Viewers who tuned in to watch the latest episode of “The Good Doctor” Monday night caught the acting debut of Saint John, N.B., native Elspeth Arbow.
“It was so much fun,” she says, laughing. “I had the best time. I mean, like, was living the life of a celebrity and I was just like, ‘How do I do this forever?’”
Arbow’s storyline hit very close to home.
Her character was a cystic fibrosis patient who needed a lung transplant -- a role she’s also played in real life.
Arbow lives with cystic fibrosis and had two double lung transplants before the age of 25.
“I think every actor has to dig into their well and that’s why automatically I’m like, nobody knows this better than Elspeth,” says “The Good Doctor” director Cayman Grant.
Grant is also from Saint John. She met Arbow at a film workshop years ago and says she never forgot her.
“It just hit me -- ‘Why not Elspeth?’ And so I reached out to the executive producer and casting director and they said, ‘Let’s put her on tape.’”
Arbow admits when she got the call about the acting job she hesitated at first, then quickly changed her mind.
Elspeth Arbow and Cayman Grant on the set of "The Good Doctor." (Courtesy: Cayman Grant)“I realized the thing I would be reliving is the same thing that made me the type of person that would want to do this,” she says.
Cayman says Arbow’s lived experience added to her role.
“Even just how to use the breathing machines and everything,” she says. “She brought something to it that is authentic.”
Filming something so close to home also came with a few emotional moments.
“At one point, I was just so emotionally overcome that I kinda had a few tears,” says Arbow.
But she says it was an incredible experience overall.
“The catering – world class,” she said. “The first couple days I was just gawking at everything. I’m like, ‘What do you mean a car's gonna pick me up and take me to the airport, like what!?’”
Meeting the show's star, English actor Freddie Highmore, wasn't so bad either.
“He’s like the nicest person ever,” Arbow says.
Elspeth Arbow is pictured with English actor Freddie Highmore. (Courtesy: Cayman Grant)
Cayman says the episode was a special experience for two New Brunswickers.
“In every episode you try to give a piece of what is you,” she says. “To me, that’s what Elspeth is -- she’s a part of me through New Brunswick, through her experience, through my past, through it all and so she represents more.”