As Chicago Med wraps up its 4th season on NBC, the doctors and nurses at Gaffney Chicago Medical Center are experiencing no shortage of drama while balancing their work and professional lives. With all of the stress that comes along with working in an inner city emergency department, the characters somehow find time to deal with everything from issues within their relationships, drug abuse, and even a drive-by shooting.
The medical drama starring Brian Tee, Colin Donnell, Torrey DeVitto, Nick Gehlfuss, Norma Kuhling, S. Epatha Merkerson, Marlyne Barrett, Oliver Platt, and Yaya DaCosta is the most recent Chicago-based series from Dick Wolf, having joined previous successful shows Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. in November 2015.
Yaya DaCosta plays ED nurse April Sexton on Chicago Med but has enjoyed a successful career both off screen as a model and on screen in shows and films such as All My Children, The Butler, and Whitney. Blackfilm.com was able to chat with her to gain some insight into the remaining Chicago Med episodes and her character on the show.
What can you tease about what you’ve filmed?
Yaya DaCosta: I don’t know that I’m at liberty to say. I feel like the frustration this season that fans have experienced, I’ve also experienced. People are constantly like “Enough!” Like “Tell me what’s happening!” “Why can’t they get back together?” “Why is Vicki here?” And I’m like—I know. I feel the same way. I wait with bated breath every time a new script comes through. Like are they going to be able to be friends? Or are they going to try to reconcile something romantic? That remains to be seen.
In a recent episode, April, actually, is the one who makes the next step. So they’re trying. Last time, we saw Ethan saying “I would love to be friends” and April’s like “you just accused me of killing someone. I’m good.” But some time has passed now, and she feels ready to take him up on that offer. She’s asked him to go hangout with some friends, and something gets in the way of that. Tune in tonight so you can roll your eyes with me.
Do you feel as though your African-Brazilian background helped you prepare for the role at all?
DaCosta: No, April’s pretty Americanized. She’s pretty assimilated. There are certain accents–like whenever they allow her to speak Portuguese on the show, I get excited.
Are you fluent?
DaCosta: Yes. But I think as most people, when we get here, we’re American. At least in my family’s history, that was definitely the intention. Now, it’s a little bit cooler to flaunt your “different-ness” and your culture. I think in generations past, it was definitely like—try to get rid of this accent, assimilate, don’t even teach my kids another language. English only. I actually, when I took the role, did not even know that April had that background. I read it in the script a few episodes in and I was like “Oh! Okay!” It’s fun. It’s fun when we get to bring that up.
Do you think they put it in the script because of you?
DaCosta: That is a question for the show writers. Coincidences happen, they do, but who knows. When I saw it, I was happy.
Will has started to get into trouble, and I’m not sure if we’ve had that before.
DaCosta: Halstead? Yes—he’s a hard head. We’ve always known that. We’ve seen him be a hard head at work. We’ve seen him get in trouble. A lot of times, based on his medical decisions, and now we get to see him be a hard head in his personal life. And really mess things up with Natalie, and it’s really sad because I think everyone loves them together. But it’s hard because we have a little hiatus and then came back after. When we came back, he was at home. So, we don’t know the details of everything he went through. We know it was heavy. We know it was hard. We know he has to go to therapy. We know he has to heal. But we don’t really know that much. And the hard thing is that neither does Natalie. And I think a lot of fans wish that she would be a little more patient. A little bit more understanding of what he’s been through. But he lies! So, too bad! I’m not about that lying life. Anything you did, you can tell me, we’ll figure it out. But if you lie, deuces. And that’s how Natalie is about that gun.
How much of that is actually impacting April because not only did the gun go off, also now it’s work and his personal life blowing up. Is April dealing with any of that or is she trying to stay away because of her own drama?
DaCosta: I mean we’re all affected by each other. We’re working together. I’m assisting him sometimes. I think that even if you’re not sitting down having heart to hearts, you can sense people’s energy. You can sense when they’re off. April’s used to picking up slack for doctors anyway. And she knows when she has to do it a little bit more when they’re off their A-game because something’s going on in their personal lives. So, yeah, I think she’s a little bit affected by it, but not super nosy. You’ll see tonight he’s looking for apartments still because Natalie’s like “You’re gone!”. He can’t find a place, and April’s like “Wow, you’re still looking?” A little picky! So, they joke about it, but she’s not really in his business that much.
What has been the most memorable day filming this season of Chicago Med for you?
DaCosta: A dark memorable day was shooting the miscarriage scene. It was really difficult, but it was so fulfilling. It was like the quietest set ever, which we never have. The crew went dead silent. It felt like everyone was on board, and the fan response after that from women who had had that experience was really heartwarming and supportive.
One day, we shot a film outside on a really warm winter day, and it was on Valentine’s Day. We made a little Valentine’s video for the fans and I remember us being in the sun outside. And you know, when you’re shooting in the winter in Chicago, there are not a lot of sunny days. So, I just remember having a lot of fun and everyone’s personality coming through on the Valentine’s video.
From what you’ve filmed, what are you most excited for fans to see?
DaCosta: April has some big changes coming up. Big ol’ changes.
In her work or personal life?
DaCosta: Personal. Unexpected. It’s really exciting. I can’t tell you what it is, but I just think that the fun part for me is receiving the next scripts and being like [gasp]. Oh my gosh! And I had a couple of those moments in recent weeks based on what we’re filming right now, what we’re filming this week.