I thought, "Oh this is going
to be really bad" and then I just nailed it, straight
and true right over the camera and 100 plus. And Rauch is
like, Rauch from behind the camera goes, "I don't think
we need another." And the camera operators are like,
"Don't you usually take two?" He's like, "No,
we're good." And bless his heart for that moment because
I wasn't going to improve on that.
So what always matters is what you have on film, you know,
and so as long as they don't show all the stuff that I'm
duffing off camera then I'll be happy with the performance.
Going into the start of the role did producers already
know the entire storyline for Jack and did they tell you
at the beginning what to expect or were you surprised?
A: At the very beginning I was filming a movie in Vancouver,
Michael Rauch who's an EP, an executive producer on the
show, the show runner and I we go way back, we're old friend,
and we had a great time. It was Michael Rauch's directorial
debut, a season prior and he wrote the part of Jack O'Malley,
the rogue, swashbuckling, semi-good looking golfer with
me in mind. And we had such a good time we thought well,
you know, it would be great if we could have a worthy storyline.
So when he called me we both knew the arc that the storyline
would take, a harrowing but fun arc, and we were both on
board with the arc from the very beginning.
What's just been your favorite moment in general working
on the show?
Any answer to that would sound extremely like a cliché
I have to say. But the truth is this about Royal Pains --
this is a flashpoint, rare divulgence about Royal Pains
-- these guys are great. By the way these guys are great
is a terrible copy for you but it's actually true. You know,
Michael Rauch, the guy that runs the show, Andrew who also
runs the show, these guys are phenomenal human beings, not
phenomenal human beings as it applies to the entertainment
industry but phenomenal human beings.
any of you who are listening to this have interviewed Mark
Feurestein, and I believe many of you have, you know what
kind of guy Mark Feurestein is. He's jet-engine enthusiastic,
he's a wonderful human being, he's a great father, a great
family man, he's extremely talented and he's a phenomenal
leader for the show. The rest of the cast and the crew are
again many people that I've worked with over the years,
they're also phenomenal.
So going to do Royal Pains and this is actually
one of the barometers, if you talk to a crew member around
New York City, many of them are trying to get on the show
because they know the vibe that the show has. Many times
crew members don't really care that much about the subject
matter of a show, but they do care about what the workplace
is like and the workplace at Royal Pains is phenomenal.
And I think sometimes, not always but sometimes there's
a bit of a ... translation to what happens onscreen and
I think in the case of Royal Pains that might be true.