Grey's Anatomy fans have been waiting not-so-patiently for the show's return on Thursday night. Who will April choose after Jackson's attempt to stop her wedding? How will the show change once we say goodbye to Sandra Oh's Dr. Yang? And will Alex and Jo last? We sat down with Camilla Luddington in LA to get as much of a scoop as possible on where, exactly, the drama will pick up this Thursday night when it returns to ABC. Read on to hear more about the show's "dramatic" episodes ahead, straight from Dr. Wilson herself, and scroll to the end of the story to watch some highlights from our in-studio interview with Camilla.
POPSUGAR: We left on a pretty big cliff-hanger. Is there anything you can reveal about Jackson, April, and the wedding aftermath?
Camilla Luddington: Obviously, I can't say who April chooses, although I'd love to tell you. What I can tell you is that Stephanie, of course, was completely publicly humiliated. Whether April chooses him or Matthew doesn't matter. She was really embarrassed. In the beginning of the episode, you see Jo sort of trying to take Stephanie under her wing and comfort her, and then she's also split with spending her time with Stephanie, and also Alex finds out everything that happened with his dad. So it's good girlfriend, good friend, and it's kind of . . .
PS: A lot on you.
CL: A lot on Jo.
PS: Tell me a little bit about Jo and Alex's relationship, because I feel like we left them in a pretty good place.
CL: We did, yeah. I feel like, for Alex especially, even though he said, "I love you," at the beginning of last season, it was like, "Shut up. I love you." So for him to have this moment where he was vulnerable and I think he was so open with her really touched her. I think that this season you do see them growing even closer after that moment. But of course, it's Grey's Anatomy, and there will always be things that rattle 'em!
PS: I think it's interesting, too, that fans are really split on the relationship. Some people are really for it. Some people are not into it. What's your sense? Do you think they belong together?
CL: I do. I think that fans sometimes have a hard time because, for so many seasons, he was set up with Izzie. I think if Alex had had nobody before that, people would be all about them. But I think that people, in the back of their minds, sort of have this residual feeling about their relationship. The way I feel about it is that you fall in love, and you have your first love, but more than likely, I tend to think that that's not necessarily the person you end up with and you grow apart from them. And for Alex, Izzie may have been his first love, but she might not have been the right girl for him. So I'm hoping that Jo is that person. I think it's kind of realistic that it's not always the first person you fall in love with that's the person you end up with.
PS: Isn't the controversy is great, though? Because it really speaks to the fact that there are fans of the show that have watched for years and are so invested — and I know that you were one of them before you joined the series.
CL: Yeah, I was! I loved all of those characters. I remember the first time I got on the show, I snuck into Meredith's kitchen, which is now Alex's kitchen, and I was like, 'This is where Izzie put the check on the fridge.' I was like, 'I'm such a loser.' I still have moments on set where I'm like that. Every time I film in Alex's house, I get kind of giddy over it. But yeah, that just shows how passionate the fans are, and that's not to say that there aren't a lot of fans that, at this point, are behind Alex and Jo, because they see them as being two misfits that kind of fit together.
PS: I heard that there's a baby that comes into the picture. What can you tell us about that?
CL: Jo is not having a baby. Let's clear that up right now! She is with Stephanie, comforting Stephanie — by the dumpsters, which is like the new, cool intern hangout. I'm not sure why they hang out there. It's kind of horrifying. And they find a baby that has been left in a box. Jo's actually not on pediatrics, and she really obviously wants to be part of that case and help the baby because she was left abandoned as a child, so all of her feelings about that [come out]. But she's not allowed to be helping out with that, so she's kind of pissed.
PS: Does it kind of stir up some maternal feelings for her?
CL: I think it does. But there are so many things going on in the episode. I mean, it's explosive. There's even a promo that's just literally come out, and you see Jo putting her fist through a vending machine and smashing it. So there's a lot of frustration in that episode. I mean, she hates Shane: she cannot stand him — she doesn't think he should be in the hospital. And so there's so much drama going on anyway that I don't think she really has a chance to really think about the baby as much as she possibly could in another episode.
PS: Like you said, Jo is going through a lot of feelings of rage as we come back.
CL: I think, unfortunately for Jo, she feels rage kind of easily. She's like Alex. She will kind of lash out a bit. So it doesn't really surprise me that she punched a vending machine.
PS: Were you excited to read that in the script? It sounds like kind of a fun moment to shoot.
CL: Yes! I hadn't done anything like that since I did the Tomb Raider video game that came out last year. I felt very cool.
PS: How does it feel to have Sandra leaving the show? How do think it's going to affect the dynamic on the series?
CL: I think the show has done a really good job of evolving anyway. We've seen so many castmembers kind of come in and out of the show, and so obviously it's a pretty devastating blow to everybody because she's Cristina Yang. Just even as a fan of the show, I will miss her and all of her snarky comments that just make you laugh. So it'll be difficult to lose her, for sure, but I'm interested to see what Shonda Rhimes does. I think the writers do a really great job of sort of taking someone's accident and maybe evolving the show into something different.
PS: And speaking of people leaving the show, the last few seasons have not been shy about killing people off.
CL: Last week, Jesse Williams — we were on our way to set — and he was like, "God, I can't believe you're getting killed off in the next episode." I was like, "What?!" He was like, "You don't know?" He was like, "Oh my God, I can't believe I . . . " [laughs] I'm going to get Jesse back somehow. I don't know how but I will. Because I was really convinced. I was like, "Oh my God, does Jo just, like, explode or something? Is it like another pink mist episode?"
PS: Just explodes in a cloud of rage. It could happen! Well, let's go back for a minute and talk about Tomb Raider, which you brought up. You do more than just voice the character in the video games; you actually did the motion capture. Did you have to do some physical training for that? Was that in your wheelhouse or was it a totally new challenge?
CL: What's funny is that I ran anyway on a daily basis, so when I got Tomb Raider, I thought, "Oh yeah, I'm in good shape. This is easy. I'll be fine." And I kind of thought that when I first got the game that, you know, Lara kicks butt — she doesn't really get her butt kicked. And I wasn't really thinking it through, because it's a reboot, and she goes through so much to become Lara Croft at the end that she does get her butt kicked, especially that first third of the game. So the first day of motion capture, I mean, I needed a wheelchair back to my car. Like, I was in so much pain — I could not walk. I did some circuit training, Soul Cycle. So I was just trying to mix it up a lot, but she's still in much better shape than I am.
PS: Well, she's imaginary, so she has a slight advantage, I think.
CL: She does, yeah. They can CGI her abs.
PS: I'm sure you have a legion of male fans from being this character. Have you had any memorable run-ins with fans of the video game?
CL: You know what, I don't think I've had anything really crazy. I've done two Comic-Cons now. I've done one in San Diego and I did one in London, and none of the fans were weird or crazy or nuts. They were just very cool. The fans that I actually love the most are the girls that come dressed as Lara Croft. The detail that they have — they have the blood and cuts in just the right spots. It's crazy.
PS: We talked about training for Lara Croft. Now that you've played a doctor on television, you've gotten to learn some medical lingo, but how likely do you think you are to be able to save someone's life?
CL: I've said this before, but I'm pretty sure if someone had appendicitis, I could do an appendectomy.
CL: A little bit. I know where McBurney's point is and I know where to cut in and then beyond that . . .
PS: Beyond that, it's a crapshoot . . .
CL: From there, I would just take out some sort of organ and pray.
PS: You played Kate Middleton in a TV film a couple of years ago. What kind of sense did you get of the person she is from doing the homework for that?
CL: We grew up in the same area in England. We both grew up in Berkshire. And she kind of, in a way, had a very normal, similar upbringing to me. There was nothing very aristocratic about her beginnings, and I think we still see that girl even now. Even just the other day, I know she was wearing the queen’s diamonds, but she was wearing a dress she had worn before, and I love that about her. I feel like we haven’t seen anybody do that before and I love that sense of normalcy about her. That’s kind of what I found striking.
PS: Being English yourself, what do you think Americans quite don't get about royalty?
CL: I don’t know if really people know how absolutely disgustingly brutal our history is. Because there are some stories that I remember learning as a kid, and I almost feel that it's almost like watching Saw V, and it's like part of your history lesson. So I don't know if Americans quite know about some of the stuff that happened back then — all the torture and gore — because now it's very glamorous.
PS: This is what they're teaching you guys in elementary school?
CL: Yes! But I loved it. I am a huge horror movie fan, so for me, history was one of my favorite classes because I actually loved all of that stuff. It was pretty disgusting.
PS: Speaking of blood and guts, tell us what you think fans can expect from this return episode. Because like you said, it sounds like a lot happens.
CL: I think they can expect to be shocked in many ways. I think that no matter who you think April picks, the first five, 10 minutes are very interesting, regardless, and may not quite go in the way that you think it’s going to go. And the rest of the episode is nonstop drama. With everyone. With ev-er-y-one. With every couple, no matter who you're passionate about, there's something for you in the episode.
PS: Well, it sounds like it's going to spark a lot of conversation.
CL: Yes, absolutely. And by the end of the episode, there's a brand-new, dramatic piece of information that stirs everything up for the episode following it.