We should start off by saying we LOVE Grey’s Anatomy. We’re here. We’re invested. We devoutly #TGIT. When we got the opportunity to go to the pancake breakfast, eat, and catch up with the cast, including Ben Warren (Jason George), we jumped on it. Here are five of our biggest takeaways:
Seattle Grace Mercy Wes- ehrm, Grey Sloan Memorial’s favorite couple (don’t @ us) has been in a tough spot since Ben decided he was going to change career paths — again — and become a firefighter. George, who plays Ben Warren, was coy when it came to specifics.
Jason George: Grey’s fans will recognize that the calls that we go out on directly impact us and invoke ideas about things that are going on in our personal lives, ’cause we have these incredibly full personal lives,” he said. “But you just had this thing. It’s an adrenaline rush beyond all adrenaline rushes running into a burning building, saving somebody’s life.
You’ll see, in the first episode, [Bailey] comes and sees where Ben is working these days, and yeah, there’s a vertical learning curve for Ben and for Bailey. You talk about the personal life. You’ll see Ben Warren’s personal life. There’s a dynamic big shift. They go into that quite a bit. Quite a bit.
Equipment is heavy and days are long. It takes physical and mental strength to even act out the things these heroes do every day.
Danielle Savre: How much would you say our gear weighs?
Okieriete Onadowan: Maybe just the turnouts, maybe like 30 lbs.
Savre: Yeah, so it’s like an extra 30 lbs that you’re just kind of … Every time you walk you feel like you’re an astronaut.
Onadowan: Then maybe with the bottle, it’s like maybe 50 lbs.
Alberto Frezza: 70 lbs, I heard.
Onadowan: 70 lbs total.
Savre: I woke up Saturday morning after getting home at 6 a.m. and then sleeping for a couple hours, and like my wrists just doing this [fire hose motion] these muscles, I was like, “Oh my gosh.” Just from doing that. You don’t realize, my gosh, it’s just all adrenaline these firefighters are going on. Just amazing.
Onadowan: I lift heavy like that’s what I do. I go to the gym, I lift heavy things and I look in the mirror and I’m like, “Nailed it.” But like doing this show is just kind of like, “Holy …” Like it’s just the mental strength of it, you know? Like if anybody’s a runner when you’re running, half the battle’s in your mind just to keep running and it’s not really in your body.
And it’s the same thing, like after hours of wearing this stuff, just mentally saying, “Just keep going.” And they have a mental strength that’s, dare I say, unparalleled, I think. And so yeah, mentally, I do feel stronger, ’cause now like if we’re doing like an eight-hour shift I’m gonna be wearing it, we sit down like we go, just get up like, “All right let’s do it. Let’s just do it. Throw the pack on. Let’s just get it done.” My body hurts, my neck hurts, my back hurts, but, like, let’s get it done.
Our three leading ladies and creator Stacy McKee take their job of representing women and women of color in male-dominated fields to be of the utmost importance.
Jaina Lee Ortiz: It’s important, damn it. Women and minorities are so underrepresented on TV, and I just feel — especially as a female working in a male-dominated industry.
It’s a breath of fresh air. This is the first time where I can look at a character that I’m playing on TV and be like, “I want to be more like her.” I wish me, Jaina, was more like Andi. She is not afraid to stand up and speak up for what she wants and fight for it until she gets it. Especially with this political climate, with the “Time’s Up” movement — like, that’s the woman. That’s the people that women see right now, you know? The brave, smart passionate hard-working, will-fight-until-the-end woman, and so, it’s huge — it’s very inspirational. It’s empowering to see that on TV and to also play that and to know that women and Latinas — or just any woman from every walk of life could go, “That’s the woman I look up to, and if she can do it, I can do it.” So, yes, thank you, Shonda.
Barrett Doss: It’s very important. I think Danielle and Jaina and I are all feeling very excited and very honored to represent this cross-section of that community. I was saying before, it’s sort of not every day that you get to play a mentally and physically strong female character, and I think we’re all really excited to do that.
We’re saying it’s not super unusual for any woman to feel sort of like you’re clawing yourself to the top in a male-dominated industry. I think that’s a fairly across-the-board pretty common experience. So, we can certainly draw from that, in our own lives, to bring to this job , but it is so much fun.
We all have a background in sports or athletics of some kind of competition, so being able to bring that skill here is so much fun, I think, for all of us. And we get to play with these guys, who all — of course, thank goodness — see us as equals and as members of the team, which is how it’s supposed to be and how we’re supposed to be as firefighters and as actors.
So, we really get to have sort of a family. It’s like a cool way that our jobs as actors are reflecting our jobs on the show where we have to really have this group tandem experience together.”
George: All of the Shondaland shows have a level of intelligence, a level of humor, a level of pathos, and human connection. I think that’s common among of all of them; really intense emotions, whether it be comedy or tragedy, but then — all the other shows have a much more intellectual bend. I mean, Scandal was in D.C., the political side. How to Get Away With Murder is about the legal side, and all that imagination sort of thing. Grey’s Anatomy is this surgical position of life and death, but [on Station 19,] we’re swinging axes and running into buildings that are on fire, and that’s the element that hasn’t existed in Shondaland yet and it’s bringing that special Shondaland perspective to it — putting a little bit of Shondaland sauce on that. I’m just excited.
For me, I have sons and a daughter, and I’m just excited for them all to see that: for my daughter and my sons to see that strength mentally and physically and beauty are not separate. That is part of what being beautiful is is being strong, as a person, physically and mentally in all aspects. So I think, for Shondaland, I think we bring an extra level of action that hasn’t been there before.
Ortiz: It’s great company to be in. Shondaland does this thing where the women leading all the shows are — they’re not just strong and powerful. She made this Tweet like, “Women aren’t strong, powerful leads. There’s no such thing.” That’s [just] who we are.
The women who are on TGIT, the women leading all the shows, they have the same thing in common: They are very independent, successful, hard-working women, and they’ll go over whatever man they’re in love with to get where they want to be, successfully. And so that speaks a lot about their characters.
If you thought the introduction to Station 19 on Grey’s Anatomy was good, you’ll want to tune tonight for the premiere.
Station 19 premieres at 9/8C on Thursday, March 22, on ABC.