Matt Czuchry is just what the doctor ordered. In Fox’s latest medical drama The Resident, the series takes an unflinching look at the corporatized healthcare system and complexities of human nature set apace with modern medicine. Czuchry is dynamic in this lead role. His character Conrad Hawkins is brash, provocative, grossly chauvinistic, and perhaps the only one truly immune to the corruption. He is exceptional here, a testament to his aptitude for nuance and intricacies in portraying compelling characters. However, Czuchry isn’t only familiar with the need for resuscitation on The Resident. The revival of Gilmore Girls was one of the most highly anticipated reboots of all television history. He starred as Logan Huntsburger on the original series, which made him famous and then infamous. The beloved family drama drew a devoted fan base that was all too delighted at Czuchry’s return, nine years later. Over the years, he developed an impressive roster that includes a range of titles such as Eight Legged Freaks, Hack, 7th Heaven, The Good Wife, and many others. But, it’s his capacity to bring depth to each of these roles that are evocative of his unique artistry. It speaks to his upbringing in Tennessee—son to a professor, stay-at-home mom and the youngest of four. He graduated with top honors from the College of Charleston while receiving a scholarship as captain of the tennis team. All the while, Czuchry pursued acting outside of his academic endeavors. Lucky for us, he did. Whether it's the boyish charm of seasons past or the vulgar entanglements of a doctor gone rogue, we are glad to diagnose that Czuchry’s acting venture is alive and well.
You grew up in Tennessee with your parents and three other siblings. What was your childhood like?
I have two brothers and a sister. I am the youngest child and there is a nine year age difference between me and the next youngest sibling. So, in many ways growing up, I felt like I had five parents, in a good way. That dynamic pushed me to grow up quickly in terms of my overall life perspective.
Would you consider yourself to have been a more well-behaved or mischievous child growing up?
I was a well-behaved child. I would always want to get my school work 100% completed before going out and meeting up with my friends. At a very young age, I wanted to get the weight of my responsibilities off my shoulders first, so that I could then experience the time with my friends more fully and freely.
You’ve probably heard your last name pronounced a million different ways. What kind of difficulties (or laughs) has this provided you?
I played tennis growing up and when they announced my name at tournaments at the start of a match they could never get my surname correct. As a young kid that used to really frustrate me. Then my mom said to me, “It is a good thing. Once you establish yourself people will get your name right. Secondly, when someone gets it wrong, that will always keep you humble.” After she said that, someone mispronouncing my last name never bothered me again. And very recently, on the street people have been coming up to me saying how much they love the first season of The Resident. And often times they approach me with my full name, and they say my last name perfectly. And when that happens, that makes me think fondly of that moment of advice from a mother to a son.
Before you pursued acting, you had ambitions of going to law school. Any regrets there?
No regrets regarding not going to law school. The job of being an actor is very difficult and there are countless sacrifices; but, at the same time I am grateful for the life I have created and I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to connect with people across the world for the past nineteen years through storytelling.
We heard you graduated with honors from the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Do you consider yourself to be smart, or do you work really hard? Perhaps it’s a little bit of both?
I would say that my hard work, discipline, attitude, and perseverance are more my strengths than being smart. And I loved subjects such as History, Political Science, Biology, Philosophy, and English. But ask me to do anything math related... forget about it. Absolutely embarrassing.
How did you get into acting? And what was your first “professional” acting gig?
I majored in history and political science at the College of Charleston. But, I started taking acting classes outside of the College of Charleston in my senior year. My first acting job came shortly after I graduated college when I drove cross country to move to Los Angeles. I said, “Hey Lisa” on a show that Milo Ventimiglia from Gilmore Girls was on. So, the connection to Gilmore Girls began in a unique way very early on in my career.
If you could give one piece of advice to a young person who wants to become an actor, what would it be?
I would offer this to anyone who wants to be an actor and for all in general... constantly study yourself as you experience different emotions, and constantly study others as you travel through life.
Of course, we all know you best as Logan from Gilmore Girls. Were you familiar with the show before joining?
I auditioned several times for different roles on Gilmore Girls before being hired for Logan. I studied the show before my various auditions and that was essential because Gilmore Girls has a very specific tone and pace, which make that series so special. The casting directors and producers liked my work in each audition, and even though ultimately I was not right for those specific roles, they kept me in mind and kept bringing me back for more auditions. And then the role of Logan was written before the start of season five and that one was the right connection for all.
What was your favorite thing about playing Logan?
Logan pushed Rory to live her best life. He pushed her to see a world beyond Stars Hollow. And I loved that about him.
What was it like coming back for the Gilmore Girls reboot?
The Gilmore Girls reboot was incredibly special. It was like getting another shot at your college years. I specifically loved filming the Life and Death Brigade scenes, including the dance sequence and through their last goodbye. To have that group all back together again was priceless. Further, I feel like that sequence of moments within the reboot represents the best of Rory and Logan for the series as a whole. A magical mystery tour if you will. And in my mind, perhaps that sequence is more of a dream than reality. And that dream vs. reality is what defines Rory and Logan’s relationship, incredibly bittersweet.
Out of all the roles you have played throughout the years, which one do you connect to the most?
For me, I am most deeply connected to the character I am currently playing. So, at the time of this interview that would be my character on The Resident, Dr. Conrad Hawkins. That is because you have to inhabit the headspace of that character so specifically, constantly, and fully in order to make that character believable, authentic, and interesting.
You are currently starring as Conrad Hawkings on The Resident. Tell us about this project.
The Resident intrigued me because it took a beloved genre and approached it from a different perspective by pulling the curtain back on all the good, bad, and otherwise that happens in hospitals across the country. By having a medical drama that is a touch grittier, a bit rawer, that allow for moral complexities and ethical questions to be raised in a new way that we have not seen beforehand in the genre. For example, the show tackles subjects such as medical error, the financial aspects of what it takes to run a hospital within our healthcare system and in turn how those financial decisions impact the patients. Further, doctors and nurses are heroes. And we show that. But we show them as fallible heroes, they are human. So we explore when they make mistakes and how do they process those mistakes emotionally in order to properly take care of the next patient that comes through the door. And lastly, I connected to the character of Dr. Conrad Hawkins instantly when I read the pilot. I loved all the different layers of his personal and professional life. He has a lot of moxie and is willing to break the rules and stand up to the system to protect his patients. He is a bit Machiavellian in his methods and that was an exciting challenge for me to take on.
You have starred in a ton of very binge-worthy television shows. What are you currently watching?
I am just desperately waiting for Game Of Thrones to come back for the series finale.