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Former TV docs Sarah Chalke, Katherine Heigl bond in 'Firefly Lane'

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"Scrubs" alum Sarah Chalke can now be seen in Netflix's "Firefly Lane." File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
"Scrubs" alum Sarah Chalke can now be seen in Netflix's "Firefly Lane." File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Sarah Chalke said she and her Firefly Lane co-star Katherine Heigl bonded instantly, both having played doctors on iconic TV shows.

Chalke starred on Scrubs for the medical comedy's entire 2001-10 run, while Heigl headlined hospital drama Grey's Anatomy from 2005-10. It is now in its 17th season.

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"It's such a crazy thing and I'd actually done an episode of Grey's, but after she had left, so we didn't get to cross paths there," Chalke told UPI in a recent interview.

"We had the best time," the 44-year-old Canadian actress said of finally getting to work with Heigl. "We have kids of very similar ages. We met through a mutual friend over the phone a few months before [filming Firefly Lane] and just immediately connected."

The actresses play lifelong best friends and journalists Tully and Kate in Firefly Lane, a 10-episode adaptation of Kristin Hannah's novel, which spans 30 years, and is drawing comparisons from TV critics to the 1988 Bette Midler-Barbara Hershey film, Beaches.

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Ali Skovbye and Roan Curtis play Tully and Kate, respectively, as teens in the series.

Chalke said she signed on for Firefly Lane because it had everything she looks for in a project.

"The biggest thing is the character I'm going to be playing," she said about what makes her want to accept a job.

"This was such a gift because it had all of the pieces. There was one day when we were crying and doing physical comedy and doing a scene from the '80s in a wig. All in one day," she laughed.

The actress also was attracted to a story about a strong female friendship.

"You don't see that very often," she noted. "We don't play ourselves in the '70s, but we play ourselves in the '80s and 2003, so that was really fun. The clothes in the '80s were so amazing and the hairstyles and the makeup. We had pink nail polish, feathered hair, so much hairspray and leg warmers."

Chalke said she wished she could have spent more time with Skovbye and Curtis, but because they didn't have scenes together, the younger and older casts were like "ships passing in the night."

"The young actresses who played us were so insanely talented and they also got along really well and that really translated. I got to see all their [work on screen,]" she said.

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"The person who played young Kate and I both have this weird, random skill that neither of us has ever lost a limbo competition, so we realized, in that moment, that's why this casting was so correct."

Chalke also recently appeared in Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, the followup to the dramedy series Psych and Psych: The Movie, which reunited the franchise's original cast members Dule Hill, James Roday Rodriguez, Timothy Omundson and Maggie Lawson.

"We had a blast. That cast is so funny together and the crew -- because they worked together for eight years and they came back and did these two movies -- was one of the tightest crews I've ever worked with," Chalke said. "It was so cute. They would break into song every half hour."

The real-life mother of two, who is also part of the Rick and Morty voice cast, said she tries to use her celebrity to spotlight important issues when the opportunity arises. Last year, she walked in the 2020 Red Dress Fashion Show for the American Heart Association.

"Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer for women and the fact that 80 percent of it is preventable? We all as women need to be talking about it more, telling people we care about: 'Go get yourself checked. Find out what your risks are,'" Chalke said.

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Firefly Lane premieres Wednesday on Netflix.

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