Meet 'Rush's Swoonworthy Leading Man

by Casey Rackham

You might not know him yet, but come Thursday's premiere of USA's new drama Rush, every person with a pulse is going to be wishing they had a full-size poster of Tom Ellis for their wall (that's a normal thing for a twenty-something to still want, right?). Ellis, who you might recognize as the dashing thief who played the original Robin Hood on Once Upon A Time , is taking on the leading role in the new medical drama as the titular character, Dr. William P. Rush, who, er, doesn't have the best sense of morals. I had the chance to speak with the actor-turned-pretend-doctor during a visit to Rush's set.

"The main thing about playing a doctor when you’re not really a doctor is you’ve got to look confident about what you’re doing," says Ellis. "This is something you do every day. This is natural to you." And Ellis is right — confidence is exactly what he needs to portray the cocky-to-a-fault Rush.

The show follows Rush, a medical fixer — maybe Olivia Pope has finally found her dream man — who privately provides medical care and, most importantly, under-the-table secrecy to the elite of Los Angeles for a serious amount of cash. The thing is, our sultry Dr. Rush wasn't always a house-visiting medical professional; he used to have a promising career as a top attending surgeon until, you know, everything came crashing down around him. Yikes. Now it's six years later and Rush is basically L.A.'s version of Royal Pains ' Hank Lawson, only his character has some serious inner demons and drug issues that he needs to work out (Hugh Laurie's character on House, anyone?).

However, playing a doctor isn't the only thing Ellis is confident in. He also has quite a strong taste in music, which is a somewhat-major element of the show. "Music is a big part of my life," says Ellis. "My mom was a music teacher, and I’ve grown up around music and listening to music. I have a very eclectic music taste, should we say."

"Eclectic" might be the kindest way to describe the actor's music choices, which are quite '80s-inspired, just like the show's soundtrack (Debbie Gibson's voice most definitely makes its way into the pilot). In fact, something Ellis admits he shares with Rush is his "terrible taste in music," which isn't such a bad thing considering Ellis likes to create a specific playlist for each character he plays so as to set the right tone.

"I think as an actor, I’m kind of quite instinctive in the way that I work," says Ellis. "When I make a playlist, I make songs that he [Rush] would listen to, and songs that I would put in the soundtrack."

So what exactly do "they" listen to? Ellis gave us a peek into the musical world of both Rush and himself:

Rush's Playlist:

  • "Only In My Dreams," Debbie Gibson
  • "She Drives Me Crazy," Fine Young Cannibals
  • "Walking on Sunshine," Katrina & The Waves
  • "Careless Whisper," George Michael
  • "We Built This City," Starship
  • "Heaven Is A place On Earth," Belinda Carlisle
  • "Karmic Chameleon," Culture Club
  • "Cars," Gary Numan
  • "Kiss," Prince
  • "The Power," by Snap
  • "China In Your Hand," T'pau
  • "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You," Michael Bolton
  • "Don't Know Much," Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville
  • "I'll Make Love to You," Boyz II Men
  • "99 Red Balloons," Nena

Ellis' Playlist:

  • "Do I Wanna Know?", Arctic Monkeys
  • "Tracks of My Tears," Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  • "Play That Funky Music," Wild Cherry
  • "Back in Black," AC/DC
  • "All My Life," The Foo Fighters
  • "I'm Gonna Make It All Right," Paul Pena

USA fans, we hope you're ready for some eclectic music.

Images: Gavin Bond/USA Network (2)