To prepare for his role as a neurosurgeon on the new CTV original series Saving Hope, Huse Madhavji witnessed brain surgery firsthand at Toronto Western Hospital.
“It was unreal,” he says. “I thought I was going to be squeamish because everyone kind of tells you, ‘Oh you’ve got to have a paper bag around you.’ Even the nurses were, like, ‘If you get nauseous, Huse, it’s okay, you can walk out, it’s not a big deal.’ But to be honest I was more in awe.”
Although Madhavji started acting and taking part in musical theatre when he was growing up, he made a compromise with his parents to pursue broadcasting instead and studied Radio and Television Arts at Ryerson University.
Even after landing his first on-air gig in Winnipeg and going on to host Star! Daily in Toronto, he continued to act whenever he could. Eventually, he says, when the station transitioned to E! Canada he decided to follow his first passion, landing roles in films and television shows like Call Me Fitz, The Border and Combat Hospital.
“Instead of just going to the next broadcasting gig, I thought I’ve always wanted to do this, this is the time,” he says.
As Dr. Shahir Hamza on Saving Hope, which premiered June 7, Madhavji shares the screen with Erica Durance (Smallville), Michael Shanks (Stargate SG-1) and Daniel Gillies (The Vampire Diaries) as a brilliant neurosurgeon who continually misses certain social cues.
“He’s super smart and he’s very truthful,” he says. “He sort of just tells it like it is and because of that he comes across as a little blunt and a little rough around the edges.”
Set in Toronto, the show follows a group of doctors at Hope-Zion Hospital after chief of surgery Charlie Harris, played by Shanks, winds up comatose after an accident with his fiancée and fellow surgeon Alex Reid, played by Durance.
“I think the show really is about the thing that goes right after what’s factual,” he says. “You can have all the studies and all the research right in front of you but sometimes even that can be proved wrong and it’s that little bit of faith and a little bit of hope — not to sound hokey because the show is called Saving Hope — but it’s that little bit of hope that is so important to hold onto.”
While most of the show is taped on set in Mississauga, the pilot episode was also shot around Toronto and Richmond Hill. The cast is really supportive and he enjoys the atmosphere on set so much he never wants to leave, Madhavji says.
“It’s great,” he says. “Everyone gets along. Everyone hangs out and everyone compliments you at the end of each scene.”
Come along as the Town Crier enjoys an exclusive tour of some of Huse Madhavji’s favourite North York eateries.
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