Acting is the art of faking it, but according to Julianna Margulies, there’s one thing that can’t be faked on the big or small screens — chemistry.
A romance can be scripted, but the spark between characters and the looks that speak volumes require something that never makes it to the page. And she should know, after playing one-half of one of the hottest couples on television in the 1990s.
Margulies starred as Carol Hathaway opposite George Clooney’s Doug Ross during the first several seasons of the beloved medical drama “ER,” and the pair quickly became fan favorites.
“That can’t happen if you don’t have a crush on each other,” Margulies told People magazine in a recent interview. “And with George and me, it was so organic.”
So viewers who thought what the stars had looked real weren’t too far off the mark. She and Clooney hit it off right from the start.
“He could not have been kinder or sweeter,” she said of her first meeting with the heartthrob, adding, “I was just supposed to be a guest star, No. 39 on the call sheet.”
But there was that chemistry that couldn’t go to waste, and besides that, working with Clooney was like a master class for Margulies.
“I followed and watched how he conducted himself on the set,” she recalled. “When you create an environment that people feel safe in, then you do your best work. And George taught me that, I felt so safe with him. I mean, I never thought, ‘Well, why would I be in the bathtub and he’s coming in?’ I was like, ‘OK, I’ll be in the bathtub. Yeah, great.'”
It’s a relationship that she’s reflected on a lot lately, as she’s penned her memoir, “Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life,” which comes out next month. She’s even sending Clooney his own advance copy.
“I literally just was emailing with George,” the 54-year-old told People, “because I said, ‘I’ve written this book and you’re in it, and it’s not a tell-all, it’s just that I have to give credit where credit is due and you should have it. And where do I send it, under what name and what country?'”
He’s not the only one to get a sneak peek, as Margulies mentioned that fellow “ER” alums Noah Wyle (John Carter) and Eriq La Salle (Peter Benton) have their own copy.
“Everyone’s been so responsive and kind and loving, and it’s overwhelming to be honest with you,” she said. “They’ll be my other family for the rest of my life for sure.”
And there’s good news for “ER” fans — that family is having a reunion Thursday.
To mark Earth Day and benefit the Waterkeeper Alliance, Margulies, Clooney and Wyle will join Gloria Reuben (Jeanie Boulet), Laura Innes (Kerry Weaver), Anthony Edwards (Mark Greene), Goran Visnjic (Luka Kovac), Paul McCrane (Robert Romano), Ming-Na Wen (Jing-Mei Chen), Laura Cerón (Chuny Marquez), Yvette Freeman (Haleh Adams), Conni Marie Brazelton (Connie Oligario) and CCH Pounder (Angela Hicks) for a Stars in the House reunion on YouTube.