Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) “Grey’s Anatomy” is pretty much it! Especially recently, it’s been taking up quite a lot of my time and I’m very happy about it.
Q) It’s an incredible season on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Is it difficult to get into character with what is currently happening to Callie?
A) Well, as an actor (I know for me, personally), I’ve been lucky enough to play some really complex juicy roles in my life. Any time you get the opportunity to go really deep with some pretty complex, intense stuff it’s a joy to work on. It’s a challenge and a joy. I’m thrilled with the material I’ve been given. I’ve been given a lot of comedic stuff and some very intensely dramatic stuff. It’s a lot to get to sink your teeth into. So, as an actor, I am super grateful. I think when the work is really intense and you are having to tap into really dark, intense emotions I think the most challenging part is letting it go when you are done. I’m always so grateful when I go home because my life couldn’t be more different than Callie Torres’ life. That’s the saving grace in all of this, that my real life is the complete opposite of what Callie is going through. I couldn’t be happier for that. Thank God for that!
Q) How did you feel when you first learned about this coming Callie centered episode?
A) I thought, “How am I going to do this?” Because what also came with that is, “You’re in every scene except one.” So, I thought, “How am I going to do this?” But we did it! It happened! Like all of our episodes, it took ten day to shoot. With the help of our amazing A.D. and our director Jeannot Szwarc, the first week they were able to get me out a few hours early and the second week not as much. So, the second week of shooting was actually more challenging just in terms of how many hours I would be on set. I’ll tell you what, I already had a deep respect for my crew, but now I have an even deeper one. I have an even deeper respect for my crew now that I have actually experienced being there several days at a time from beginning to end for consecutive days. It’s definitely challenging, but it was so exciting and thrilling and an incredible opportunity. This episode was written by Stacy McKee who has been with the show since the pilot. The fact that she wrote this episode was really exciting for me and she was with us during the shooting of it. It was just a real gift. Honestly, I hate to sound so cliché, but it really was an incredible opportunity as an actor to get to do this. I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment having finished it. So, I’m really excited to see it. I haven’t seen it, myself. I am going to be watching with everyone else on Thursday night! I’m going to be seeing it for the first time with everyone else on Thursday!
Q) Is there anything you can tease that fans can expect to see in this special episode?
A) Callie is being sued for negligence. We can also expect to see some more information about Callie and Arizona’s relationship revealed through flashbacks. There is one piece of information that I found really surprising when I first read it out loud that I think will surprise a lot of people. And Hector Elizondo comes back as Callie’s father to reveal his own secret, his own surprising piece of information. I can also reveal that the doctors from Grey Sloane Memorial take turns showing up for Callie in the courthouse.
Q) With what is happening between Callie and Arizona at the moment, is there any light or hope you can share for fans of their relationship?
A) I am definitely not in a position to speak to that. I think that this is a question for the writers. I don’t know. I don’t know is my honest answer.
Q) This season Callie has more of a relationship with Derek and Meredith in the past where you have seemed simply colleagues. Do you enjoy the different dynamic between the characters?
A) Yeah! I think it’s kind of neat. Meredith and Derek have shown up to support Callie when they took her into their home. We’re going to see Callie and Derek continue to work together as well. So, it is interesting to see a potential connection between Meredith and Callie as friends. Certainly in the episode this week, Callie gets a very impactful piece of advice from Meredith.
Q) What do you think of the fact you’re working less this season with Jessica Capshaw? Is there anyone you wish you had more screen-time with?
A) I love the whole cast and it’s always an interesting transition when you go from working all the time with somebody to working with them less. We all love working with each other and it’s always fun to do something different. We’re sort of like pawns on the chess board where you just kind of get moved around. It’s great to work with everybody! I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve been able to work with a lot of folks on the show. I haven’t really gotten to work much with Jesse [Williams] this season and I haven’t gotten a ton to do with the interns. Although, I have gotten to work with Camilla [Luddington], who I love working with. She’s awesome! There are still a few people I haven’t worked with a whole lot. I love getting a chance to work with a lot of different people. It’s fun and it keeps things interesting. It’s just kind of the nature of the beast.
Q) Kevin McKidd recently directed an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Have you ever thought about directing?
A) I did for a hot minute and then I didn’t. I did and then I didn’t. Literally, over the course of twenty-four hours I was like, “Hmm, maybe I’ll direct. What is that about? That’s interesting.” Then, I had a bunch of different conversations with several different people about what it means to direct “Grey’s Anatomy” and just kind of entertained the idea for a little while there. Then, I realized I don’t want to direct. I am so blessed and I feel so lucky that it is almost eight years working on the show and that just blows my mind. I recognize how lucky I am as an actor to have a steady job and to have one that I love playing a character that I love playing. It really is the role of a lifetime for me. I’m thrilled that I am still getting to do it every day. I am super grateful. Whatever the storylines turn out to be I am just eternally grateful to Shonda [Rhimes] and the writers for keeping me around.
Q) Callie is such a rich character. Have you learned anything from playing her?
A) I’ve learned so much! How to persevere. How to be strong and vulnerable. It’s so intense what she is going through in this episode. She has really taught me the value of family and that family isn’t always defined in a cookie cutter way. Family can mean so many different things for different people. Callie being a character who is also a part of the LGBT community has also taught me so much bravery in the face of fear.
Q) If Callie had to choose between love and surgery, which do you think she’d pick?
A) Oh man, I don’t know. That’s a really great question. I don’t know! I want her to choose both. Why can’t she have it all? I want her to have it all and I think that’s another wonderful theme that runs through “Grey’s Anatomy” with all the female characters. Can we put family and career first? And the answer is for a lot of people, “no.” Some people the answer is “yes” and what that looks like for them looks different than how other people would do it. Some women can absolutely choose their career and family and juggle it the best they know how. Is anybody going to be perfect at it? No. I don’t think that’s the point. That’s another thing that Callie has taught me. The point is not to be perfect. The point is just to show up and to try. And really the point is to show effort. I think that’s more important than actually being perfect at something.
Q) What scene this season has been your favorite film?
A) Oh, that’s an impossible question to answer. There are just too many. And that’s cliché, but it is cliché for a reason. There are just too many!
Q) You are very down-to-Earth and so open. What is it that keeps you so humble?
A) I think it is the notion that it could all go away at any moment. I think that’s what keeps me humble, that it could all go away at any moment. Also, I have friends who are unemployed actors so I get to hear all the time how nuts it is out there. That also keeps me grounded.
Q) Is there a chance for you to return to Broadway in the near future?
A) It’s definitely something I would consider when “Grey’s Anatomy” is over for me. I don’t know when that is going to be. I think that’s really tough to fit that in during hiatus. I know some of my other colleagues on the show have squeezed in a theater production here and there during hiatus, but I really value my time off. And it goes by so fast. So, I haven’t been moved to try that myself, but you never know! If the right project came along and only required me to be there for six to eight weeks I’d be able to make it happen. So far, nothing has clicked yet.
Q) Can we expect some new music from you in the near future?
A) I don’t have any plans right now, but I’ve gotten A LOT of requests. So, it is definitely in the back of my mind. I’m the kind of person that does things when they feel right to me. It has to come about organically for me. So, if and when it feels right it will happen again. I’m sure it will happen again. I just don’t know when or where.
Q) You’re a part of social networking sites. Why is that such an important way for you to connect with your fans?
A) For a long time I wasn’t ready to form that kind of connection because I think social media is a very specific kind of connection. It’s a bit removed and it’s live. It’s in the moment. It can be spontaneous and I like that. It can be unpredictable. You can be traveling and still participate, which is really cool. The reason that I joined Twitter and Instagram was to connect with fans and sort of share work related information and information related to the kind of organizations that I support and the LGBT community. So, I think social media has been a great way for me to accomplish that. And with Instagram, it’s a great way to give people a visual of what you are experiencing and what you are learning. Maybe it’s just telling a joke and keeping it light by sharing with the fans what is going on backstage or what is going on off camera. All those kinds of ways of sharing and connecting I think make it fun and interesting for folks. And I’m having a blast! I’m having a lot of fun with it! So far, it’s been really really fun. I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s turned out to be a really, really fun element to this whole job.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) Thank you! Thank you for your loyalty. Thank you for your belief in me. Thank you for investing in this character that I’ve been playing for almost eight years. Thank you for supporting my music. And thank you for continuing to get the word out that people from all walks of life deserve to be loved and deserve to have equal rights.