'Grey's Anatomy': Jesse Williams on Jackson and Jo's Romance and Why He Wants a Japril Reunion (Exclusive)
By Paige Gawley
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Jesse Williams is crossing his fingers for a Japril reunion. ET's Katie Krause spoke to the 39-year-old Grey's Anatomystar, and he revealed that he's hoping for his character, Jackson Avery, to reunite with his ex-wife, April Kepner. Sarah Drew, who played April, left the show in 2018 after nine seasons.
"They are incredible together," Williams told ET of Jackson and April. "I am a fan [of Drew's] and she is absolutely one of the most special people I’ve worked with. We developed those storylines together with our incredible writers, so it’ll always hold a very real place in my heart and memories. We stay in contact. She is the sweetest."
Williams added that he would "love any opportunity for us to continue that story" because Jackson and April "have an ability to communicate and be vulnerable with each other and push each other."
"I think it’s great. I think it’s fun. Camilla’s a lot of fun to work with," Williams said. "There is a lightness, a comedic kind of tightrope that they’re walking because we’re keeping it light, but I feel like this could go badly at any moment."
"People very often declare, 'It’ll just be sex. It’ll just be this. Don’t worry. The rest is covered,' and it’s not," he continued. "... At the time they could sincerely mean it, but we are emotional beings whether we wear it outside or inside, so I think it’s tricky and that makes it fun to play."
The relationship between Jackson and Jo, Williams said, is so effective because "there is something at stake."
"They are both a bit of a mess. They have both had failure [with] their romantic lives and rejection, I think, and insecurity comes with that. That’s real," he said. "Everyone isn’t this gallant, overconfident person no matter what you think about how they look or their success. We’re all insecure, so that’s an interesting thing to play."
While it's all going well now, Williams acknowledged that there's the "total potential" that "one or both [of the characters] could get their heart broken" as a result of the arrangement. Still, though, he thinks the connection is what both Jackson and Jo need right now.
"They are giving each other confidence. Like, 'Look, I like this about you. I am really into this about you and that’s enough,' which is really all a lot of us are asking sometimes... [for someone to say,] 'I like you exactly the way you are and that’s good enough for me,'" he said. "Sometimes that doesn’t necessarily have to be revolutionary in our life, but it just gives us something solid that we can touch and feel and we know it’s there and we can go on about our day."
Elsewhere on Grey's, COVID-19 is still ravaging Grey Sloan, with its leading lady Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) struggling with the virus herself. When the show returns for the second half of season 17 next month, Williams teased that "pure madness" will ensue.
"I’ve got to say we have found a way to have really highly concentrated, dense episodes towards the middle of the season, with a lot of this incredible combination of loss and joy and progress in these characters lives," he said. "When you come back it’s going to be fairly terrifying and exhilarating. There’s a lot of personal journeys and there’s a lot at stake, losing your kind of grip on what’s real and what's stable in life and dealing with the pandemic on the show I think has been really cathartic for viewers to feel."
In addition to Grey's, Williams tapped into that feeling of catharsis through his Old Spice campaign, which shows the actor giving himself a hilarious pep talk after living through the challenging year that was 2020.
"This has been a hard year for everybody. We do find ourselves in a funk and not getting out of our sweat pants, moving around the house and not having structure, and kind of having a hard time getting self-motivated," he said. "[We're] doubting ourselves and needing to kind of rebuild something solid to be able to remember what our dreams are and remember what we want to accomplish and what should we be doing with our time."
"... I thought it was a cool opportunity to demonstrate a pep talk, to do what you need to do to be your best self, do what you need to do to get yourself excited," he added. "... I thought that was a good opportunity to throw that in the mix for folks and also, yes, to be silly and playful and take some shots at myself, so that was important too."