Thursday’s (Jan. 13) episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” wouldn’t be the first time Wilson Cruz has appeared in an ABC series. After all, he starred in the now iconic “My So-Called Life,” which premiered on the network in 1994. And he guest starred on the network’s short-lived dark comedy, “Pushing Daisies,” in 2009. But the seasoned actor, who says he still gets nervous before doing any role, is especially anxious about this homecoming.
“I thought it was so perfectly written and I wanted to do it justice,” Cruz tells Zap2it. “I’m eager to see if I did. I’m going to have to take a xanax or something while I watch.”
The show’s executive producer, Shonda Rhimes, had told Cruz on a couple occasions that she wanted to work with him, but things started picking up momentum when they ran into each other at a party.
“Shonda was a big fan of ‘My-So-Called-Life’ and my work afterwards, which is very flattering,” he says. “And then we were at Sara Ramirez’s most recent birthday and she said to me, ‘We’re going to work together someday.'”
Fortunately for us, Cruz has been friends with Sara Ramirez, who plays Dr. Callie Torres on the show, for more than a decade. “I love her so much, I can’t express it in words,” he tells us. “First time I saw her was on stage in “Capeman” on Broadway. And I was so blown away by her voice and presence that I just wanted to know her.”
So even though Cruz had relocated to New York City from Los Angeles just three weeks prior to his manager’s call that “Grey’s” had a part for him and that he had just a few days to get back to L.A. for shooting, there was no way he was going to pass this up.
“I didn’t even know what the part was,” he says. “I didn’t care. I just knew that I loved Shonda and I’ve watched every single episode of the show. So, I was going to do it no matter what. Even if I was supposed to be a corpse, I was going to do it.”
Cruz doesn’t play dead (as far as we know), but very much the opposite. He plays a typically optimistic guy whose good nature will be tested when his partner gets injured on the day they were celebrating their domestic partnership.
“He’s the kind of person that tries to make the best of every situation and tries to mine as much happiness out of any situation he finds himself in,” he explains. “His goal was to make that day the most special day of their lives. And if it meant wearing a kilt, because his partner is Scottish, and hiring bagpipes and a horse-drawn carriage, then that was his way of making the day as special as possible.”
In the state of Washington, where the show is set, marriage isn’t an option for gay couples and that presents its own set of challenges for Cruz’s character, who spends most of his scenes with Callie.
“It was great to work with Sara and feel supported and like in any good scene, it was like a tennis match,” he says. “We were just hitting the ball back and forth. She’s brilliant and I really can’t say enough about her. She’s fantastic. And I just feel like as a gay Latino man, to see her play this lesbian Latina woman on a major network television show and do it with such grace, I couldn’t be more proud to know her.”
So, what are the chances that his character will return? “In a wonderful, beautiful world, it could happen,” he says. “I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I don’t think it’ll be the last time I’m going to work with Shonda or Sara. So, we will see.”
Watch a preview below:
Note: This video will expire on Jan. 14.
“Grey’s Anatomy” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.