Luddington scrubs up well for
She has played everyone from Catherine Middleton to Lara Croft, but British actress Camilla Luddington is best known for her role as Jo Wilson in United States medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. She talks to James Croot about being a part of the long-running s
y dad finally got the doctor he wanted,’’ beams Camilla Luddington. The 31-year-old, Berkshire-born actress is waxing lyrical about her role as Jo Wilson on the long-running United States medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.
Dressed in a stunning, shimmering, green and black dress, she looks far more glamorous in person than in medical scrubs as the Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital surgical resident Luddington has essayed for the past two seasons.
Despite that, she admits there’s a lot of her in the character of Wilson. ‘‘I think that’s because we’re a 24-episode show, so we spend nine months with these characters. They become part of us – the lines become very blurred.’’
Fortunately that hasn’t extended to her family back in England asking her for medical advice. ‘‘Funnily enough my father actually tries to give me acting advice. He thinks he’s a bit of a Daniel Day Lewis, although he’s never acted in his life.’’
So how do Grey’s actors like Luddington, who has also had small roles on other hit shows like True Blood and Californication, learn that tricky medical terminology and look so convincing in the surgical scenes?
‘‘It’s actually very difficult to pick up the medical side of things. We’re given a cheat-sheet every day that tells us what the words mean and we have a surgeon on set who shows us how to execute all our surgeries, but it’s still very difficult – it’s like learning a second language.’’
Luckily, Luddington says, she hasn’t had the added trauma of having to adjust to different work practices in America. ‘‘The process is actually very similar when it comes to working on a television show in Britain or the US. Really the only difference with working in the States is the traffic is worse.’’
However, working on Grey’s has brought her into contact with a unique American phenomenon – Shondaland (the name given to shows like Grey’s, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder – all produced by Shonda Rhimes) and its fanatical fans.
‘‘I’ve never experienced anything like this before. Things like the interaction over Twitter – it just makes your job more exciting because you’re getting a reaction to an episode the next day.
‘‘The fans are so invested. I even have this very young generation of fans that are catching up with the show now. I get approached by 18-year-old girls who were 7 when the show started.’’
No doubt those fans are eagerly awaiting what’s in store for Wilson and the other Grey’s characters this season so, before Luddington and the catering are whisked away from the party we’re both attending, I have to ask what viewers can expect from the current season.
‘‘You’ll see a lot of Meredith Grey [Ellen Pompeo] using Alex Karev [Justin Chambers] a lot, which creates a lot of drama in the relationship between all three characters. Suddenly Jo has to deal with all these feelings of jealousy,’’ Luddington says with a wry smile.
Popular figure: Camilla Luddington plays Jo Wilson in Grey’s Anatomy.