Interview: ‘Grey’s Anatomy”s Sarah Drew talks ‘shocking’ winter finale

The “Grey’s Anatomy” winter finale airs this Thursday (Dec. 12 at 9:00 p.m. on ABC), and a wedding is on the books (isn’t that the best time for a wedding, after all?). Dr. April Kepner (played by Sarah Drew) is set to walk down the aisle with paramedic Matthew (Justin Bruening), but more than a few people are rooting for a last minute save from Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams). Of course, actually getting hitched is just one of April’s problems, according to Drew. I talked to the actress briefly about the midseason finale, whether April turns into a bridezilla, and why the last five minutes of the show’s script made Ellen Pompeo stop the table read. 

Are we going to make it to the wedding? Given that April just fired all her bridesmaids and Jackson gets into an ugly argument with Matthew, things don’t seem to be going smoothly. 

We will actually make it to the wedding, for sure. Plus, my real dad walks me down the aisle, which is really fun. So what we see in this episode is April, in the moment, the day of the wedding she’s having some bridezilla moments. She desperately wants Jackson to be at her wedding. He’s her best friend, and it’s important to her that he’s there to support her and share this experience with her. She’s in the midst of this while wrangling bridesmaids and asking them to put aside their self-absorption and drama to let this be about her. 

Not many people want an ex at their wedding, but April and Matthew both seem to want Jackson there. 

With Matthew, he knows there’s always going to be a place in her heart for Jackson; there’s no getting around it. She’s gung ho about this and she’s planning to marry Matthew, but she desperately wants Jackson to be there. It’s a big driving force for her. 

You’re not telling me everything goes off without a hitch, are you?

The last five minutes are completely shocking, both at the wedding and back at the hospital, and when we first got the script and were all together for the table read, Ellen Pompeo was like, “WHAT? What?” and stopped the table read, just saying, oh my God, I can’t believe this. You cannot miss the last five minutes, and after you see them, you’re going to stand up screaming, what’s going to happen now!

When April first came onto the show with her little book of affirmations, a lot of people thought she was annoying. But she’s really evolved over the seasons into someone much more complex. 

I love that she’s changed so much. She used to write affirmations in a little red notebook, really passive aggressive. The experience with her sisters [in the last episode] was really revelatory, because we find out she was the odd man out her entire life. She was put down and not treated like she has value and was made fun of her entire growing up experience. I think a lot of people who have that experience try to hide in their work, thinking, at least I’ll be valuable in my work, and that’s how you can become a goody two-shoes. This has been her journey, learning how to love herself. She’s finally saying, it’s okay, you don’t have to like me. All that stuff really started when it came out that she was a virgin and everyone started teasing her at work, and then she lost that and had it come out about the faith she hadn’t revealed, so that’s another uphill battle. All of that happened when she and Jackson slept together. Now she’s not hiding who she is, and she’s been growing ever since,

You mentioned your real dad walked you down the aisle? How did that happen?

My producer made it happen. It was during the three red headed sisters episode, they were trying to find someone to play the character and they mentioned they needed to find a guy with red hair, and I just happened to mention, well, my dad has red hair.

And a family resemblance!

Exactly. So my dad flew out from New York, and it was so fun. We had some wonderful time, and he was able to see the process and what my job is, how much of shooting a TV show is waiting. Plus, he got to walk me down the aisle twice. Nobody gets that!

There are a lot of people who are rooting for April to dump Matthew for Jackson, aren’t there?

People are diehard fans of this show, absolutely diehard. People are tweeting me that if April marries Matthew I’m never watching the show again. So yes, people are diehard fans of Jackson and April, at least the ones who tweet at me. But I think the show has done a good job of creating two people in Matthew and Jackson who are really right for her in different ways. I have people telling me I need to choose Jackson in the grocery store, but as far as what I think, I think they’re both really good for her in different ways, so we’ll just see what happens. But you have to watch the last five minutes!

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