By Sarah Johns
Photography: Dorian Caster
Star of the New York Hospital Drama, “New Amsterdam”, Ryan Eggold is just as good as he looks …but twice as bad as he seems!
He dishes on healthcare, gun control, and education. Everything important in this country. Celebrity? Yes. Someone who has a soul and empathy mixed with drive and smarts?
Actor Ryan Eggold would love to change the world. Or at the very least have his television show on NBC, New Amsterdam, change it, maybe ignite a conversation with people in the real world who can affect change.
Entering season two, Eggold stars as Dr. Max Goodwin, a medical director at a fictional American hospital. Goodwin’s drive is to provide quality healthcare for the patients who make their way through his doors, but skeptical staff aren’t sure because they’ve heard it before—too much bureaucracy clouds and prevents the staff from working in a fully-functioning environment with the best tools and coverage available to them. Come to think of it, much like our present day system. The show was inspired by Bellevue Hospital Center located in Kip’s Bay in New York City.
“In the US since the 70’s, healthcare has moved more towards a business and less towards a service that everybody can depend on,” says Eggold. “American exceptionalism is so deeply ingrained into the culture and the country.”
It’s these types of thoughts that engulf Eggold, and create a common thread throughout each episode of New Amsterdam. The show can bring you to tears, the thought of healthcare in this country can have that effect on anyone nowadays. I honestly don’t know how Eggold does it but he does, although he’s used to being a part of the medical field: his mother is a doctor.
It’s education that Eggold feels should be heralded and looked up to in our society. Teachers, teachers, teachers. They are the ones that make the difference in someone’s life… and in Eggold’s eyes, they don’t get their due. “I think they’re so under appreciated in our society,” cries Eggold. “Either their pay is so much less from what they deserve, especially when people like myself who have the privilege of working on a TV show and make so much more.
“It’s sort of an imbalance. Many teachers have affected my life. A teacher I had in this little theater where I grew up when I just started dipping my toes in the [acting pool]. Just encouraged creativity and freedom and lack of judgment. I was one of those kids that liked attention and talked too much and get in trouble and she kind of rewarded me for it in a way and pushed it into a world where it made sense and I could make something out of it. I think there’s a version of that story for everybody.”
But like healthcare as well as education in this country, how are we getting it all wrong? That both of these crucial systems that are necessary for survival are just another example of commercial entities bound to capitalism. Don’t we deserve better than this?
“In the U.S. there’s the desire to make as much money as possible sadly and it is such a part of the quote-on-quote American dream,” says Eggold. “A spiritual revolution is what the country needs. I don’t know if and when that will come. It’s such a different model in a country like Denmark with healthcare and education, especially college, and [their citizens] are taken care off and it’s built in the demographic of that society.”
It’s all about the money I tell Eggold. Politics and money, as we veer into the gun issue in America, an issue he feels very strongly about, how our world is very different than the days of our Forefathers who were coming out of violent revolutions. Eggold insists he can talk about this topic for hours and hours but believes like so many Americans, don’t make weapons of mass murder available and ready for anyone.
Whatever societal worldwide problems we have, Eggold will let his talents do the talking. He plays the piano and the guitar, yet doesn’t have the time. In addition to New Amsterdam, Eggold is writing a project he eventually would want to direct. But for now, New Amsterdam is all Eggold.
“I have to say this is the most generous and collaborative group of folks I’ve ever worked with in a sense that everybody is supportive of everyone else,” enthuses Eggold. “They’re always directing and trying to educate me and they are incredibly helpful and trying to make the job a little bit easier.