When last we spoke with Sarah Drew, she was still a new face in the Grey's Anatomy ensemble. Now Sarah has been a regular on the ABC medical drama for three seasons, become a mother in real life, and continued to add to her already intriguing TV resume. She spoke yesterday with BFTV about continuing as Dr. April Kepner and her previous role in the brilliant Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Front of the Class.
"I'm still loving my time on Grey's and having a really fun year this year," said the actress, who is now in her third season as a main cast member. Of settling into the ensemble, she added that "It's been amazing. I think that first year was exciting but also kind of hard because you sort of felt like you were auditioning for the entire year. There was a constant 'You might become a series regular but we don't know yet.' My first year as a regular was super-exciting and I just felt more and more at home. Now we've got a whole crew of newbies this year and I feel like I'm the old-timer!"
A key part of April's arc in season nine is her on-again, off-again entanglement with Jackson Avery, played by Jesse Williams, and Sarah revealed that the actors are as invested in the relationship as their fans. "Jesse and I have had a really fun time doing the storyline for April and Jackson this year and he and I just really, really care about the way that story is crafted," she explained. "We've gone to the writers a bunch and added ideas and they've been incredibly receptive."
Things have changed since April's arrival in season six, when the character received a mixed reception from Grey's fans and critics alike. "People hated me at first," Sarah said with a laugh. "I didn't take any of that stuff personally. But I really do feel like April has developed and grown. She still has her funny neurotic quirks, but she also has a bunch of other sides that are coming out. People have found more compassion for her."
Before she scrubbed in at Seattle Grace-Mercy West, Sarah's credits included voicing the character of Stacy Rowe in MTV's cult classic animated series Daria and playing Hannah Rogers on the last two seasons of The WB's Everwood. But one of her best roles came in a TV-movie you may have missed.
In 2008, the year before she made her Grey's debut, she co-starred in Front of the Class. Based on the book of the same name, the flick told the true story of Brad Cohen, who didn't let having Tourette's Syndrome stop him from becoming the supportive teacher he never had. In fact, as a new teacher, Cohen was named Georgia's First Class Teacher of the Year. Sarah played Cohen's girlfriend, and wife, Nancy in the film, which stands as one of the best ever produced in the Hallmark Hall of Fame series.
"It was so much fun," she said of the experience. "Brad Cohen was there with us for the whole shoot, pretty much, and just hearing his story and getting to embody that story was so inspiring."
Sarah also had plenty of praise for her co-star in the movie. "I had such a blast with Jimmy Wolk, and that was like his first big job and now he's just everywhere, which is so awesome," she said of the Political Animals star, who made BFTV's list of actors to watch in 2013. "Jimmy has gone every summer to volunteer at Brad Cohen's camp for kids with Tourette's, Camp Twitch and Shout, which is really cool. He is also just the nicest person on the planet, too. He's so just grounded and down to earth."
Besides Front of the Class, she has a few recommendations for Grey's fans who might want to check out other lines on her resume. "I did a few episodes of Mad Men in the second and third seasons. I'm pretty proud of that little arc that I got to do," Sarah said of her four episodes as Sal Romano's wife, Kitty. In addition, "I'm really, really proud of Everwood. That's way in the past, but it was such a great show and such a sweet character." Not unlike the actress herself.
When she gets the chance to watch some TV instead of making it, Sarah is a fan of NBC's critically acclaimed drama Parenthood, in part because of that same positive energy. "I feel like the whole show is sort of driven and motivated by love," she explained, "trying to love one another and sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding. It's not driven by scandal." Another favorite of hers is FOX's New Girl, which "I love just because it makes me laugh out loud."
Laughs and smiles aren't out of the ordinary around the actress, either. She might be loving her time on Grey's Anatomy, but with her great attitude and winning personality, there's also a lot to love about Sarah Drew.
An all-new episode of Grey's Anatomy airs tonight at 9 PM ET/PT on ABC. You can also keep up with Sarah on Twitter at @SarahDrewGreys.
(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.