Those who watched the GREY’S ANATOMY spin-off PRIVATE PRACTICE will agree with me when I argue that Amelia Shepherd is one of the most important characters on television right now. Her presence is crucial not only on GREY’S ANATOMY but on television in general.
Caterina Scorsone approaches the role with grit and enough angst to make the teens on MY SO-CALLED LIFE seem enthusiastic. Amelia’s tough and closed off, but she’s also exceedingly warm and overbearingly compassionate. She loves ferociously and is such a magnificent surgeon.
We’ve seen Caterina rise time after time above her addictions. Any other show would have killed her off already or would have made her stay clean. Amelia has relapsed and cleaned herself up numerous times, but she won’t give up on herself and neither will her audience.
Most shows on network television have failed to accurately represent the constant struggle that recovering alcoholics and drug addicts go through day by day. Shonda (Rhimes) never held anything back with Amelia, what you saw was what you got, that’s one example why Rhimes’ characters are so necessary in today’s media.
This season she is shaking things up at Grey Sloan Memorial as a new addition to the neuro department and slowly becoming the surgeon to beat, giving even her brother a run for his money. I spoke with the gifted actress about Amelia’s relationships, Callie and Arizona, and what we can look forward to on tonight’s episode.
I spoke with Kelly (McCreary) a week ago and she thought the best friendship or companion for Maggie this season so far is Amelia. How do you see their friendship developing as the season progresses?
Caterina Scorsone: I have no idea what Shonda has in mind or what the writing team has in mind, but I think Kelly McCreary is fantastic. Maggie is a great character and Kelly is a great actress. I don’t know I think we have some nice chemistry and we’re both kind of sort of in laws, I’m a Shepherd and she’s sort of a Grey. Logically we have a lot in common, and we’re also both new to the hospital so I think that bonds people when you’re stepping into an unknown situation and everybody else knows each other.
What was your initial reaction to finding out that Maggie was Richard (James Pickens Jr.) and Ellis’s (Kate Burton) daughter?
At the read through was when most of us found out, we didn’t get a memo; I think everybody’s jaw kind of dropped. At the same time I always wondered about that, they had such a long relationship and in Shondaland people are always getting pregnant. (Laughs) I kind of wondered if there was some secret baby somewhere, once the shock wore off I think it seemed right.
Amelia’s had a long journey on PRIVATE PRACTICE and now GREY’S with drugs and relationships. What do you want for her in terms of relationships with colleagues and with herself this season?
I think Amelia has been through so much and has suffered an unspeakable tragedy in her life. At the end of PRIVATE PRACTICE she was in a relationship and was kind of pulling herself back together, putting band-aids on the hurt, and shedding some of the drama that she had been through. That relationship obviously wasn’t a forever relationship, now she’s up in Seattle and I think she’s focusing on being a doctor and saving lives, being the integrity filled sober person she’s become. We’ll see what happens with her in terms of romantic love, but for now I think self-love is the number one priority.
I heard this season they are going to bring up her past troubles with drug abuse. Are they going to mention that soon?
Yes! We’ve already shot an episode where it comes up again. I was extremely excited about that because it is such a big part of her life and who she became and some of the scars she is dealing with. When her and Derek were small they witnessed the murder of their dad and so there is sort of all of this pain and mental health stuff that she has been dealing with. To bring that storyline to the GREY’S audience that didn’t watch PRIVATE PRACTICE I think is great and it will flush out who she is to them and all that she’s been through.
You mentioned Derek, how do you see them getting along for the rest of the season or do you see them butting heads?
They are getting along yes and no. They’re both struggling over who has the authority in the neuro department at the hospital; they’re a bit competitive and have been butting heads there. But there is so much genuine love between them so I think we’re always in Shondaland exploring the highs and lows of relationships and obviously such an intense brother and sister relationship will have both. I think you’ll see both; you’re going to see a lot of intensity between the two of them, as always.
Any chance we’ll see other see some of the other Shepherd’s this season? Is that something you would want to see?
I hope so because I have never gotten to work with Tyne Daly and she is theoretically my mother (Laughs) so I would love for her to make a guest appearance. Now we have Neve Campbell who is a fellow Canadian, she plays one of the Shephard sisters and Nancy Embertz who is a fantastic actress. It would be great if we all got together and maybe found out who that last sister was.
Will Amelia have scenes with Meredith this season or good bonding moments between the two?
I know we have a really nice moment together in episode seven that we just shot. There is some sister in law time coming up.
Do you think Amelia will move out of Meredith and Derek’s in the near future?
I’m not sure I think she’s probably pulled in two directions. She started this new life in Seattle; she probably would love to have her own place, at the same time one of the tensions that’s been going on with Meredith and Derek is the stress of having the kids and who is working and who isn’t. One of the reasons Amelia originally came to Seattle is because Derek was going to be in Washington and she was going to help out with the kids. We shot a scene the other day where a very dramatic scene happened and Amelia took the kids out for pizza. I think she’s really become a part of their extended family in the way people used to have extended family where they used to have brothers and sisters down the street that could take care of the kids; she’s kind of stepped into that role. I think gratefully now that she is no longer engaged anymore, being around the family and helping out with the kids is really important to her.
Which storyline are you most excited to learn more about this season?
I just saw the preview for (tonight’s) episode and it’s a heavy Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) episode. The little clip that I saw was really intense so I’m interested in seeing that, but for me as an actor I get really excited by all of the performances. We have so many really strong and talented actor’s on the show, for me whoever’s storyline is popping is going to be whom I’m interested in.
You’ve already mentioned Callie and Arizona being a focus on tonight’s episode, what else can you tell us?
It’s definitely a thorough exploration of their relationship; it’s for the Callie and Arizona fans. It’s going to be a big deal I think there are going to be a lot of people having a lot of feels about this episode. (Laughs)
You can watch Caterina tonight at 8:00 on GREY’S ANATOMY on ABC.