Chicago Med’s Daniela de Carlo talks directing The Space Between Us

Chicago Med director Daniela de Carlo (left) with Torrey DeVitto and Nick Gehlfuss. Photo Credit: Courtesy of NBC.
Chicago Med director Daniela de Carlo (left) with Torrey DeVitto and Nick Gehlfuss. Photo Credit: Courtesy of NBC. /

Chicago Med director Daniela de Carlo discusses directing The Space Between Us, including that shocking car crash that wrecked the hospital.

If you enjoyed last week’s Chicago Med episode, you’ll want to meet Daniela de Carlo. The newest Chicago Med director was behind the camera for “The Space Between Us,” and helped make it that impressive.

Daniela discussed what it was like for her to join the One Chicago world, how she handled the filming of the episode’s surprising car crash, and being part of NBC‘s Female Forward program that supports the efforts of female directors.

Meet Daniela de Carlo and hear about her Chicago Med experience below, and if you need to catch up with the episode she directed, you can check out our episode recap.

You can also read our previous director interviews with Olivia Newman (who directed Chicago Fire) and Christine Swanson (from Chicago PD).

More from One Chicago Center

One Chicago Center: What was your reaction when you got to direct an episode of Chicago Med?

Daniela de Carlo: I realized that this was more than just about what show that you get. It’s about breaking through. It’s about showing that you can direct something–showing you have a voice, showing that you can lead a team of people, and you can direct actors ,and that you can interpret a script and elevate the material through your vision.

I was like I just need to trust that whatever happens is where I’m supposed to be. To be honest, the first time I had to shadow on the show, the minute I met that crew and that cast…I felt at home and I made such good friends, even from the first trip there.

This was a challenging episode, though, particularly with the set piece of driving a car into the ambulance bay and then having to film around that car. How did you handle that particular scene and storyline?

The first time I read that, my heart stopped. I’m like, how am I going to do it? But then I re-read it and it was like okay, we don’t necessarily need to see the car literally crashing [into the hospital]. We can recreate that few seconds before as it happens, and it’s all sound design and reactions and all these things.

What I loved about it is it also made me get out of my comfort zone a little bit. [It was] something that I had never done, which is like a stunt like this and an action sequence. It was so great for me, because I always say I will never ask anything of my actors or crew that I wouldn’t be willing to do myself, and I was totally getting out of my comfort zone.

Faires, he’s the steadicam operator, he’s really so athletic and so intuitive. He was trying to understand what I was going for, and I said you know what, just follow your heart, I trust you. I swear he had tears in his eyes; he was like I don’t know if anyone’s ever said that to me before. And he went and did the shot, and I swear it was the most magical thing. I asked him to get so close to Brian Tee that you could actually see him breathing. Brian told me, that was so close and I felt something, and I swear it affected the take.

It was so magical. These two people work together every day and they’re totally getting out of their comfort zone and trying something new. It’s physical, it’s real, it’s about energy and being close to one another. I remember Brian, on the last day, said you’re getting all of us, in a very good way, out of our comfort zone. Or something like that, and I was like yes, I’m doing something right here. That’s what I like to do for myself in the first place.

You mentioned being on the set before you started directing. What was it like to work with the Chicago Med cast and having that little bit of familiarity with them beforehand?

It was such a great thing for me to be able to shadow first. I got to meet them [with] no pressure, just as human beings and then as artists. When you’re directing there’s no time to have a conversation with someone, but when you’re visiting on set, getting coffee or something, I made good friends there.

Then there was Oliver Platt. I love the guy and I was like how am I going to direct Oliver Platt? But then you talk to them and they’re amazing actors, but they’re also great people. For me to be able to go not just once, but twice, and shadow and get to know everyone and also the crew. Then [to] be there as a director, everyone kind of rooting for me, and excited that I was there. There’s a pride in taking part in something like Female Forward, because everybody cares now and that’s great.

What did it mean to you to direct Chicago Med?

I have kind of a fun story. It’s kind of a full circle thing [to direct this episode], because when I was in college, my sister and I used to share a room and we would watch ER religiously. We would put stripes of white paper on the subtitles so our English would get better, because it was such a fast-paced show that if we can understand ER, we can get anything.

When I got the show, at the time I hadn’t seen it, but I knew it was a medical show and it’s kind of like the new ER. I called my sister and was like you aren’t going to believe what show they gave me, it’s Chicago Med which is the new ER. She was like I can’t believe it, you’re basically going to be directing the next George Clooney.

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Do you know what you’re working on now that you’ve wrapped on the show?

The movie that I’m mixing as we speak is called The Blackout and the rough cut is what got me into the Female Forward program. It’s going to be done within the next few weeks, and I’m hoping it’s going to go out there either [on the] festival circuit or on demand, but people can stay tuned.

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