It's been two years since Addison Forbes Montgomery arrived in the Emerald City to shake things up at Seattle Grace. First she broke up Meredith and Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd. Then she bedded her intern Alex and her ex-boyfriend Mark "McSteamy" Sloan. Now the sexy doc is taking up residence at the Oceanside Wellness Center in Santa Monica, California. We caught up with Private Practice star Kate Walsh to talk about saying goodbye to Grey's Anatomy, why fame won't change her and how she really relates to Addison right now.
TVGuide.com: What was your first reaction when Shonda approached you about Private Practice?
Kate Walsh: I was shocked and excited and mostly just totally blown away. Then I was nervous, like, "Wait, really? Why me?" But mostly I was just thrilled because it totally felt like the right thing. I was so flattered and honored that they would think of my character to take off for greener pastures.
TVGuide.com: Were your Grey's Anatomy cast mates supportive?
Walsh: They were totally supportive, but we're so tight and bonded that it was a big deal. But it did feel like the right time to go.... It felt like leaving home for college. I miss them, for sure, because you spend so much time working with everyone every day. It's like they're your family, you know?
TVGuide.com: Have they visited you on your new set yet?
Walsh: No. They're busy working! [Long pause] I'm sorry. You have to forgive me. I'm eating my lunch at the same time we're talking. I don't mean to chew in your ear.
TVGuide.com: You must be busy — it's already three o'clock!
TVGuide.com: You were saying?
Walsh: We still see each other at awards shows, and there are a few of us who still see each other socially, which is great. I'm so thrilled for Katie [Heigl]. We just adore each other.
TVGuide.com: In spite of all the drama reported last year?
Walsh: Well, bad stuff is like a car wreck. If there's drama, you hear about it. It's exciting to hear about. Maybe good news isn't so interesting. But that's just the reality of the show. I can say unequivocally we all pretty much adore each other.
TVGuide.com: Did you hook up on Emmy night?
Walsh: Mmmhmm. We all sat together and we were all mutually thrilled for Katie. We hung out at the Governors Ball, then at some parties. I didn't stay out too late that night because I had to work. I'm tired and I have a lot of lines to learn!
TVGuide.com: Do you feel like you've gotten into the groove of the new show yet?
Walsh: Yeah. It's funny that you say that, because I think it takes a few to get it. The scripts have been great since Day 1, and the actors are all so talented. But it's finding that rhythm. You take it for granted being on another show for a few years how it's a well-oiled machine. Just in the last few shows, I felt like I've found the rhythm a little bit. We just saw the first episode and we're really thrilled with that. It's exciting!
TVGuide.com: Was there a specific moment where everything fell into place?
Walsh: There are lots of moments in every episode where I hook in. I think it's also that I'm in a new city; the character is in a new city, in a new environment and all of that plus totally new cast members. So it always takes a beat to go, "Oh!" It was totally disorienting, because I'm playing the same character but in a totally new environment with a new job. I think it's the same way anyone would feel if they moved and started a new job. There's a little bit of time to get cooking. But Audra is so great, and Taye, Amy, obviously... Tim, Paul, Chris, KaDee — everyone! Playing the scenes is the fun part. Then you see it and you're like, "Oh, it's working!"
TVGuide.com: Did you do anything to bond with the new cast yet?
Walsh: We spent a good deal of time with each other when we were shooting the extended episode last spring. But we've gone out subsequently for drinks. I'm sure we'll do something for the premiere, but we see each other so much! It is fun to go out after work or for dinner or something. Actually, for the TV Guide [cover story] interview, we went out and had a nice dinner. That was really fun.
TVGuide.com: How different is it carrying a show versus being a supporting character on Grey's?
Walsh: Obviously, I have a lot more work to do. So that's exciting and also a little daunting. You sort of live with that anxiety of, "I hope people like it! I hope they like me!" Then, going from that, I'm just like, "Well, I'm just going to keep doing my work and trust that I have great writing and a great cast." It's funny, but it feels good — since I'm the only one who came over from Grey's — that I know a little bit about it. I feel so safe and buoyed up by the cast because everyone else has been on other shows before. And, of course, Amy had her own show, Tim had his own show, and Audra is a five-time Tony winner. So I feel completely supported. I'm playing so well with them because they're all so gifted and understanding and experienced. That's been a real source of joy and support.
TVGuide.com: Were you a fan of any of their shows before you worked together?
Walsh: I'd seen Day Break. I saw the first episode and I was always a fan of Taye's. I'd also seen him on Kevin Hill and I loved him. I just love watching Taye. He's so interesting and he's also really funny. You get to see a lot of that in this show, which is fantastic.
TVGuide.com: He said the exact same thing about you!
Walsh: Yeah, well, we make each other laugh. Seriously, he's not just funny, but he has his own style. He's really subtle and smooth and just great. I loved him in Kevin Hill — and of course I watched Judging Amy. Tim and I worked together on Eyes and The Fugitive. Paul Adelstein and I go way back, like 15 years, to Chicago theater. Then Audra, of course, is Audra. Sadly, I have not seen her work on Broadway, but she's so incredible. She just walks in the room and that's it. So it's like working with old friends.
TVGuide.com: What's coming up for Addison?
Walsh: Again, Shonda has a magical way of drawing the audience in and making them laugh. And just when you think it's lighter in tone and it's funny, she'll sucker-punch you with this huge medical drama that kind of breaks your heart. From the first episode I ever saw of Grey's, I literally laughed and cried. It's the same with this show. Shonda deals with stuff in a very realistic and a very surreal way. So you see me moving and being vehement about my choice to leave my posh post at Seattle Grace and strike out in the wild west in L.A. You see the reality of what it's like to pick up and move your whole life when you're 39 years old. And, as much as Addison evolved from the first episode of Grey's to the last, she's still a New Yorker. So you get to see how she mixes in with the touchy-feely L.A. vibe. There's definitely some romance coming up and some flirtations. You see how all of these doctors deal with each other in terms of work and their personal lives, too. There's a similar vibe to Grey's, but this is all grown up.
TVGuide.com: Is Addison going to get any more action this year?
Walsh: Well, I think so. Initially, my action is going to be L.A. Los Angeles is a tricky mistress.... Just like Shonda dealt with the Derek relationship in a real way when fans wanted me to get on the first plane back to New York, she deals with this in a very real way. You could have her hook up with Dr. Pete Wilder after the extended episode and go right into a relationship. But I don't think that would be so interesting or real. So you'll definitely see some romance and some steam and some sex, but it's going to be a buildup, I think.
TVGuide.com: Will any of the Grey's Anatomy characters visit the Oceanside Wellness Center?
Walsh: I don't know. That's a Shonda question. In the first episode, I have a scene with Jim Pickens, but, initially, there aren't any plans to bring people over. I'm sure there will be some people visiting, but right now there are so many rich storylines and characters to establish. I think that's probably going to be the thrust of it. But I can't imagine with all of those stone-cold foxes up in Seattle that they wouldn't pay a little visit.
TVGuide.com: That would be a great November-sweeps episode.
Walsh: I know. You should pitch that!
TVGuide.com: Have any of your former costars volunteered to visit yet?
Walsh: I think they'd all love to come. I would hang out with any of them. I think it would be fun to have Callie [Sara Ramirez] come over.
TVGuide.com: You've had a big year — a wedding, moving to a new house, a new show. How are you blowing off steam?
Walsh: Literally, there's not a lot of time to blow off steam. I go to sleep! [Laughs] Then I'm up and working again. That's one of the things that's different. With Grey's, in the heavy episodes, I'd work four days. On this show, I'm working almost every day, and they're long hours. I love junk food, but it really becomes a chemical equation. You're like, "Hmm, do I want to eat the doughnut?" It's not even about vanity. It's like, "Do I want to be all high on sugar and then crash?" because one doughnut is like a dark rabbit hole down. It's funny. I'm having to eat healthier and drink tons of water. Not to be too cheesy, but it feels very analogous to what my character is going through. [Addison] moved to L.A., with a new job and a new lifestyle. I feel like I have a new job and it's brought about this new lifestyle, too. But it's been so creatively satisfying. I go to bed every night just feeling like a well-fed baby, like I'm so happy and sated. I can't wait for it to premiere!
TVGuide.com: What other similarities do you share with Addison?
Walsh: I think I'm a little more settled in my life than she is at this point in time, which I never thought I'd say. What I love, that you'll see in this show, is there's still an edge to her. I feel like I have that, too. I like to see characters with an edge. I like to see all of the tender, vulnerable filthiness, too, but it's nice to have that. I identify with that as a woman who's got a career, who's working hard, who's passionate about what she does. I definitely think I share vulnerability and insecurity with Addison. The more success you have, the more exposure you have to deal with. For me, I'm a very open person. But it's different to have your life under a microscope. You're like, "God, should I have not said that?" But that's who I am. I value my privacy, but when I talk to people, I'm pretty open. I can't change that.
TVGuide.com: Would you want to if you could?
Walsh: You can't. That's the good thing. I'm the person who's more likely than not to be wearing a beautiful gown to an awards show and have a tiny piece of toilet paper stuck to it. I can't fight that! [Laughs]
Take a sneak peek at Private Practice with our Online Video Guide.
For even more Private Practice preview, check out this video interview with series creator Shonda Rhimes.
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