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Tenafly High grad stars in Fox pilot
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Last updated: Tuesday March 4, 2008, EST 7:09 AM
BY VIRGINIA ROHAN
STAFF WRITER
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The women of "Sex and the City," over six seasons, experienced every possible and imaginable pitfall and catastrophe of dating in New York City that a television character could endure. Or so we thought.

Their romantic misadventures pale in comparison to the man troubles that Alexie Gilmore's character has in Fox's "New Amsterdam." In tonight's pilot, her Dr. Sara Dillane pronounces a handsome stranger dead in the ER - only to learn that the patient has gone missing from the hospital's morgue. Not body-snatched, mind you. The "late" John Amsterdam, it turns out, has literally left the building.

"She's a very logical, constant woman, so when she comes into contact with this mystery of a man, her whole world kind of turns upside down," Tenafly-bred Gilmore says. "It's not something that she can explain."

Fortunately, the "New Amsterdam" writers can and do. John Amsterdam is immortal. Played with a convincing New York accent by Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, he is now a brash, enigmatic New York City homicide detective. But back in 1642 he was a Dutch soldier in the colony of New Amsterdam (the future Big Apple), who stepped in front of a sword to save the life of a Native American woman. She, in turn, rescued Amsterdam and cast an ancient spell that ensured he will not age until he finds his one true love.

A soul mate, at last?

What surely sounded like a great deal then has, over several centuries, become a curse. Amsterdam is weary of looking decades younger than his own children and outliving a succession of loved ones. He'd like nothing more than to find true love, grow old and gray, then expire.

Enter Gilmore's Dr. Dillane, who may be his long-awaited soul mate. She's an ER doctor who happens upon Amsterdam on a subway platform, after he's suffered a fatal heart attack.

Though oblivious to her efforts to revive him, after Amsterdam leaves the hospital, he starts to suspect that someone who was near him after he died may be the one. In the second episode, he manages to find out her name. And in the third, Gilmore says, they'll actually come face to face.

"We just kind of run into each other, and I recognize him," Gilmore says. "All I know is that this body that I proclaimed dead is now alive and standing in front of me. … That was a lot of fun to play."

So, is her character the one?

"I can't say, because we let that kind of play out," says Gilmore. She notes that neither Amsterdam nor viewers will definitively know until he faces another life-threatening situation. Will he sprout gray hair, wrinkles - or worse? "If he sees himself starting to be mortal, that's how he'll know."

Skipping in the ER

To prepare for the technical demands of her role, Gilmore donned a lab coat and followed her ER-doctor brother-in-law around the emergency room of Brooklyn's Kings County Hospital. "He really helped me out a lot," says Gilmore, who even learned how to suture, by practicing on fruits. "I was so excited to be there I was literally skipping by his side. He looked at me and said, 'Alexie, please don't skip.'Ÿ"

The fact that the series (the pilot plus seven episodes, so far) was shot in New York was "like a dream" to Gilmore, who now lives in Brooklyn.

She was born in Manhattan and grew up on East 19th Street until age 10, when her parents announced they were moving to Tenafly.

"I moved in the middle of fourth grade," she recalls. "My sister and I thought it was kind of exciting. It was like, wow, 'Here's a place with trees.' … W</>w</>e really loved it from the start."

Her favorite hangout in town was the movie theater.

"I never got into any trouble when I was a kid," Gilmore says. "We just went to see movies and went to get ice cream. We would maybe go to the Tenafly Diner and just talk about the movies we saw."

In ninth grade, she discovered her true passion when she took an acting class. "I just completely fell in love with it," says Gilmore, who performed in school plays with, among others, Broadway actor Alex Gemignani. "Tenafly High School ended up being such a great place for me. It really has a great theater program. … So many people who have gone there have gone on to have great careers" (Ed Harris and Hope Davis included).

Gilmore, 31, majored in theater at Allentown College in Pennsylvania (now called DeSales University).

"I went there thinking I was going to transfer to NYU or somewhere big, and I actually just ended up loving it there. And because it was such a small school, I got so much stage time," says Gilmore, whose manager was a college classmate.

Her first big break was booking a national commercial for Talbots. More commercials followed, then films, including "I Do & I Don't," "Three Words and a Star," "The Babysitters" "Descent," "Find Love," and the current "Definitely, Maybe" (she plays Isla Fisher's roommate). In the upcoming "Surfer Dude," due out this summer, she has the lead female role, opposite Matthew McConaughey.

Time zone change-ups

"It's not really like a romantic comedy. It's more of like a stoner surfer film," she says. On television, Gilmore has guest-starred on "Rescue Me," "Love Monkey," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Conviction" and "Hope & Faith."

And now comes "New Amsterdam," whose executive producers include David Manson ("Nothing Sacred") and Lasse Hallström ("Chocolat," "The Cider House Rules").

Gilmore has high praise for Coster-Waldau, who speaks fluent English but worked with a dialect coach to sound like a real New Yorker, Gilmore says.

"He's just such a charming and strong leading man, and he has the hugest job in the show, going back and forth in time," Gilmore says, describing how she'd sometimes come to work to find the actor in his Dutch-soldier beard and garb. "You never knew what time zone you were going to be walking in on."

E-mail: rohan@northjersey.com

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The women of "Sex and the City," over six seasons, experienced every possible and imaginable pitfall and catastrophe of dating in New York City that a television character could endure. Or so we thought.

FILE PHOTO
Tenafly-bred Alexie Gilmore plays Dr. Sara Dillane in "New Amsterdam," a supernatural romance that airs tonight on Fox.

Their romantic misadventures pale in comparison to the man troubles that Alexie Gilmore's character has in Fox's "New Amsterdam." In tonight's pilot, her Dr. Sara Dillane pronounces a handsome stranger dead in the ER - only to learn that the patient has gone missing from the hospital's morgue. Not body-snatched, mind you. The "late" John Amsterdam, it turns out, has literally left the building.

"She's a very logical, constant woman, so when she comes into contact with this mystery of a man, her whole world kind of turns upside down," Tenafly-bred Gilmore says. "It's not something that she can explain."

Fortunately, the "New Amsterdam" writers can and do. John Amsterdam is immortal. Played with a convincing New York accent by Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, he is now a brash, enigmatic New York City homicide detective. But back in 1642 he was a Dutch soldier in the colony of New Amsterdam (the future Big Apple), who stepped in front of a sword to save the life of a Native American woman. She, in turn, rescued Amsterdam and cast an ancient spell that ensured he will not age until he finds his one true love.

ALEXIE GILMORE

Plays: Dr. Sara Dillane in "New Amsterdam."

Age: 31.

Born: Manhattan.

Raised: Manhattan and Tenafly.

Educated: Tenafly High School and Allentown College.

On her new character's love life: "She's definitely a complicated woman. She's been through the wringer, too. I think a lot of ladies will be able to relate to her."

A soul mate, at last?

What surely sounded like a great deal then has, over several centuries, become a curse. Amsterdam is weary of looking decades younger than his own children and outliving a succession of loved ones. He'd like nothing more than to find true love, grow old and gray, then expire.

Enter Gilmore's Dr. Dillane, who may be his long-awaited soul mate. She's an ER doctor who happens upon Amsterdam on a subway platform, after he's suffered a fatal heart attack.

Though oblivious to her efforts to revive him, after Amsterdam leaves the hospital, he starts to suspect that someone who was near him after he died may be the one. In the second episode, he manages to find out her name. And in the third, Gilmore says, they'll actually come face to face.

"We just kind of run into each other, and I recognize him," Gilmore says. "All I know is that this body that I proclaimed dead is now alive and standing in front of me. … That was a lot of fun to play."

So, is her character the one?

"I can't say, because we let that kind of play out," says Gilmore. She notes that neither Amsterdam nor viewers will definitively know until he faces another life-threatening situation. Will he sprout gray hair, wrinkles - or worse? "If he sees himself starting to be mortal, that's how he'll know."

Skipping in the ER

To prepare for the technical demands of her role, Gilmore donned a lab coat and followed her ER-doctor brother-in-law around the emergency room of Brooklyn's Kings County Hospital. "He really helped me out a lot," says Gilmore, who even learned how to suture, by practicing on fruits. "I was so excited to be there I was literally skipping by his side. He looked at me and said, 'Alexie, please don't skip.'Ÿ"

The fact that the series (the pilot plus seven episodes, so far) was shot in New York was "like a dream" to Gilmore, who now lives in Brooklyn.

She was born in Manhattan and grew up on East 19th Street until age 10, when her parents announced they were moving to Tenafly.

"I moved in the middle of fourth grade," she recalls. "My sister and I thought it was kind of exciting. It was like, wow, 'Here's a place with trees.' … W</>w</>e really loved it from the start."

Her favorite hangout in town was the movie theater.

"I never got into any trouble when I was a kid," Gilmore says. "We just went to see movies and went to get ice cream. We would maybe go to the Tenafly Diner and just talk about the movies we saw."

In ninth grade, she discovered her true passion when she took an acting class. "I just completely fell in love with it," says Gilmore, who performed in school plays with, among others, Broadway actor Alex Gemignani. "Tenafly High School ended up being such a great place for me. It really has a great theater program. … So many people who have gone there have gone on to have great careers" (Ed Harris and Hope Davis included).

Gilmore, 31, majored in theater at Allentown College in Pennsylvania (now called DeSales University).

Page 1 2 >> Fit story on 1 page

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