“My heart always moves toward reconciliation.”
Jackson and April (#Japril) are one of Grey’s Anatomy’s most complex and polarizing couples, and Dr. April Kepner, played by Sarah Drew, can be plenty complex and polarizing all on her own. Cosmopolitan.com spoke to Drew about the role and what she hopes for the future of April and Jackson.
People tend to have really strong feelings about Jackson and April.
Everyone’s so passionately invested. I’m super invested in the telling of the story, so it’s nice to know other people are as well.
Are you just invested in the telling of the story, or are you invested in a particular outcome?
My heart always moves toward reconciliation. I just want everything to work out and be OK and be happy. I want what’s best for this baby in every possible way, and I think the best thing for the baby is for Jackson and April to be together and raise the baby together. But that’s just because I go toward restoration. That’s what I’m prone to.
There’s a lot to root for with them.
There’s so much love there! And you feel like, if there is that much love, can’t they just figure it out and get their shit together? But that’s not necessarily how life goes. Sometimes people who absolutely love one another are not the best life partners. That’s what makes it an interesting story to tell. And you can very easily be on April’s side and very easily be on Jackson’s side and be really mad at the other person, but still really want them to find a way back to each other. And that’s what I keep seeing in fan responses on Twitter and stuff. I have so many people who tweet at me that they’re on Jackson’s side, and so many who tweet me that they’re on April’s side. And then some who are like, “Sarah, I love you, but I am so fed up with April. She needs to figure it out! She’s so selfish!” And then others who are like, “Jackson! It’s her body. You leave her alone.”
You and Jesse Williams [who plays Jackson] came into the show together, and you’ve been developing their relationship for seven years now. What’s that been like?
He’s the best acting partner you could ever ask for. We’ve always been collaborative and supportive. That’s been a gift. And [our storylines] started with not a shred of romance. Both of us were completely blindsided when we read at the end of season eight that we wind up in bed together. Neither of us had any clue that that was going to happen. It’s cool to get to play out a story that really, truly did start at friendship, with no hinting at anything beyond that.
Watching Japril: The Movie [from “Unbreak My Heart,” the flashback episode that dissected Jackson and April’s relationship] helped us see that shift, and it made me realize that the hospital shooting might have been a bigger catalyst for their relationship than I’d realized.
I think so too. In season seven — you know, the season after the shooting, which happened in the finale of season six — we started to see Jackson standing up for April, like when Alex Karev said, “This is why you have no friends!” and Jackson is like, “Hey! I’m her friend.” Or when Jackson beats Alex up because he tries to have sex with April but then doesn’t.
Oh my god, I forgot about that!
The funny thing about shooting Japril: The Movie was that I went back and rewatched scenes from tons of these episodes. There’d be notes in the script, like, “This scene is somewhere between season seven, episode four, and season seven, episode seven.” I’d go back to figure out where we were and what we were doing and who we were. It was fun to take that journey, because my character also changed significantly. The way that I walked and moved and talked, the tone of my voice shifted. April’s grown and changed and gone to war and lost a baby.
What’s the biggest change in April since season six?
She owns who she is in a deeper, more profound way. In a lot of ways, I feel like she’s just become a grownup. She started as a kid with a lot of insecurities and a lot of naiveté. She had a lot of awkwardness. Through the course of blossoming with Jackson, coming into her own as a woman and a sexual being and being desired and desiring … there’s something about that that really opened something up for her. And then, really, marriage. Marriage just changes a person. You grow a lot in marriage. Watching them wrestle through big life questions about money, religion, children, all of those things really grow you up in a pretty profound way. And she’s learned what she’s made of. She’s become so much more resilient. She doesn’t get hurt or bothered by stuff that would hurt or bother her before. She’s turned into a warrior in some kind of way. She won’t take any crap from anyone.
She’s just doing what is right for her at this point. This is what she’s decided is best for this child, and she’s going to do everything in her power to protect this child in this way. You can argue with it, and you can look at it and say it’s not the right choice. But then she’ll just tell you to go fuck off!