Photo from CBSMike Vogel is one busy man. As Dr. Chris Deleo on the new CBS doc drama Miami Medical, he's diving head first into blood, guts, and gore -- something he's become accustomed to while doing horror movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Cloverfield. But the Pennsylvania native -- whom you'll also recall from the recent comedy She's Out of My League -- is big on making time for girls, wife Courtney, and their two little ones Cassy, 3, and Charlee, 9 months. Which we think makes him a very hot dad.
In this exclusive CafeMom interview, we caught up with Vogel to chat about doctor drama, giving up on Captain America and playing princess with his little girls.
Your new Jerry Bruckheimer-produced drama, Miami Medical, is set at a major Miami trauma center -- where you've only got that one "golden hour" to save someone or watch them die. But the doctors seem almost too blasé about what they're dealing with. What's that about?
We've actually ratcheted up the drama quite a bit. When you see something like this go down, there is a bit of the frenetic energy in that you see how quickly these situations can go south. You're watching everything go to hell in a hand basket, and they'll call a time of death with what some people would judge as non-emotion or lack of caring. But you have to separate yourself from it in order to deal with the medical situation. So we seem too calm, but its calmer than that.
Your character, Dr. Chris DeLeo, does tend to develop a bit of that emotional attachment.
Chris DeLeo is a fun loving good old boy who loves to keep his patients laughing. So he has a rough time with it. Because you know the patient that you were joking with five minutes ago could the one you're calling time of death on two minutes from now. And you'd never see it coming. So for the brief amount of time that they're in front of him, he wants them to be as comfortable as possible. He likes getting real with people. He thrives on the adrenaline, but when it's time to stare the patient in the face and give them bad news, that's when it's difficult.
Speaking of bad news -- we were rooting for you to nab the lead in Captain America. What happened with that?
That's all done and gone. When you're doing TV, you have to be committed to it. And the schedule just wouldn't allow for it. Doing a show takes precedence over everything else. Captain America would have been great. However, contractually it didn't work out. But you throw your hat in the ring and see how it works out. I do manage sometimes. I've got the drama Blue Valentine, with Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, coming up. That got picked up at Sundance by the Weinsteins. And I love film, I love the variety it gives you. But I also love the stability of television. There's something to be said for being able to create a character and live with them day in and day out for five or seven years. When it works, it can be magic.
Do you balance that with life at home with your wife and two little girls?
It's really tough. I have a three-year-old and a nine-month-old. And I feel like they change every day. On the one hand, someone said to me, ‘Oh, that's great. You don't have to leave and go on location.' But it's hard. There's a part of me that almost wishes I was on location because you're so close to home, yet you can't get home to see them. You're there 14, 16, sometimes 18 hours a day. I'm gone before they wake up, and I come home after they're asleep. Sleep becomes secondary to spending time with the kids. If your call time is later, yet you've shot till 3 a.m., it doesn't matter -- you get up when they get up and you play Princess. You do what you have to do. Because that's my only opportunity. I've become very specific and intentional about making time for my little girls.
With TV, you know it's going to be hectic, it's going to be chaotic. But the beauty of it is that when there's nothing going on, like now, I have all the time in the world for my little girls. I literally can roll out of bed and do nothing but play with them all they day long.
Does your wife work outside the home as well?
No, my wife is an amazing, amazing mother. She modeled for about a decade then gave it up about four years ago when we decided to have kids. She's absolutely just amazing with them. I let her take a day off -- that sounds awful -- but I sent her off to take a relaxing day to herself, since she's been dealing with them on her own for so long. So this is my first time with both of the girls together from sun up to sun down. And it's hard. I literally phoning a friend, on my knees praying to get through the day. So my hats of to my wife and all mothers for doing what they do -- it's more than a fulltime job.
Are you enjoying raising girls -- and playing Princess?
Ten fingers, 10 toes and healthy - that's what you hope for. But for every guy, I think there's that moment where you think it's a boy and you're going to get that little slugger. I'm a big baseball player and outdoors guys, and I'm realizing that that doesn't preclude them at all. But when you see those two pink lines, you get that news, there's that moment of ‘Okay, what am I going to do?' Now, having been there, a boy is special, no doubt, that gleam in a man's eye. But there's something about little girls that a boy can not touch. Daddy feels like king of her world and when you see the responsibility put on you as a father, that you're shaping how she views men, how she views God, how she views her world - it's a pretty heavy weight. I can't get enough. Certainly when I see my little girls buried neck deep in a pile of dirt while they're playing outside, it's one of the crowning moments of my life. And you bet I'll put on that crown and be willing to play her prince as long as she wants. Until she kicks you out of the role.
They get big so fast, huh?
Yeah, I look at my three-year-old, and I remember how she used to mis-pronounce all her big words and I wonder what happened. When did she learn how to say it the right way. It happens too quick.
Are you worried about them growing up in Los Angeles?
We're not worried, really, but we try to get them out of L.A. and into the real world as much as possible. To see a farm, to fix a fence, to get their hands dirty. To get a little dose of reality. I'd love to get a little ranch where they can go experience the fresh air and learn how to break a horse. I want to do good by them.
Want more Mike? You can catch him as Doc Deleo on Miami Medical, Fridays at 10 p.m. on CBS.