Q: With as much series work as you’ve done, and with “The Good Doctor” having gotten a full-season pick-up early, did you have the sense that it would be a successful venture?
A: It’s always tough to know what a project is going to turn into. And it’s guesswork. And sometimes I’ve guessed wrong, and sometimes I’ve guessed right, you know? You roll the dice based on conversations that you have with people, so (“The Good Doctor” developer and executive producer) David Shore was the first person I talked to about this.
When I have to make a decision, I go into panic attack. My brain shuts off, and I have to ask everyone around me what should I do. It’s really tough, especially (with) something that might demand my attention and presence for quite a long time, which this has the potential to do – so having a conversation with David and what his vision was, and is, was a huge factor.
Q: You have your own connection to a major theme of “The Good Doctor.” What is that?
A: I have a history with this particular challenge of autism, with a couple of different people in my life. And I personally appreciate any person in real life that steps out of their way to save a life, so to speak, even if it’s psychologically.
Q: What was the special connection you had to the late “Saturday Night Live” icon Gilda Radner?
A: Gilda Radner had seen me in this big room when I was a teenager and nobody knew me, and I was very troubled at the time. And she cut a beeline to me, put her hands on my face and said, “It will be all right” … and then talked to me for quite a while. She would just find the person who was troubled and do that. She didn’t do that with every person. And those kinds of experiences saved my life.