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Exclusive interview with The Good Doctor’s Tamlyn Tomita

Photo by Richard Blinkoff

You might recognize Tamlyn Tomita as Allegra, the vice president of San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital on The Good Doctor on ABC. We got to chat with her about her acting career and The Good Doctor. Keep reading to see what she had to say. 

What is it like being a part of such a progressive and meaningful show such as The Good Doctor?

To be part of this medical drama show that promotes inclusivity, reflects the diversity of the U.S. and gives a voice to those that are ‘unique’ through topics that are part of the current national conversation is literally, well, amaze balls!  It is quite a lot to pack into a 1-hour show every week, but The Good Doctor team widens the parameters of traditional network television drama and expands on what it means to be “different.”  I feel humbled every day that I get to step on set and work with such a polished crew and a brilliantly talented cast headed by Freddie Highmore. We are overseen by a thoughtful coterie of writers and producers, led by David Shore and Daniel Dae Kim! A mouthful! But deserving of everyone’s notice and respect.

Since The Good Doctor is a medical drama, did you have to do any research about any medicinal procedures? Or as your character Allegra Aoki is the VP and chairman of the hospital, did you have to consider what that job entails? 

I have always happened to find interest in hospital culture and the medical profession. I found a book, The Secret Language of Doctors, by Dr. Brian Goldman (a Canadian doctor), who writes about the ‘argot’ of medical professionals, or the language spoken between those who work together often under enormous pressure, long hours and a simultaneously competitive and nurturing environment.  It gave me a taste of what it means to be a part of a community that cares for people in life or death situations and the attitudes and manners in which they behave in front of the patients and with each other. Being that Allegra is on the administrative side, I’ve had a few tough conversations with individuals who work on that end of the field – these are folks who must make difficult and firm choices about maintaining finances for a hospital. Compassion is not a trait that quite aligns with this job, as one must be bold about the choices made. I continue to research various outlets that allow me to learn more about the role that I’m playing. 

Flashing back to your first role ever, which happened to be opposite Ralph Macchio in Karate Kid II, what was it like coming into a franchise such as that one?

Through the span of the movie’s original release, we’ve sadly lost our producer, Jerry Weintraub, and most recently our director, John G. Avildsen. It’s kind of mind boggling to think that Karate Kid is making a return on the Youtube Red Series, with Ralph Macchio and Billy Zabka, after 30 years since the original. I’m only a small part of such an enormous franchise, and I can’t believe how it continues to be remembered by so many folks with such devotion. However, the gaping hole left by Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi is huge and I look forward in seeing how its legacy will be carried onwards and upwards. I believe that when working with such an enormous franchise, one has to find the “balance between the new and the old.”

You have been cast in so many unique and distinct roles.  Which one has been your favorite to play?

Oooooooohhhh, such a hard and unfair question to ask. I don’t mean to cop out, but if you seriously had time to sit down and go through my entire resume with me, I could tell you something special that I learned and/or remember from each one of the roles I’ve played. I have been incredibly lucky. I would be strangely stupid if I didn’t take away something special from any of the roles I’ve worked on.

Can you divulge anything regarding Allegra on The Good Doctor for the rest of the season’s run?  What will she be up to?

Aha!  It’s not a question of “what will she be up to?” but rather, “how does she manage with all she’s dealing with?” You’ll be seeing a new side to this boss lady… but you have to keep watching to find out more.  Hope you enjoy!

You can catch Tamlyn on The Good Doctor on Monday nights 10 p.m. on ABC. You can also keep up with her by following her on Twitter and Instagram.

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