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INTERVIEW: Caterina Scorsone crosses over from PRIVATE PRACTICE to GREYS

by Jim on October 7, 2010 · 2 comments

Caterina Scorsone stars as Amelia Shepherd on both PP and GREYS

@CaterinaTweets @ABCGreysAnatomy  It’s time for another cross-over between Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice with new PP’s Amelia Shepherd (played by new series regular Caterina Scorsone) visiting her brother, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). The Shepherd siblings have some bad blood between them but Derek’s near-death shooting at the end of last season has Amelia wanting to reach out to her brother so she ventures from Los Angeles (where PP is set) up North to Seattle.

While you’ll have to tune in to Grey’s tonight at 9/8c on ABC to find out how the family reunion goes (c’mon! This is Grey’s! There’s bound to be some drama!), I had the chance to talk to the cherry, energetic and personable Scorsone about coming into the Grey’s/PP fold at the end of last season as well as what she’s watching on TV (and I tell her that she needs to add to her DVD collection!).

Jim Halterman: You’ve said you were a fan of both shows before you were cast so is it safe to assume it’s a little surreal to now be a part of them?

Caterina Scorsone: I thought it was going to be more weird. I just finished shooting Grey’s and you just feel like you already have a relationship with all these people…which, of course, you don’t. [laughs] And I know this being an actress but it was very comfortable and was very easy to suspend my disbelief as far as the Derek Shepherd relationship went because I was so familiar with the character. You can imagine this history that has gone back for years and years.

On tonight's GREYS episode, Amelia (Scorsone) makes a visit at Seattle Grace. (with Patrick Dempsey & Ellen Pompeo)

JH: How did the role of Amelia come about for you?

CS: It was a regular process. There was a director shooting the episode where Amelia was introduced and I had shot a movie with him about 10 years ago and so he kind of told Shonda about me, had me come in and meet with her and that went very well. So I started doing Private Practice – I did five episodes last season – and I knew if we came back I would be coming on as a series regular and there would be a possibility of crossing over with Grey’s.

JH: What can you tell me is coming up for Amelia. And don’t leave out any romance stories coming up!

CS: There’s a lot going on with Amelia. She’s a bit of a wild card in terms of the dynamic in the cast. She’s described as the black sheep of the Shepherd family but she’s a very dynamic rainbow of dark and light elements. In terms of her romantic situation so far, we’re shooting episodes 5 and 6 right now but in the beginning of this season she’s really very concerned about her relationship with Derek. It’s been established that their relationship is very strained. She used to have trouble with drugs and that caused a lot of tension in their relationship. After the big shooting last year [on Grey’s], we started out this season on Private Practice with her in this tizzy about the fact that Derek has been shot, he hasn’t called her, he’s not returning her calls and Addison is trying to get her to go and resolve that relationship. So for the beginning of this season, romance is on the back-burner but they’ve been planting seeds so I don’t know where they’re going to go with her but it could go in any direction at this point.

Scorsone also starred as iconic literature character Alice in SyFy's movie, ALICE.

JH: I know from fans on Twitter that they are rabid fans of Grey’s and Private Practice. What do you hear about them?

CS: I was really hesitant to join Twitter but everybody on the show does it – Kate does it, Amy Brenneman, Tim Daly – so I really kind of slowly started testing the waters and now I’m kind of doing it. It’s not so bad! Before I started, I was terrified that with that much direct contact you’d have crazy people and mean people and it would be an onslaught of weirdness but the truth is that anyone who is looking for you on Twitter probably digs what you’re doing. The majority of what I’ve received has been very positive and everyone has been very sweet. It’s just a great way to promote the show, reach out a little bit and connect with fans instead of dealing with mail. It hasn’t been bad. Do you do it?

JH: I do! And you know where they have these suggestions on your home page, your name came up this morning so I started following you. How ironic is that?

CS: That’s so wild!

JH: I think it was because I already follow Kate, Amy and Tim so they pull from who they follow, I guess.

CS: I will try to amuse you daily! [laughs] And you get to promote other things that you’re into on there, too. I’m a big music fan so if there’s a band that you really like you can give everyone a heads up. You have this instant mouthpiece where in the past you’d have to use a publicist to get a message out. Twitter is a venue where you can immediately communicate with everyone. I suppose it can also get you in a lot of trouble depending on what you are writing.

Scorsone shares a GREYS scene with Eric Dane on tonight's episode

JH: So, here’s a question for you. When you play scenes with Patrick Dempsey, do you want to just run your hands through his hair?

CS: Well, except that he plays my brother so that would be totally weird…

JH: …but as an actor, I mean. He has great hair!

CS: It is a funny thing because initially it is like ‘I get to work with McDreamy!’ but the truth is that once they cast me in this role…we look remarkably similar so once you register that it suddenly is ‘Oh my Gosh! He does really look like my brother!’ so any lustful inclinations is immediately short-circuited by the fact that we really look like we could be related. We’ve had this weird dynamic of kind of looking at each other sideways and thinking ‘He looks like me as a boy!’

JH: You’ve worked with some really heavy hitters like Mel Gibson, Ed Harris, Dennis Hopper. Do you take something from working with each of these talents?

CS: I would say that the actors that I’ve worked with have kind of been my theater school. I went to school but studied unrelated subjects like literature and post-modern theory. I didn’t do a formal acting program but I had started as a young person acting professionally. And it’s not just the icons that you work with. Every actor that you work with can teach you something but, yeah, I’ve been very lucky and each time you kind of walk away understanding a little more about – not to sound pretentious – the craft of acting. You also find out a lot about how to carry yourself as a professional in the film industry and as a human being. So many of these people like the ones you talked about, we want to watch them because they’re such fascinating human beings and they bring that to the screen in their characters. They bring this complexity and vulnerability to the screen and it’s fascinating!

Amelia Shepherd is a 'wild card' according to Caterina Scorsone

JH: Besides Grey’s and Private Practice, what do you watch regularly?

CS: I’m a huge fan of Mad Men for all different reasons. I love the costumes, the whole period and the social aspect of watching that show. I love 30 Rock, which is pretty much the funniest thing on television. Tina Fey is a hero of mine. I don’t have cable right now so I tend to rent them. I get a boxed set and sit down with a lot of snacks and watch a whole season.  What do you recommend?

JH: I’d say to watch Breaking Bad from the beginning. Get that one next! It’s amazing! Or, for something more fun, watch The Vampire Diaries.

CS: Ah, you’d say watch Vampire Diaries more than True Blood?

JH: I would say that and I got a lot of not-so-happy comments on my website when I said that! Vampire Diaries just really moves fast and the stories are great.

CS:  Okay. I’ll remember that.

JH: Thanks for your time today. I can’t wait to see your episode on Grey’s.

CS: I hope you enjoy it! She definitely brings her own flavor! And let me know how I’m doing on Twitter. I’m still very new to it.

Caterina Scorsone appears on Grey’s Anatomy tonight at 9/8c on and then Private Practice airs immediately after at 10/9c all on ABC. For you Twitter users, you can follow Caterina @CaterinaTweets.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Carly October 7, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Glad people have been nice on Twitter. I’m sure that will change once she appears on Grey’s. The MD crazy fans will go on attack.

Suzette October 16, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Okay, so I just looked it up and it seems that the director who brought her in to meet Shonda Rhimes was Eric Stoltz! Who just directed my other favorite show, GLEE. I wonder why Catarina didn’t just tell us that??!

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