Scrubs Actor Donald Faison Talks About Overcoming Typecasting, The Blessing-Curse Of Turk

Donald Faison Scrubs

Donald Faison has been in tons of projects over the years. From Clueless (which features the ageless Paul Rudd) to Ray Donovan, his resume is quite extensive, but it's safe to say many of his fans remember him best from his time as Turk on Scrubs. It's not a surprise why, as his character was one of the highlights of the hilarious NBC comedy, but with that performance came a typecasting that is part blessing, part curse.

Donald Faison spoke about that blessing-curse while discussing his new role in the upcoming ABC family thriller Emergence. Faison spoke exclusively to CinemaBlend TV Editor Nick Venable during the TCA summer press tour about typecasting, and the two spoke at length about it when it was brought up that his character Alex is very different than the role we're used to seeing Faison in.

No, and I think that's what attracted me to it, you know? I wish I could say I was their expectation when I went in for the audition, but I'm so happy that I was able to change their mind after. I remember after the audition, driving to my kid's soccer practice and telling my wife, 'I don't think they're gonna hire me. I think they saw Turk from Scrubs,' And then Michele [Fazekas, co-creator] tells a story where she's like, 'Yeah, you walked in and it was oh, Turk's here. But, give them a shot at this. He's probably not gonna get it.' And by the time I finished the audition, I had gotten the part. So, you know, I'm very, very happy that they were willing to see past who I played in previous shows.

Donald Faison believed the folks in the audition saw Turk from Scrubs walk in when he came through the door, and he was right. Weirdly enough though, it was almost as though Faison's performance as Turk was enough for them to give him the courtesy of running through his entire audition, which was impressive enough to nab him the role of Alex.

That is not lost on Donald Faison, who realizes that playing Turk on Scrubs has become a double-edged sword in his career. Faison may be pigeon-holed into only being accepted into some roles because of it, but in the case of Emergence, playing Turk helped open a door that may have been closed had producers only known him from a lesser role.

Yeah, it is. It is a blessing-curse, though. You know what I mean? We hear a lot of actors talk about being typecast and stuff like that as a certain person. I'm just grateful that they were like, 'We'll give you a shot. Let's go.'

Emergence gave Donald Faison a shot, and now he's one of the key characters in a family drama centered on a mysterious young child found near the site of an accident. She's taken in by newly-divorced police chief Jo Evans (Allison Tolman) and tries to unravel the mystery surrounding this child who can't remember who she is. There's also some weird goings-on and bizarre electrical interference tied to this kid, so there's a mystery for audiences to watch unravel.

Donald Faison plays Jo's ex husband Alex, and the father to their shared teenage daughter Bree (Ashley Aufderheide). Faison shared a bit of what Emergence is about, and what audiences who tune in can expect.

The show is a sci-fi thriller, but at the center is a family drama. And if you go just a little bit deeper, you'll find some comedy in there, too. So it's got everything that you would want in a television show. It's definitely gonna make you jump. You're definitely gonna go through a lot of mysterious things. But then at the heart of it, at the core, it's about this family unit, you know, trying to figure out where this little girl came from and who she is. And you got to learn a lot of that early on, too. You're going to learn a lot about this girl early on. Every mystery solved leads to the bigger picture.

Emergence certainly sounds like it has a bit of a Stranger Things vibe to it, except without all the references to the 80s. Obviously it's a far cry from anything Donald Faison (who was looking great at the recent Scrubs reunion) did on Scrubs, but as we learned, that's a good thing for him.

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Emergence airs on ABC Tuesday, September 24. Stick with CinemaBlend for more news on the upcoming fall season of television and for all things happening in TV and movies.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.