As His Marriage Implodes On The Small Screen, Jason George Weighs In On The Decision To Check Out Of “Grey’s Anatomy” And Into Spinoff “Station 19”

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Jason14Photo Credit: Peter Augustin

After years playing Dr. Ben Warren on “Grey’s Anatomy,Jason George departed Grey Sloan Memorial for unchartered (yet seemingly familiar territory): the Shondaland “Grey’s” spinoff “Station 19.” But as his marriage to Dr. Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) hit the rocks like whoa in last week’s episode when Miranda tells Ben she’s decided they need a separation, we have to wonder: Was leaving GSM the right choice? George weighs in.

Jason12Photo Credit: Peter Augustin

Ben seemingly begins to question whether transitioning from Grey Sloan Memorial to a firehouse was really a good idea. What is he thinking? What do you think about the transition after working on “Grey’s Anatomy” for so long?

Ben doesn’t so much question transitioning to “Station 19” and being a firefighter as he is surprised to find that all his medical knowledge doesn’t make him a natural wunderkind at this job. Firefighters don’t have a sterile environment. They don’t have all the necessary or latest tools. They work in a constantly shifting and changing environment. They are basically trying to save lives with one hand tied behind their back—and that’s just a medical part. The physical piece is something else entirely. Try carrying a 200 pound man when you also need to conserve your air to make your tank last longer because you can’t make headway in the fire that surrounds you.

For me, personally, the transition has been fantastic. I love to be physical and this show has much more action. That said, sometimes I think they’re trying to kill us. We are wearing 40 pounds of gear plus another 15 pounds or so with the oxygen tank, running at full sprints, carrying other gear upstairs, lifting people and dragging them around. It’s a great time but definitely saves me some time in the gym. Fortunately, “Station 19” still works me out as an actor as much as “Grey’s Anatomy” does, giving me great dramatic moments to play and words to say.

Although you’re still occasionally popping into GSM, how does it feel to not be there full-time? Is it weird, or do you feel like you’ve never left at all?

I definitely miss my “Grey’s Anatomy” family even though I still get to see them on the regular. It’s not every day so I’m not completely up on the latest inside jokes. It’s a little weird. It’s kind of like when you leave the home you grow up in. You may still be in the same town but you’re not there every day. You’ve got your own life but it’s a little weird to have them not be such a huge part of your life at the same time.

Has Ben’s job shift tested his and Miranda’s relationship as you expected?

Ben being a firefighter has definitely tested their marriage—even more than I expected when I took the job. I knew the change would push them to the limits but I didn’t expect it to break them. We’ll see if this sabbatical is the final straw but as a fan of the show, I’m not gonna lie it tripped me out a little bit.

Jason15Photo Credit: Peter Augustin

Can you elaborate on what fans can expect to happen with Ben and Miranda’s relationship as the season progresses?

Ben almost quit being a firefighter before he ever even started because Bailey had a heart attack. Now she believes the stress of him being in potential danger every day is literally breaking her heart. But being a firefighter means more to Ben than any other job he’s ever had. I honestly don’t know how they’re going to get past this one but fortunately it’s not my job to write the show. I just have to live in Ben’s skin and embody his truth

What can fans expect in general from season 2 now that the series has received a full season order?

Now that we’ve gotten a full season order for season two, I think fans can expect even more and bigger OMG moments, if that’s possible. I know the writers are making a concerted effort to up the ante. So my suggestions to all the “Station 19” fans is pour the red wine ready and have some tissues ready then get a seatbelt so you can buckle up.

George with former "Grey's Anatomy" co-stars James Pickens Jr, Kelly McCreary, Chandra Wilson, Sarah Drew and Camilla Luddington
George with former “Grey’s Anatomy” co-stars James Pickens Jr, Kelly McCreary, Chandra Wilson, Sarah Drew and Camilla Luddington

Photo Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

What “Grey’s” cameos can we expect (and are you most excited for)?

I’m lobbying to get my friends on the show all the time. I want Ellen Pompeo and Jesse Williams to come through. I want Kelly McCreary and Giacomo Gianniotti to come back. I’d love to see Kevin McKidd and Justin Chambers come and try on the gear and get a workout. And obviously fans can expect to see  on the show because Ben and Bailey have some work to do

Playing a firefighter has to be a physically demanding role. Do you enjoy the more physical demands? How do you stay in shape/prepare for the role?

I’ve always enjoyed being physical and working out but the rebel in me gets annoyed when I’m told it’s a job requirement. That said, this job doesn’t allow you to get out of shape because it’s just too busy, and I love that staying in shape is just a matter of survival. I regularly run 5-10 miles most days I can and hit the gym whenever possible. The thing I realized I’ve not been doing is stretching properly. I used to be ridiculously flexible and I’m not nearly as flexible now. So, if you’re in a hot yoga class someplace, keep an eye out for me, I’m coming.

What’s it really like being part of the Shondaland universe? What’s your personal favorite Shona Rhimes story/experience?

Shondaland is a real place. It’s where unicorns come from. It’s where the rainbow ends and you find the pot of gold. Seriously though, they put true effort into creating equality in Shondaland and to make sure that everybody is heard and every job is valued. It’s a place where priorities are straight and everyone knows that family is more important than any job—that you work to live not live to work
I love seeing more female directors and directors of color, more than I’ve ever worked with before in my life. I love looking around the crew and seeing what America and this world really looks like represented in the people I work with. But maybe my favorite Shondaland moment was when Shonda and I were trading parenting stories, and she told me that the tooth fairy gives her kids a quarter for each tooth. Considering Shonda‘s tooth fairy could back up a money truck for every molar, I appreciated the effort to make sure that everybody stays grounded. That’s a huge piece of what Shonda brings out of the people in Shondaland: be your best, know you’re the best, have no shame in your game, but remember that because you are phenomenal in general and excellent at one thing a particular that doesn’t make you a better person than anybody else.

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