The actress doesn't rule out another return to 'Grey's' before the series eventually wraps up.
Sarah Drew said her new Lifetime movie, Stolen by Their Father, took an emotional toll.
Inspired by the memoir from Lizbeth Meredith, Piece of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters, Drew plays Lizbeth, a mother, who after saying goodbye to her daughters for a visit with their father -- her abusive ex-husband -- discovers days later that he has kidnapped the children and taken them to Greece. For the next two years, fueled by memories of her own childhood kidnapping, Lizbeth travels to the White House and Greece, burning through every dime and favor to get her children back. One wrong move and her ex-husband will disappear with her girls. Two wrong moves and he will make good on his promise to kill her.
Drew says it was an emotional roller-coaster playing Lizbeth on the small screen, telling ET's Matt Cohen she imagined being separated from her own children to understand the grief and devastation the real Lizbeth must have felt throughout the years-long process of trying to get her children back.
"Impossible but also easy to access emotion given the traumatic situation," the actress said. "I'm thinking about being separated from my own children. It was a really intense ride but I'm really proud of the end result. I feel like it's such an emotional ride you take on this movie and I think it matters, so I'm proud of it."
"We spent the first half of the movie shooting in Greece and I was lucky and blessed enough to bring my kids out with me, which was an absolutely extraordinary bucket list trip we didn't even know was on our bucket list," Drew shared. "We were eating in outdoor cafes. We had a view of the Acropolis [in the place] we were staying. It was extraordinary. I will say, the first half -- although emotionally tolling -- I could immediately shift gears and be flooded with gratitude seeing my kids at the end of the day. But going to Canada to finish it, being away from my kids, I gotta tell you, by the time we were on the final scene of the final day, I was like, 'Someone put me on a plane! I have to hug my children.'"
Drew commented on the parallels she felt filming the movie to her own life, saying she had "a heightened level of fear" over the course of the film. "Doing all these scenes pulled out of me on a really intense level," she said. "The last day we were shooting in Lizbeth's house, I had nine scenes, short little scenes. In each scene I'm on a different level of trauma or panic, constantly changing clothes. It was really intense but exciting. It's exciting to dig into something like this."
The 41-year-old credited the real Lizbeth's strength and resilience for enduring a lifetime of trauma and coming out a survivor.
"The trauma that they were put through lives with them and breathes with them and the reality of the goodness in this story is that Lizbeth is this incredible, ferocious survivor," Drew praised. "She's been through so much, from before the movie even starts. She was kidnapped by her mother and taken away from her father and she endured abuse at the hands of her ex-husband and found the way to get out of that relationship, which is so hard to do with domestic violence. But she witnessed her children watch her being beaten by her husband on a regular basis so they're already in this space of trying to heal. What's amazing about Lizbeth is that she took all of her experience, funneled and channeled it into serving the community of people that have been victimized by domestic violence."
"That's how she knows how to use therapeutic language. She knows what steps to take because she's been through it herself. So of all the moms that could of been in this situation, Lizbeth is the best one to be able to help her girls recover from the insanity of it," she continued. "But their emotions were pulled in a million different directions with their father lying to them about their mother not loving them, poisoning them against her. There was a lot of reparation that needed to be done."
While Drew didn't have a chance to meet Lizbeth in person or her daughters, she watched several interviews to prepare for the role and did extensive research online. "I look forward to it," she said of an eventual meeting.
Switching gears, Drew spoke about former Grey's Anatomy co-star Jesse Williams' Broadway debut, Take Me Out, which finally comes to the stage this month. Though she's hopeful she'll carve out time in her schedule to make a trip to the Big Apple to see him in action, she shared a sweet story about a recent trip to New York City.
"It's funny. Last week my son had winter break and I took him to New York to visit family and see some shows. And on our way to go get tickets to Aladdin, we passed by Jesse's theater, so I went and snapped a little selfie and texted him!" she revealed. "I'm like, 'Are you in the theater right now?' And he's like, 'Oh my gosh!' I hope I can make it. I hope my schedule allows for me to make it to see him shine."
Drew returned for an episode in season 17 to help send Williams off and she didn't rule out another return down the line when the series -- already renewed for a 19th season -- eventually signs off for good.
"Absolutely," she said when asked about the possibility of a Grey's return, revisiting her Williams reunion. "It was a beautiful experience. It felt so warm, welcoming. It felt like a full-circle moment of closing my story in a way that I didn't honestly know I needed. So Grey's Anatomy will always have my heart. They will always be my family, so I never rule that stuff out."
Stolen by Their Father premieres Saturday, March 5 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.
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