Hilarie Burton on Playing Spoiler to Popular Grey's Anatomy Pair: 'I Walked Into a Bear Trap!'
“You know me. I can’t go anywhere without causing trouble! That’s just how it goes.” In other words, Hilarie Burton is well aware that she’s stirring things up with her Grey’s Anatomy run, which kicked off with a meet-so-cute between cranio-facial whiz Lauren and the very pretty, very married Arizona, and continues Thursday at 9/8c.
TVLine invited Burton – familiar to TV fans from her previous roles on One Tree Hill and White Collar – to tease her Grey’s arc, and good.
TVLINE | So we’ve met Lauren and she’s sweet on Arizona (played by Jessica Capshaw), but Arizona is married. Ready, set, defend your character’s actions.
Arizona a really good-looking woman! She is everything that you’d want in a woman. She has overcome so much, she’s super-smart, she’s super-beautiful…. If there is a wedge in her relationship [with Callie], you better believe Lauren is the kind of person that will hammer it in a bit. You don’t let those opportunities pass you by. That’s how Lauren would defend it; Hilarie Burton is like, “Oh God, I’ve got to break up a marriage?! This feels awful!” [Laughs] I know people are hating my guts, but I hope that I’m portraying Lauren in a way that she’s engaging and fun, and that it makes Arizona’s decision hard. If I came in and played a sleazy character, it would make Arizona look kind of flip, to keep flirting back. But by coming in and trying to be someone who is supportive and in awe of her, and is everything that maybe she’s lacked in her other relationship, I want to be able to justify her character’s decision.
TVLINE | Will asking Arizona out for coffee be the limit of Lauren’s aggressiveness?
Listen, I’m not giving you any spoilers. What I will say is they get along really well. And this week’s episode was a great one to shoot. It’s Jackson, Arizona and Lauren doing surgery on an infant, so there’s that teamwork, that sense of working together. That’s what this story is about – connecting with people and finding success with people. And sharing those kind of warm experiences can be really intoxicating.
TVLINE | Did you have any idea what you were walking into with Grey’s, possibly coming between Arizona and Callie?
I’ll be honest — I had no idea. The casting director, Linda Lowy, put me in my very first movie ever, and she also put [Burton's fiancé] Jeffrey [Dean Morgan] on Grey’s Anatomy. So, this is a group of people that have been a part of our family as long as our family has been… our family. When they called and said, “Hey do you want to do this?,” I had no idea what the character was. And then I get the script and I’m like, “Oh no, I just walked into a bear trap! People are gonna hate my guts!” So I’m trying to do the flirtation justice. On a personal level, I think Jessica is awesome, so it’s very easy to flirt with her.
TVLINE | Speaking of the Linda/Jeffrey connection, some of our readers, when they first heard of your casting or saw you on screen, were like, “Hey, its Denny’s girlfriend!”
[Laughs] When my son was born, the gift basket we got from the Grey’s crowd was crazy. And I’ve known Linda since I was, I dunno, 19? [Jeffrey and I] knew people separately and as a couple, so it’s nice to work in a place where my relationship is respected. My character is doing some morally gray decision-making, but I’m in a safe environment on a personal level, where people are like, “Oh yeah, your boyfriend’s great!” They’ve been really wonderful.
TVLINE | Callie thus far seems equally smitten with Lauren, albeit on a different level. Will she start to get wary?
Callie’s a whole other avenue for Lauren to walk down, isn’t she…? Obviously Lauren has already admitted that she has Googled Arizona, and that probably started from a place of, “Oh, who am I working with? Ohhhh… This person is cute.” I don’t think there’s a person at home watching the show hasn’t Googled somebody they’ve met. So we’ll just see who else turns Lauren’s head, if anybody.
TVLINE | She won’t pull a Nanny Carrie on us, will she?
Go all Single White Female?! Oh my God, we joked about that. We had the read-through for the finale and Jessica and I showed up with the same exact drink from Starbucks, blonde hair flowing, and it was like, “We’re morphing into the same person!” But no, it’s not Single White Female — yet! Muahahaha….
TVLINE | Shonda said there’s a Callie/Arizona scene in the May 16 finale that left everybody stunned in silence at the table read. Does Lauren figure into it?
I’m not telling you! I know you had to ask, and you’re really good at piecing those tidbits together. I like that, Detective Matt!
TVLINE | I know you have a pilot in play over on Fox. Does the Grey’s finale leave Lauren’s future at the hospital up in the air? Or does it point in one direction or the other?
As with any good finale, everybody’s fate is up in the air. That’s what makes a television show really juicy and fun to watch. So again, I can’t tell you!