A little while back (before season 14 even premiered) I decided that I was going to do something that scared me. I also knew I wanted it to be something I could write about, because, well… I write about everything. And there’s not much that scares me more than asking for something.
But I did ask. And I got it.
Two words: Carina DeLuca.
You all know who she is by now, and if you don’t, you’ve got until January 18 to binge watch on Netflix and Hulu to figure it out. And I suggest you do that before you read any further.
Why? Because I got to interview her. You read that right. Stefania was so gracious and kindly accepted my request to do a short interview for the blog. And now it’s time to share it with all of you! I hope you have as much fun reading this as I did working on it! Are you ready to scrub in?
The Lane Online: Let’s talk a little bit about the process of joining ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ Did Shonda approach you or did you go through auditions for the part of Carina?
Stefania Spampinato: I auditioned for the project, and just two days prior to my audition, I was crying in acting class frustrated with my Italian accent, thinking, ‘I’ll never get a juicy, interesting roll with this accent.’ Three days later and I’m at the table read with the whole cast and writers team.
TLO: Were you a fan of Grey’s before you came on as a cast member?
SS: Yes, I was a big fan! My best friend in Italy introduced me to the show. It was so much fun getting to tell her that I had gotten the role!
TLO: What were your feelings coming onto set that first day? Especially since Grey’s is such a wildly popular show, were there any nerves?
SS: I was super nervous and actually quite star struck. But Giacomo, Jessica, Debbie, (who directed the first episode) and Krista put me at ease and made the whole process so pleasant and fun.
TLO: Do you enjoy the little Italian spats you and Giacomo get to play? I know as an audience member, it’s super fun to watch you guys go at it, even if I don’t have a clue what you’re saying!
SS: Assolutamente! It’s so fun to get to speak Italian on set and that doesn’t happen often, so I’m sure the Italian fans of the show really appreciate it! Giacomo and I always speak a mixture of the two languages when we talk off set.
TLO: Carina’s research was dubbed as being “controversial.” What are your thoughts on that?
SS: I don’t think Carina’s research is controversial per se. I think it’s a great addition to the already very forward thinking group of doctors!
TLO: Dr. Bailey and Carina seem to really hit it off in the second half of the season 14 premier, will that relationship between the two women continue to grow?
SS: I’m a huge fan of Chandra and her work, Bailey is such a great character and she’s been very welcoming and intrigued by Carina. I really hope that relationship will keep growing. I also love the relationship between Carina and Webber, I think their dynamic is very funny and endearing at the same time.
TLO: You came onto the show right before the 300th episode. Can you describe the atmosphere on set the day you started filming?
SS: The atmosphere was incredible; they had a big lunch, Shonda gave a beautiful speech acknowledging the work of all the people that have been working on the show since the beginning, as well as everyone else involved with the show. It was so beautiful and touching and made me feel very fortunate to be there.
TLO: And since this is Grey’s we’re talking about, I have to ask you this: if you were a doctor in real life, what would your specialty be?
SS: Probably Carina’s specialty, I love the premise of her study!
TLO: Moving away from the show now, who are some of your inspirations as an actor?
SS: Mamma mia! So many! Meryl Streep is a huge inspiration of course, but I also love Giovanni Ribisi’s work, and I’m a huge fan of Giulietta Masina.
TLO: Was there a moment in your life when you decided acting was the way to go? What was that like?
SS: I watched “A Few Good Men” at 13 years old and that movie touched me so deeply, I thought I wanted to become a lawyer. Later I realized that the movie touched me so deeply because I wanted to become an actress and touch people by telling those kinds of stories.
TLO: And finally, what is one piece of advice you wish someone gave you before you made the move to Los Angeles?
SS: I feel like everyone’s experience of LA is very unique and personal. For me, it was very hard at the beginning; I struggled to find true friends, work, and I missed being able to just go for a walk like I did in Europe. In LA, it seems like you have to drive everywhere! (She’s right… nobody walks anywhere in LA!) In “Big Magic,” Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how people’s career depends on three things: talent, luck, and dedication, two of which aren’t in our power. So the only thing we can do is be fully dedicated to the craft we love, and do it because we love it without expecting anything else, even if that means we never make it. I think it’s a great mindset to live by and I try to remind myself everyday. Expectations almost always lead to disappointment.