EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Edwards on the Challenges of Directing and Playing Around on the 'ER' Set

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With his feature directorial debut, My Dead Boyfriend, Anthony Edwards is enjoying life behind the
camera -- something he appreciated long before becoming known as Goose in Top Gun or Mark Greene on NBC’s
long-running medical drama
, ER. “It
goes all the way back to when I was 16,” he tells ET. “I always loved the
technical side of film.”

And having acted for a decade before even joining ER, it was only natural for Edwards to
take on the opportunity to direct an episode of the series, “Take These Broken
Wings,” in the second season. “ER was
a great place for my debut because I had the familiarity of all the crew and
everybody,” Edwards says. “I could play and experiment with the ideas that I
had of how to visualize it.”

The season’s penultimate episode, which aired on May 9,
1996, was a heavy one, with Susan Lewis (Sherry Stringfield) consulting a
therapist to cope with the loss of Little Susie while Jeanie Boulet’s (Gloria
) estranged husband checks in with flu-like symptoms caused by HIV.

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Maintaining a sense of humor on set, Edwards recalls
dressing up as a ‘20s-era German director. “I had a riding crop,” he says of
joking around with Stringfield. “We just played. We had fun.”

But Edwards’ directorial debut on the show did come with its
challenges: “I had to direct myself, too,” he says. “That’s always difficult to
do because you want to spend all your time watching.” That’s why My Dead Boyfriend (in select theaters on
Nov. 4) presented an opportunity: He didn’t have to act -- just focus on making
the film.

Starring Heather Graham, Scott Michael Foster, John Corbett
and Gina Gershon, the movie tells the story of Mary, who comes home to find her
boyfriend dead in front of the TV, leading to a series of misadventures as she
tries to get rid of his ashes.

It’s a script that Edwards had held onto for a number of years, one he knew was the perfect opportunity for him to take on a feature film. “Every time I went back to it, I could see the movie and how I wanted to make it,” he says, adding that time and budget constraints forced everyone to “make big, bold choices. And I liked that kind of energy on set.”

While he’s mulling over his next project, Edwards hasn’t ruled out a return to TV. He most recently appeared on Law & Order: SVU, reuniting with his former ER love Mariska Hargitay. While the actress was delighted to share the screen again with him after nearly 20 years, Hargitay was the first to admit to ET that she was always hoping Edwards would appear behind the camera. “I’ve been trying to get him to direct the show,” Hargitay says. “So this is a gift. I’ve been talking about it for years.”

Although nothing has been determined, Edwards is open to the idea of helming an episode of SVU with Hargitay. “I’d be flattered,” he says of the opportunity.