After three years of doing domestic battle with five other female leads on Desperate Housewives, Dana Delany is taking the lead in Body of Proof. Delany plays Megan Hunt, a brilliant neurosurgeon who turns to forensics after a car accident impairs the use of her hands.
How did this project come to you?
It kind of came out of the blue. I was very happily on Desperate Housewives and I got a call from the head of ABC saying, “We’ve enjoyed having you on the show, on Housewives. We don’t know how much longer you’re going to be on the show.” And then he said, “But we have this other show we’d like you to think about.” And I was kind of taken aback, but I’m not stupid. I saw the handwriting on the wall, so I thought, “All right. Why not? Why not try it?”
Is it true you have a strange connection to your character on this show?
I had a car accident right before we started shooting that was almost exactly like the show. It was a week before we started shooting. I was hit by a bus, and I had a concussion, and I broke two fingers. The bus driver asked me for my autograph after she hit me.
Did you give it to her?
No. (laughs) This is what she said. She said, “Didn’t you see me coming?” I said, “Yeah, I saw you coming. You’re a bus. I thought you were stopping.” And she said, “I know who you are. Could I have your autograph?” (laughs)
How else do you relate to your character?
In terms of being driven and work-oriented, I kind of relate to that. I mean, my whole life, I’ve loved to act. That’s pretty much all I’ve done. I’ve never been married. I think it’s really hard to have a balance there. And so I can certainly relate to that role of the character. And I was exhausted by the time we got home at night, so yeah.
You met with a real female neurosurgeon for research. What was her impression of the show?
She said it was really spot-on, because to be a female neurosurgeon at my age would have been almost impossible. You could not really have a life except for that. And she said she could not get into any medical school because she wanted to be a neurosurgeon. They said, “But you’re going to want to get married and have kids, and you’re not going to follow through. So we’re not going to take you in,” until finally she got one guy to write her a recommendation saying, “OK, she’s smart. She’s passed everything. I’ll write it, but she is a woman.” You know, it’s all this “but she is a woman” kind of thing.
Speaking of being a woman: Do you miss the costumes on Desperate Housewives?
I’ve got to say I actually get better costumes on this show. Because there’s so many women on Housewives, I don’t know how Cate Adair, the costume designer, does it because she is a miracle worker to have six women, sometimes five, but six at that time, and everybody looked different. You know, everybody looked completely different. All I got to wear was vintage. I wore a lot of vintage dresses. That was my little niche. So now I get to wear all the Prada and Dolce Gabbana. Marcia [Cross] got to wear the Dolce and Gabbana.