October 23, 2013 4:37pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Grey's Anatomy's' Tessa Ferrer: Leah is 'Really Smitten' With Arizona
Look out, Callie, Arizona has a new suitor on ABC's Grey's Anatomy.
The fan-favorite married couple struggled in the wake of a fatal plane crash that left Arizona without her leg, with the effects of PTSD rearing its ugly head when Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) cheated on Callie (Sara Ramirez), creating a wedge between the duo that has only escalated this season.
Following the hospital's fundraiser in which Callie lied about her wife's passing to raise money to rebuild Grey Sloan Memorial, Arizona got drunk with April (Sarah Drew) and wound up leaning on intern Leah (Tessa Ferrer) -- and launching what could be a new pairing on the Shonda Rhimes medical drama.
Last week, Leah set the record straight with Arizona -- that the duo didn't hook up, but instead bonded over grilled cheese and a dance party as the intern latched on to the well-liked doc. However, it was the compliment that Arizona paid to Leah that may open the door for one of the two wanting more.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Ferrer to discuss the potential new pairing, instant backlash from fans and why Arizona is fair game.
What was your reaction when you read that Leah may be a love interest for Arizona?
I was really excited for a number of reasons because Leah loves to fall in love, so I knew it would be juicy because that's who her character has been established as: She's an easy faller. And I love Jessica. The fans love "Calzona" so much that I was excited to stir it up. (Laughs.)
Have you seen the backlash yet? How do you feel about coming between this couple? Obviously, Lauren (Hilarie Burton) was the one who really prompted Callie's and Arizona's split.
I'm not on Twitter but I've heard there's plenty of the backlash -- and things have only been insinuated! At this point, I feel like Leah hasn't crossed the line, she's just flirting at the bar with the woman who just got kicked out of her apartment. We'll have to see where it all goes, but I don't think Leah feels too bad -- and Tessa doesn't feel too bad! Interestingly enough, Hilarie Burton didn't get too much flack -- the fans liked her character, they just didn't like that she was splitting up Callie and Arizona. I don't think Leah is at fault here; they're not together, so flirt away, I say!
We know Leah hooked up with Alex (Justin Chambers) in the past. Does she consider herself gay or bisexual?
I don't think she labels herself. Arizona is her first female partner. Leah likes attention and she'll take it where she can get it. She's really smitten with Arizona because Arizona is paying attention back to her.
Does Leah want the romantic relationship with Arizona or is it just about someone -- anyone -- paying attention to her?
I think Leah is open to anything that comes her way, so yes, she's open to a romantic relationship but we'll have to see if Arizona is with Leah.
Arizona has been moved out of her apartment with Callie and Leah opened her home to her. Is this something Arizona is going to entertain?
I don't know if Arizona would entertain the idea; she was flattered that Leah stepped up, but where Leah was coming from in that episode was that they had such a great time and Leah has had a hard time making friends and fitting in within the hospital so far. So the fact that they had that night of bonding, that's where Leah was coming from.
Leah seemed to enjoy Arizona's compliment that she was pretty after she set the record straight about their grilled cheese dance party. How will that influence how she acts around her?
As we saw with how Leah behaved when Alex paid her a bit of attention, she lays it on thick and she falls hard fast. It will be exciting to see how that plays out and what she says and what she doesn't tell her fellow interns. We'll see if she can keep her crush a secret or not. This is a really vulnerable time for Leah and hopefully Arizona will be able to take care of her in the process. And hopefully Leah will be able to step up to the plate and take care of herself and say what she needs.
How will Arizona respond to all this attention from Leah?
I don't know how Arizona is going to respond because she knows it seems like it's over, but I don't think Arizona is super clear on her feelings about the end of Callie and Arizona. Arizona feels like she needs more from the relationship if it were to ever work out but Arizona is in a place where she might be ready to move on -- and Leah is very, very open, but I don't know how Arizona is going to respond.
Will this new evolution in their personal lives impact Leah around Arizona professionally?
I hope so, for Leah's sake! I think Leah is going to try her best to keep it professional.
Stephanie has Jackson and Jo is with Alex; could we see Leah use this opportunity to gloat among the interns that she has someone -- even though it may only be one-sided?
Yes! I hope that this reveals more about Leah's character for sure.
Does Leah fear Callie finding out?
At this point, they're just flirting so I don't think that Leah is thinking too much about Callie. From Leah's point of view, she just heard Callie kick Arizona out -- so all's fair!
Leah's mother dated Mark (Eric Dane). How much more will we learn of her past?
Not that I know of, but I hope so. I hope we explore Leah's mother and her past. I have many theories bouncing around but it'd all be hearsay.
What do you think of Leah's flirtation with Arizona? Hit the comments below with your thoughts. Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.