Jesse Williams praised on-screen love Sarah Drew's "sexual empowerment" in their "iconic" sex scene.
He said Drew created a "safe space" for him to act that was "therapeutic and healing."
"We've failed together a lot," Williams said. He loves that Drew got a "happy ending" at Lifetime.
Former "Grey's Anatomy" star Jesse Williams reflected on the unique type of "sexual empowerment" that his former on-screen partner Sarah Drew brought to one of their most "iconic" scenes together in an interview with Insider.
In October, when asked to recall a time that Drew exceeded his expectations on set, one of the examples Williams cited was the bathroom sex scene between his character Jackson Avery and April Kepner (portrayed by Drew) on the season eight episode called "Let the Bad Times Roll."
The doctors were in the middle of taking their medical boards to become attending surgeons and turned to each other for relief between testing sessions, convinced they were failing for different reasons.
"April hadn't ever been in her body, demonstrated that kind of sexuality and confidence, and sultriness before, and probably not often after to my memory," Williams said of Drew's character.
He said that Drew added an unexpected "layer" to April at the time because prior to the scenes at the medical boards, she had been written as a "nerdy, inexperienced young lady."
"So this kind of sexual empowerment was like, 'whoa,' it was a different scene partner," Williams said of Drew at the time, adding that he thinks her performance is one of the reasons why a video of the scene on YouTube has over 36 million views to date.
Williams said he was also in awe of Drew during the season 11 scene where April gives birth to their son Samuel Avery, who would die soon after birth from osteogenesis imperfecta. The on-screen couple, nicknamed "Japril" by the internet, were married at the time.
"Good lord, I mean, it was real," Williams recalled of the scene, noting that he didn't "know the difference" between real childbirth and Drew's acting in the moment.
"I was sitting right next to her all up in her face and I lost track of that I was supposed to be in the scene. I was just watching her, riveted," he added.
Art actually did imitate life for Drew 10 hours after filming the scene. She had suggested the death of Samuel to "Grey's Anatomy" writers while pregnant with her real-life daughter Hannah Lanfer. Hannah was born prematurely 10 hours after she'd filmed Samuel's birth scene.
But even while pregnant and having to tell such a devastating story at work, Williams recalled feeling supported by Drew in those scenes, at a time when he really needed it.
"I was probably not the most emotionally available person in real life in the world," he admitted, adding that he found the experience of doing that work with her to be "really therapeutic and healing."
Williams said that he and Drew created a "safe space" for each other while working together and were "besties" when the camera stopped rolling. He called the news of her departure from "Grey's" in 2018 "an earthquake" for him.
So he said he's proud of his friend's 2022 screenwriting debut, Lifetime's "Reindeer Games Homecoming."
"We've failed together a lot. We had a lot of things fall apart. So to watch her have an idea and to get yes, after yes, after yes, and have to do it herself, it was just a real happy ending," Williams said.
And no, he can't get his mind off of the potential Japril spinoff either. Asked what else he'd like to work with Drew on in the future he said that though he didn't intend to add "fuel to the fire" of that idea, "it would be really interesting to have them have a mature, more upright, professional and personal relationship not as interns, but as people in power."
"I own the whole foundation now, so that's got to be different than sneaking around in a lab coat in the residents' lounge," added Williams, who has already reprised his role as Jackson twice since his 2021 departure from "Grey's Anatomy" as a series regular.
Williams is currently starring in the revival of "Take Me Out" on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.
Read the original article on Insider