It's a Grey's Anatomy kind of week over here on Seattle Refined and KOMO News. After waiting weeks, we FINALLY get to talk about some of the coolest interviews we did this summer - when the Grey's Anatomy cast descended upon our great city to shoots scenes for the 14TH SEASON of their hit ABC televisions show.
You've see us talk to Chandra Wilson (Miranda Bailey) and Kevin McKidd (Owen Hunt) .- and now we come to one of my personal favorites - Dr. Jackson Avery (aka Jesse Williams in real life).
Williams was just one of the cast members who took some time to talk to us on a shoot break outside of Gasworks Park.
"It's nice to get up here and reconnect the show to its Seattle roots," said Williams. While the show is set in Seattle, the cast hasn't filmed scenes up here in years. Because we spend so much time on stage, it's refreshing to getting out and be anywhere different. But also as a performer, as an actor trying to communicate a story - it’s always helpful to be in the most realistic environment as you possible can. It means getting out of your scrubs, into some human clothes and moving around and having real interactions with people and being outside in the elements."
Like many of the cast members, Williams is taking a shot at directing this season.
"I’ll be directing this year," said Williams. "Between running [a] company, producing documentaries, and doing this show, squeezing in movies and being a father - there’s a lot going on. But it makes it all worth it."
And it won't be a lax season for Williams' character Dr. Avery, either. From where we left off, it seems that a relationship may be brewing with Dr. Maggie Pierce - even though fans still ship "Japril", the Jackson + April love story of yesteryear.
"I think that Sarah [plays April Kepner, love interest] and I have just the right amount of input," said Williams. "It's not our show but we’re happy to participate as contributors to the storytelling process. We take a lot of pride in the work, and the writers kind of meet us where we are and they’re really receptive at every level to us contributing to it because we know the characters as well as anybody and we’re really invested and that goes beyond just Japril. Divorce happens, and families take different forms and shapes. It’s really interesting to see how we adjust to that and I think it’s a little more realistic and I think audiences respond to that."
So, are you Team Japril or Team Jaggie? Err, Team Mackson? We'll work on that.
"It will be interesting to see what’s going on with the Jackson/Maggie storyline," said Williams. "They seem to be toying [with] where that could go, and that’s really fun because Kelly McCreery is a tremendous person, never-mind a tremendous actress. We got to really hit it off towards the end of last year as we got to spend more time working together - so I’m really excited to be able to explore that."
But it's not just his onscreen loves that Williams works well with.
"Beyond the writing it’s the relationship," he said. "The trust I have with Shonda [Rhimes, creator] and Betsy [Beers, executive producer], and that trickles down. My relationship with Debbie Allen is one of the most precious and important to me, not only on the show but in life - we’ve become really close - she’s a mentor, a friend. I love her with all my heart. She’s both a maternal figure in my life, but also a mentor, friend, a confidant - it just means everything to me being able to be that, but play with her as the mother and son dynamic on the show. She’s a director, a producer- she’s kind of all over the place. She’s able to compartmentalize all that so well and professionally, with heart, with the personal touch, so yeah. It's invaluable."
And even members of the cast have their own favorite character. Who is Williams'?
"I think I’d go with [Alex] Karev," he said. "Incredible comic timing and material and walks the line of being the comedian or butt of jokes - both masculine and tough and really tender as a lead doctor in the Peds Department. He’s kind of student and teacher, [but] he has his vices. He comes from a rough childhood. There’s a lot going on there and there’s no one who could do it better than Justin Chambers."
Williams has his hands in many different pots - actor, father, businessman - the list goes on. But don't expect to see him leave Grey's anytime soon.
"I feel safe here - it’s a wonderful opportunity, a wonderful job and I’m still able to scratch my other creative itches," he said. "As long as I can be satisfied creatively, feel alive, feel vibrant - it’s great to have a home base. I’m extremely grateful."
Grey's Anatomy premieres September 28 on KOMO 4 at 8 p.m. PST.