Wilmer Valderrama joins the ranks of “Grey’s Anatomy” guest stars, kicking off his recurring role this week as M.S. patient Kyle Diaz.
The “That ’70s Show” alum will appear in a handful of episodes, and from the moment his character is introduced, he gets his flirt on with the female docs — and he’s especially got his eye on Stephanie (Jerrika Hinton).
Valderrama spoke to Variety about his “Grey’s Anatomy” stint.
The response to your casting news has been overwhelming. Were you expecting the fans to be so excited?
It’s been really awesome. I was really excited that fans and “Grey’s” audience was so excited that I was coming to play with them. I was really honored and excited to be part of the “Grey’s Anatomy” universe.
Were you a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” before joining the show?
I watched the first couple of years and I’ve kinda of gone off the grid a little bit, and I started catching up as much as I could throughout the years and, when this opportunity came, I was super-excited because I love the tone — it’s so smart, but also just really so fun to watch.
How did the gig come about?
I got a message from my agent saying that Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers had created this character that is loosely based on what they thought would be fun for me to play, and they sent me a couple of scenes so I could see what the character would read like… When I found out that they had called my agents to come and play with them for a portion of the season, I ran it by my mom and my sister and my friends, and everyone flipped the f— out. Like, “Are you f—ing serious?! You have to do this, it’s my favorite show.” So it was really beautiful to see that all of my friends were like, “If you don’t do this, I’m going to kill you.”
Demi Lovato guest-starred on “Grey’s Anatomy” a while back. Did she give you any advice?
No advice, but she just said, “If you don’t do it, I’m going to kill you.”
We know you’re playing a patient with M.S. who’s a musician, but what else can you say about your character?
Kyle is this super-talented artist who is pretty popular in the scene and he arrives to the hospital for a check-up to check this thing out, and the doctors come in, and one of the doctors captures his attention — I’m not allowed to say exactly who — and then he does what every passionate Latin man would do, which would be let it be known immediately that he’s interested. It’s something I haven’t really ever played on television before so I had a blast. It was a riot to shoot scenes with the cast because we were just laughing about how suave this guy was trying to be. It will be a very interesting, passionate arc.
How would you describe your story line?
He’s lined up a major multi-city tour and he’s a little hesitant to go under the knife for something like this because he doesn’t want to have to delay or have to sit out one of the biggest opportunities of his career. Eventually, he has to make a hard decision, and the group of doctors, who are incredible, might sway him to the right thing.
You flirt with Stephanie in the previews. What can you tease about that relationship?
If you know anything about Ms. Shonda Rhimes and Betsy, then you will know that there’s some skin to be expected somewhere around this arc. There’s definitely some skin coming up. That’s all I really can tell you. But what I can tell you is that the character is very charming, really fun, he spices things up a little bit in the hospital. He becomes a little bit of a conversation topic in the hallways. He’s got one of those annoying smiles that makes other people smile — he’s got those character traits so you want him to get healthy.
Do you know if you die?
I don’t know that myself because they haven’t written my last episode. Trust me when I tell you that I’ve asked many times, but I’m not sure if he makes it out or not. What I will tell you is that something big is happening. Not sure if it’s a happy ending or not yet, but something big is definitely happening.
Which characters does Kyle interact the most with?
The cast is amazing. I’ve worked with pretty much half of the cast already through the episodes — I feel like they’ve kind of been rotating through my story because I definitely have stuff with at least, like, nine of them, in and out.
What was it like being on that set?
It’s always refreshing when you come to a set and everyone is so talented and everyone has been doing it long enough to just show up and do it great on the first take because I like to prepare a lot for my characters and come in almost off-book. We came in and it was like fireworks from the beginning. Everyone was genuinely happy to be there and you can feel that. There are those days when you’re laying in a bed from the moment you show up in the morning to the moment you wrap, so to some people that may seem like a nightmare, but to me, that was very close to heaven. I’m not going to lie — they have some pretty comfortable beds on “Grey’s Anatomy.”