First of all, a major character on Grey’s was killed off last season. What was the vibe on set like?
It’s so interesting playing these characters for so many years. You develop a relationship with the character and we’re all fans of the show, we’re all fans of each other. I think we got the script and we knew it was happening and I think there was real…it was the same roller coaster that all of the fans were going through. So, you know, tears, and hugs, and appreciation, and love… it was quite an emotional time, but really beautiful.
Speaking of tears, I can’t help but ugly cry during every episode of Grey’s. Do you have a show that gets you all weepy?
I’d have to say it’s Grey’s Anatomy. That’s part of the experience! There’s no other show, for me, where it’s one stop shopping for all of the emotions. You’re going to laugh, you’re going to blush with romance, and you are going to sob and reconsider your life, in every episode. And there’s not an hour of Grey’s Anatomy where all of those things don’t happen. I have very little time in my schedule and when I need catharsis of all those things, Grey’s is the place I go.
You’ve acted on two medical-themed shows since 2009. Have you picked up any medical jargon? Do you think you can diagnose friends?
I definitely do not feel like that. But, as the story goes, I was finishing up my B.A. and I would unwind after exams by binge watching the first season of Grey’s Anatomy. When I got to the end of it, I was under the misapprehension that I wanted to become a doctor.
So I went to this medical faculty lecture series and by the end I said, ‘I don’t want to be a doctor. In fact, I just want to be on Grey’s Anatomy.’ Although, I will say that I’ve done a lot of reading about brain science. Often I’ve read stuff having to do with all of the things [my character] Amelia has gone through and I will say from a psychological perspective, it’s kind of informed how I see the world.
Your character has had some seriously traumatic things happen to her over the years. How do you wind down after an emotionally draining season?
For me, it usually involves travel to some far-flung place. That’s how I get back to my self. I think Amelia is a really intense character and she requires a lot of emotional energy to play… So to kind of shake it out and get back to my real personality, it helps to kind of go away and explore new things and see the world a little bit.
What’s it like to be able to explore a character so thoroughly over almost seven years?
It’s kind of an actor’s dream to have the opportunity to play a character as multi-dimensional, with so many strengths and so many flaws, but you get to layer on all her experience and all of the stories that you have charted. Over the years, the character becomes even more intricate and interesting. To play that, it’s been a fantastic exercise. And you develop a real love for this alter ego that you’re playing.
What would you like for your character in the future? Maybe a little happiness?
Yes! That would be the next thing. So many heavy, heavy things have happened. And it was all such heavy stuff that I didn’t think we got to spend that much time exploring the joyful, hilarious parts of her personality. I think those are actually dominant for her. She has this tragic core, but the way she navigates the world is through humour and fun, a lot of the time.
You’re a Toronto girl but living elsewhere. What do you miss about the city?
Everything. I am such a fan of Toronto. I think it’s one of those things where I loved it when I lived there, but you can’t fully appreciate the magic of that city until you’ve lived away from it.
The list is so long, from the urban planning and the subways, to the changing seasons, to the cultural integration, to the support for the arts, to the support for education. I just think it’s a really healthy society as well as a really aesthetically pleasing city and I’d love to get back there any second I can.