Rachel Bilson Is Ready to Play Doctor on “Hart of Dixie”

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You could do worse if Rachel Bilson had to provide you with medical attention.

“I'm fine with blood, I'm fine with shots – I don't really freak about it,” says the non-squeamish star of the CW’s new small town medical series “Hart of Dixie,” but then again she admits her skills might not pull her patients through. “I can do a suture, but I probably wouldn't be able to save you.”

Bilson plays fast-paced young New York doctor Zoe Hart, who after a disastrous early career spinout finds herself transplanted to a small Gulf Coast town in Alabama where she unexpectedly inherits a medical practice and struggles to fit in with the outsider-wary rural community. And in truth, she says, about the only trait she shares with a real physician is the ability to juggle a demanding itinerary.

“I feel like I have a doctor's schedule a little bit,” Bilson tells PopcornBiz. “I am on call, pretty much, because I'm waking up at five in the morning everyday and have to report to work. So it's similar there, but I definitely don't have to do what doctors do which is so admirable and remarkable.” But she says somehow the character fit her as snugly as a surgical glove. “I felt comfortable, like, 'Okay. I know her. I can do her.' The medical stuff is obviously challenging, but I'm just going for it, of course.”

“What I really, really liked about her is she's a very smart, intelligent, independent woman, but she's motivated, and she doesn't stop at anything to get what she wants,” explains Bilson. “She doesn't have the best sort of tact, and she's not very polite – no bedside manner, any of that stuff, so it's kind of fun to play with.  But I just really liked that she was this woman that was so strong and so sure in everything she does, and then she's thrown into this fish out of water situation, which is always fun to play.  She's definitely New York City through and through, and that shows in clothes and shoes and everything that feels out of place in Bluebell, Alabama.”

The town of Wilmington, North Carlolina, stands in for the series’ fictional Bluebell, and after spending time shooting the series in the South Bilson says that despite her own fast lane roots – she was born and raised in Los Angeles in a show biz family – she feels right at home.“I have family in Johnson City, Tennessee, which is really small and is in the South, so I do have roots there and I can relate even though I have nothing to do with the South like my character,” she says, imagining how she’d fare there full time. “I think I would do quite well. I'm pretty small. I could kind of fit in. I love that pace. I am a mellow person. I like to sleep. I like to rest. I would love to just hang my feet off of a porch any day.”

But Bilson – who’s a frequent contributor to the fashion magazine InStyle – confesses she’s still pretty addicted to the big city styles her character sports. “I love it,” she says of the wardrobe. “She's New York City, and so she's high fashion, basically: Upper East Side high fashion which is great. I get to wear really fun clothes – and I love scrubs because they're like pajamas, so that's my favorite.”


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