Image Credit: Danny Feld/ABCNews that Grey’s Anatomy has promoted Jesse Williams (Jackson) and Sarah Drew (April) to full-time series regulars next season has elicited mixed reactions from viewers. Yay for Jackson—but not so much for his Mercy West cohort, who hasn’t exactly endeared herself to viewers. The fact that she nearly got Derek killed in last month’s harrowing hostage-themed finale certainly didn’t help. Among April’s biggest critics: Drew herself! In the following Q&A, the beloved Everwood alum weighs in on her polarizing alter ego, discusses the possibility of an April/Derek/Mer triangle, and reflects on her roller-coaster year.
Series creator Shonda Rhimes said she felt like April became “part of the tribe” in the finale. Did you feel the same way when you shot the episode?
SARAH DREW: I definitely had that feeling. April has been kind of annoying this past season. [Laughs] Just neurotic and really insecure, and this was the first time she was able to band together — both with Cristina and Meredith — to help solve a [crisis]. Most of my stuff before was with Patrick [Dempsey] and fawning over him awkwardly. So this was the first opportunity to actually bond in a positive way with them. They say tragedy brings people together, so I guess that’s what happened.
Fans have a love-hate thing going on with April. And it’s probably fair to say it became all hate when she nearly got McDreamy killed.
DREW: When we read that at the table read, I was like, “Oh, come on, guys, really? They already hate my character, now they’re going to hate her even more!” [Laughs]
Do you think she can be redeemed?
DREW: Lord, I hope so. [Laughs] I think [the heart-to-heart April had with Mer in the finale] was a gigantic step forward. The thing that’s fun about April is she creates controversy and that’s interesting to watch, even though people hate her for it. The people pleaser that I am, I always want everyone to like me and like my character, so it’s hard for me as an actress. But I think as a character she’s interesting, because she stirs stuff up between Meredith and Derek.
Do you think she will continue to stir stuff up between them?
DREW: This is nothing but my own speculation, but I don’t think that she’s going to come between Meredith and Derek. I don’t see it happening after everything that transpired in the finale. After her hearing how much Meredith is in love with Derek. After she witnessed the miscarriage. It just feels like April’s going to move on.
What has this past year been like for you? First you were hired, then you left, then you were rehired…
DREW: I definitely did my fair share of sweating in the past year. It’s all been really good news, though. Shonda wrote April for me because I’ve worked with her twice before. I walked into this role knowing it was only two episodes. I knew my character was going to be fired, so I wasn’t expecting anything beyond those two episodes. And then they called me the morning after the “firing episode” aired to check my availability and talk about a contract, and I was just floored. It was wonderful because when I came back to work I had so much support. A lot of the cast members were like, “We were rallying for you to stay. We’re so glad you’re back.” It was a wonderful surprise to move past those two episodes.