“Code Black” Star Benjamin Hollingsworth On Playing Mario, Working With Rob Lowe And Creativity
On the CBS drama series Code Black, Canadian actor Benjamin Hollingsworth plays rebellious young doctor Mario Savetti. Away from the screen, the 28-year-old Brockville, Ontario-born star is decidedly more sensitive and thoughtful than his hardened, edgy character.
Real Style spoke to Hollingsworth about Season 2 of the show, which will see Mario rise from a first year newbie to a slightly more seasoned second year resident. The passionate actor chatted with us about starring alongside the likes of Marcia Gay Harden and Rob Lowe, and the challenges of his acting journey. Here’s what Hollingsworth had to say about moving to the States for work, gathering his creative energy from nature and his most surprising talents.
Season 2 of Code Black airs tonight on CBS at 10 p.m. ET.
Real Style: Tell us more about your character in Code Black.
Benjamin: Mario Savetti is now a second year resident in Season 2. He had a rougher upbringing, he’s a bit of a rebel. He doesn’t have the best bedside manners for a doctor, although he is learning. I call him a lone wolf, not really a pack animal. He’s learning to be a pack animal at Angels Memorial [Hospital]. He’s an adrenaline junkie, and actually used to be a junkie when he was in his teens. He’s now sober and a doctor, helping other people.
Real Style: Can you relate to your character Mario at all?
Benjamin: I’m definitely more of an adrenaline junkie; I haven’t gone through the drug abuse side. I definitely relate to feeling outcast, and trying to feel like part of a pack. It’s very difficult to go to work and keep up with Marcia Gay Harden, Rob Lowe and Luis Guzmán. These are all actors nominated for Golden Globes, and Marcia has won an Oscar. Luis has been in every movie since 1970. It’s a cutthroat business, and much like it is in the ER, so I can relate to that. As a young actor, when you get into scenes with big actors like that, you want to step up your game and make sure that you are pulling your weight.
Real Style: What have been some of your biggest challenges as a rising Canadian actor?
Benjamin: As a Canadian actor, the biggest challenge would be when you are acting in the U.S. and getting papers. I have had three O-1 Visas and spent tens of thousands of dollars on lawyer fees for immigration. I almost didn’t get my Code Black job, because my last O-1 Visa ran out. I was having a green card application that ended up being approved the morning they sent my audition tape to the network.
I was the first choice for the role, and it looked like I was going to get it. Then they said, you are not going to be able to do the role, unless you have your papers. There was a 90 day grace period, and the 90th day was the day that they sent my tape to the network. It all happened right at once.
Other than that, I think Canadians are talented and really have an advantage, because we challenge the arts in this country. That’s something that I’m really proud of, and I’m proud to be Canadian.
Real Style: On that note, what originally inspired you to become an actor?
Benjamin: I’ve always had a dream of becoming an actor, but I also wanted to tell stories. Even when I was a kid, I would sometimes tell very longwinded stories, some of which wouldn’t be true. My mom would always go “Now, Ben, is that really what happened?” I liked telling stories, and I would put on Superman capes and run around our living room, trying to get my parents to pay attention to me.
My dad did local theatre, and I grew up watching him on stage. I think a part of every son wants to do what their father does, so there’s a part of that there too.
Real Style: What would be your dream role, if you had to pick one?
Benjamin: I play a lot of hockey, like most Canadians, and I would love to do a hockey film. I think hockey hasn’t really been captured in film, like football or other sports. Nobody has really been able to do the speed, agility, energy and violent nature of the game justice. I would like to do it in a period piece, in the 1930s. I’m working on a script that does all of that, which shoots here in Toronto.
Real Style: What are three fun facts about you that your fans may not know?
Benjamin: I love working with my hands, so I do everything with my hands. I work, make furniture and cook a lot. I do all the cooking in my family. I’m a really good masseuse, and my wife would tell you. I also paint, do photography and a bit of writing, like poetry- all with my hands!
Real Style: It sounds like you’re an all-around creative soul! Where do you gather your creative energy from?
Benjamin: I would say my surroundings and nature, a lot of the time. When I’m feeling empty or dry, I try to go somewhere that’s naturally beautiful. Sometimes I come home to Canada, whether it is in Vancouver, going for a hike up a mountain or going to my cottage in Ontario and canoeing around the lake. For me, when I’m in nature, I’m at home.
Real Style: Do you have a dream travel destination, speaking of nature?
Benjamin: I really want to do the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Santorini [Greece] seems really beautiful, and I would also say Iceland looks really cool.
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