‘House’: Hugh Laurie Auditioned From a Hotel Bathroom

The TV show House was an iconic drama with a lead role that helped make actor Hugh Laurie a household name. While it’s now hard to imagine anyone but Laurie in the titular role, during the show’s initial development, he had to audition just like any other actor would. Even more unbelievable? The show’s producers weren’t keen on hiring Laurie at the outset of the audition process. They obviously eventually chose him to much critical acclaim, but only after he auditioned from a rather strange place. So what was the odd location Laurie used to host his winning audition? 

Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, turned to the side
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House | Scott Humbert/Getty Images

Who is Hugh Laurie? 

According to Britannica, Laurie got his start in show business working in comedy. His most famous early career comedic venture was A Bit of Fry and Laurie, a sketch comedy show he appeared in alongside fellow British actor Stephen Fry. He also appeared on the comedy Black Adder with Rowan Atkinson. 

Laurie has made a number of appearances in films as well such as Sense and Sensibility, Tomorrowland, Stuart Little, and Flight of the Phoenix. House isn’t the only TV show he starred in. Laurie appeared in the drama The Night Manager as well as the comedy Veep. Laurie’s body of work has shown that he’s got quite a bit of depth as a performer. He seems as comfortable in a blockbuster as he does in a smaller, witty comedy. That worked well on House, as that show often ran the gamut between sad and funny. It could be hilarious one minute to heartbreakingly tragic the next. It also incorporated elements of mystery and suspense as well. Laurie was the perfect man for that job and it’s impossible to imagine anyone else in the role. 

‘House’ was a different kind of medical show

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While Laurie has turned in many great performances, what he’s best known for is starring in House. The show followed the exploits of a Vicodin-addicted but brilliant doctor named Gregory House. House leads a team of young doctors, and most episodes focus on him working through a patient’s history to uncover their unique issue. The majority of the time, it wasn’t clear at first glance what was wrong with each person, which is why it required House’s inquisitive mind to figure out.

The show very much served as an homage to Sherlock Holmes in a medical setting. While House was known for his stunning ability to diagnose a patient, he also had a terrible bedside manner, frequently sniping sarcastically at his patients and fellow doctors. He had an on-again, off-again relationship with the hospital’s administrator, Dr. Lisa Cuddy.

Despite House’s painkiller addiction and his brusque manner, he got results, and audiences loved seeing him solve each medical case as if it was an intricate puzzle. The show ran from 2004-2012 and made Laurie one of the highest-paid TV actors of all time.

Hugh Laurie’s audition process for ‘House’

Auditioning for a TV show can be a stressful process for any actor, particularly if producers are on the fence about casting them. Laurie wasn’t able to audition in optimal conditions when he read for the part of House, but he made it work. According to Elle, Laurie recorded his audition for the role in a rather unusual location. 

At the time producers were casting the series, Laurie was in Africa filming The Flight of the Phoenix. Unable to leave the set and make it back to the US for a proper audition, he improvised and made a tape while sitting in the comfortable confines of his hotel bathroom. Reportedly, Laurie wasn’t the first choice for the role, but his audition gave the show’s creative team everything they needed to make the decision. They cast Laurie, and he went on to shine in the role.