We chatted with Drew about the big episode, “Get Up Stand Up,” which airs at 9 p.m. ET on ABC, and she revealed that not only is April dealing with some major Bridezilla moments, everyone around her is also dealing with some chaos of their own, leading up to what Drew says is one crazy cliffhanger before “Grey’s” goes on hiatus for two and a half months (it will return Feb. 27).
Zap2it: We loved seeing April finally stand up for herself to her sisters when she denounced them as bridesmaids. How are Meredith, Cristina, and Arizona going to fare as her new bridesmaids?
Sarah Drew: She chose three people who are in the middle of crazy emotional turmoil themselves and as most characters on “Grey’s Anatomy” are, are already self-absorbed. So she’s caught in the crossfire of Meredith and Cristina. Arizona is a great bridesmaid, except for the fact that she is dealing with a whole lot of drama regarding her marriage right now. So she went from people who don’t take her seriously to people who are completely wrapped up in their own worlds. There are some really fun scenes where we see some meltdown moments, Bridezilla style. It’s fun.
Will we see more of this new, bold April leading up to her big day?
Absolutely. I just really feel like April has found her voice. She’s roaring her way through life now and I kind of love it. I love that she’s come into her own, she’s figured out who she is, and she now loves herself. She’s confident in the person that she’s becoming and has become. It’s one of my favorite things about the development of her character.
Speaking of her development as a character, when you first came onto “Grey’s Anatomy” during the big merger in Season 6, did you ever imagine you would get an episode devoted to your wedding?
No [laughs]. Definitely not. It’s been really, really fun to see the progression. They do a really good job on our show introducing characters kind of slowly so people get used to them to the point where we start to love them, and then you can have a wedding episode about someone who didn’t come in until Season 6. I think that’s a part of the genius of the way the show is run and created and written. But it’s certainly delightful for me. It’s really fun to be princess for the day.
Did it bring back any memories of your big day? [Drew married Peter Lanfer in 2002.]
It did because we flew my dad out to actually walk me down the aisle. That was really fun. I had flashbacks of my day 11 years ago when I was standing there with my dad getting ready for them to say, “Action.” We were looking at each other and we were like, “I can’t believe we’re doing this again. This is amazing.”
That’s so cool! How did your dad get involved with the episode?
A couple ways. When we had the episode where we had marriage counseling, the writers actually talked to my dad to get advice on how one of those sessions would go because my dad is a minister, so they named [the character] Reverend Drew. And Reverend Drew is the guy who winds up marrying us in the wedding episode, so he was already on their minds. Then when they were looking for a redheaded guy to walk me down the aisle, I was like, “You know, I have a redheaded dad. Should I call him?” They were like, “Awesome!” So my dad flew out and during our first rehearsal, our director was like, “OK Reverend Drew, I need you to … ” — and my dad leapt up, and the director was like, “No, pretend Reverend Drew. You’re just Papa Drew.” It was so funny and my dad was so tickled by the whole thing.
Obviously, since this is “Grey’s Anatomy,” the wedding won’t be drama-free. What can you reveal about the big cliffhanger that happens?
I can tell you that you don’t want to miss the last five minutes. Those last five minutes are totally shocking for numerous reasons. There are things that are happening at the hospital, there are things that are happening with Derek, and there are things that are happening at the wedding, all happening at once in the last five minutes. To the point where, when we read it at the table read, Ellen Pompeo was like, “Stop. What? I’m sorry, what?!?” Like the whole table read stopped because she was like, “What’s happening? What?!?” It’s pretty fantastic. There’s an amazing cliffhanger, and nobody’s going to see any of it coming.
Does the cliffhanger have anything to do with April’s lingering feelings for Jackson, or is she all in with Matthew now?
April’s definitely all in with Matthew. But the one thing that she really wants is to have her best friend at her wedding. She really, really wants Jackson to show up and be there and support her. And on the day of the wedding she’s still not sure whether he’s going to come or not so we’ll see her wrestling with, “How do I communicate that this is really important to me?” and “How do I convince him to come?” So the things that are lingering are just the fact that he is so deeply important to her. It’s still very, very true. I can’t tell you whether he decides to come or not but I can tell you how desperately she wants him to be there.
Will Matthew question April’s feelings for him seeing that struggle?
He actually doesn’t witness that struggle, so no. Matthew’s gung-ho.
Let’s talk about this cliffhanger some more. Since “Grey’s Anatomy” isn’t returning until February, what advice do you have for viewers after they see the last five minutes of the fall finale and have to wait for the hiatus to end?
For two months! I don’t know! I don’t know what to tell them. People are going to be dying. The show is going to end and everyone’s going to go, “What? What happens next?!?” But that’s just how we do on “Grey’s,” you know? Sorry! [laughs] And they’re really treating this season as two little half-seasons. Like this is the end of Season 10, part one. And then we come back for Season 10, part two. I like it though, because even though it is a long time to wait for a new episode, then you get all 12 in a row which is nice.
What else can you reveal about “Get Up Stand Up?”
I can reveal that what’s coming up is a lot of fun stuff for April. She’s going to go through it emotionally. I can say that when we come back from the hiatus, I’m really loving the direction that they’re taking the April story line, post this cliffhanger. It’s a really fun journey.
Any other projects coming up for you besides “Grey’s Anatomy?”
I just released a Christmas album at reindeertribe.com. It’s a really fun listen for the holidays.
“Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.