Grey’s Anatomy season 10 wraps up the first half of its split season tonight with “Get Up, Stand Up”. Meredith and Cristina continue to be at odds, Miranda makes her true feelings known to Ben, and Derek receives a life-changing phone call. At the center of it all, however, is the impending wedding of April and Matthew. Will this wedding really happen? What role will Jackson play in the big day? Sarah Drew recently spoke with BuddyTV to offer her insights on both April and ‘Japril’. She also teased the “massive cliffhangers” in the “thrilling” final five minutes of the episode which will leave viewers breathless as the show heads into a lengthy hiatus.

BuddyTV: This is exciting for you! April’s wedding is the focus of the winter finale.

Sarah Drew: Yes, it’s really, really fun.

What can you tell me, as a preview? We’ve been building to this episode the entire first half of the season. What can you tell me about the wedding?

I can tell you that it’s absolutely beautiful. The setting of it is just stunning. There’s a lot that happens, especially in the last five minutes of the episode. It’s like shock after shock after shock after shock, so it’s pretty thrilling. When we were at the table read, when this particular moment happens, at the end of the table read Ellen Pompeo was like, “Wait! Wait, wait, wait…what? WHAT?” So that’s really fun. It’s really fun to be a part of a big cliff-hangery kind of thing and a big shocker on the show. And it’s not just stuff that happening at the wedding. It’s stuff that’s happening back at the hospital that’s incredibly shocking, so there’s a lot that’s going on. 

April is dying to have Jackson come to the wedding, but she can’t figure out how to communicate that. I can’t tell you whether or not he does come but I can tell you that it’s a big driving force throughout this episode. It’s good stuff.

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Can we explore that a little more, this thing with Jackson? Regardless of where they are romantically, there’s still this underlying friendship between them and, as you say, it is important to her that he’s there. The shippers call your characters “Japril”. Is there any hope for the Japril fans that Jackson might interrupt this wedding?

I can’t speak to that in particular. I can tell you that there are moments with Jackson in the episode as she’s trying to communicate that she just wants her best friend to be there and support her on her big day. That’s what I can tell you.

In the last episode your sisters showed up. I understand that you dubbed them The Kepnerettes. 

Yes! (laughs) 

In the review I wrote of the episode, I said that April had endured the Brunch from Hell only to have to endure the Bridal Shower from Hell. When April sort of ‘lost it’ at the bridal shower, I thought that was kind of fun. Was it fun to explore that side of April? Because it was a little bit unusual for her to just ‘let loose’ on her sisters like that. How was that to play as an actress?

I was nervous about it because I know there are elements of it that were supposed to be comedic but it’s also incredibly deep and there’s a lot of pain that is wrapped up in what those relationships are. I talked to the writers and the director a bunch about navigating how I tell that story. How do I just put all three of my sisters down so horribly in front of a gigantic room full of people? And I can do that because for my entire life I have been treated as ‘less than’, as unimportant, as unvaluable, as smaller, littler. They can’t understand the choices that I make. What I do is stupid. All of the stuff that is just absurd. No matter how hard I try, they will never see me for the person I actually have become. 

And so, when they start to make fun of me, how no man has ever found me attractive, how I’ve never had a boyfriend, no one ever wanted me and they thought I was going to be a spinster for life, laughing about it and laughing at me in front of all these people I’ve worked so hard to earn the respect of, that gives April the power to go, “You know what? No. This is it. You brought this up in front of all these people, so I’m going to bring this up in front of all these people.” And I love it. I kind of think of it as her Katy Perry “Roar” Moment. 

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I’m wondering, too, if that’s informed this idea that April has had this professional uphill battle to climb. I wonder if maybe she felt all that growing up and then on top of it she was ‘the dud’ professionally, at least in the beginning. She doesn’t turn out that way, but surgically as well, she’s always had that battle to fight.

Absolutely. I think that there are a lot of different elements that add to that battle to fight. Not only fighting to be taken seriously, but then the fact that she’s a virgin comes out several seasons ago. And then the fact that she’s a Christian comes out two seasons ago. Both of these things were things that made her seem ‘less than’ in the way that she perceived the situation.  Because if you’re Christian, you can’t believe in science. Or you can’t be treated seriously if you believe in something unseen. And if you’re a virgin, it means nobody ever wanted you, when really it’s a choice that she made to be faithful to a promise that she made. But all of these things have been uphill battles because she’s felt kind of like an alien. So the fact that she was an alien growing up also, amongst her sisters, and never treated as part of them, it’s been a really big uphill battle. And I think that she’s grown tremendously and blossomed tremendously.

Now that April’s sisters have been kicked off of bridesmaid duty, we have Arizona, Meredith, and Cristina as the bridesmaids. Could you talk about April’s friendship with Arizona and also about the dynamic between Meredith and Cristina? It seems like everything’s going to come to a boil and April might get caught in the crossfire.

Arizona is sort of the best bridesmaid ever because she is super-excited and super-happy to be a part of this. She and April are developing this wonderful relationship, so she’s totally on-board and being a great friend, except for the fact that she’s dealing with the emotional trauma of what’s going on in her marriage. 

And, then, you’ve got Meredith and Cristina who haven’t bothered to get their fittings for their dresses. So on the day of the wedding, April has to go to the hospital to find them. There’s a really fun scene, there’s a big explosion, that deals with all three of those relationships and April being caught in the middle of it when the whole day is supposed to be about her.

I understand that that your own father plays April’s father in the episode. Was that just the best thing ever?

Best thing ever. The producer was like, “We’re looking to have a redhead to walk you down the aisle.” And I was like, “You know that I have a father who is a redhead, right?” And they were like, “OH!” We flew him out and he walked me down the aisle and he worked on the location where we were for two days and then flew home. And we had such a ball. It was such a sweet time. He keeps telling me, “I’m still pinching myself, that I actually got to do that again.”

You can’t be very far ahead right now, in terms of the shooting…ahead of the audience.

We’re shooting episode thirteen right now. 

Wow! So you are literally just one episode ahead. So for you, then, this hiatus that’s coming up, that gives you a chance to catch up and get ahead again?

Yes, so we can play the second half of the season consecutively.

Is there anything you can tease about what’s coming after that break?

There are resolutions to the massive cliffhangers. I love everything that’s coming. I am a big fan of it. I wish I could tell you more but I’m not allowed to say anymore than that.

The winter finale of Grey’s Anatomy, “Get Up, Stand Up,” airs Thursday December 12 on ABC. 

For more information check out the official ABC Grey’s Anatomy page.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Janalen Samson

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV