New Grey’s Anatomy Intern Harry Shum Jr. Shares What Makes The Fanbase So Unique

Harry Shum Jr. on Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: ABC)

Longtime Grey’s Anatomy fans have witnessed somewhat of a reboot in the series since Season 19 premiered, introducing five new interns to carry on much of the drama amid series star Ellen Pompeo’s exit. It’s an unusual situation, where actors like Kate Walsh are returning to the show as “the elder statesman,” while those like Harry Shum Jr. are new faces on a two-decades-old drama. The actor spoke with CinemaBlend recently about what it’s been like to join the series and what makes his experiences with the fans so unique.

We met Harry Shum Jr.’s character, Benson Kwan — aka “Blue” — on the Grey’s Anatomy’s Season 19 premiere as part of the incoming class of first-year residents, who also included Simone Griffith (played by Alexis Floyd), Lucas Adams (Niko Terho), Jules Millin (Adelaide Kane) and Mika Yasuda (Midori Francis). In a conversation with CinemaBlend's Adam Holmes about Legion of Super-Heroes — the latest direct-to-video animated DC movie, in which Shum voices Brainiac 5 — he opened up about how coming onto a series like Grey's with a well-established fanbase was different from some of his past acting experiences. In his words: 

It’s really neat because you get on a project, and a lot of times actors are in their own bubble, whether just because you’re shooting all the time or you don’t go out into a space where a lot of people get to show their excitement for a project you are working on, that you have worked on. But this one in particular, it’s been really cool because in different circles even within the film industry or outside of the film industry, I bump into a lot of people who just really are [liking where the story is going with] the new interns, who I love, by the way. They’re just such excellent, talented people. And I’m not just saying that, it’s really, really wonderful to be in this new class with them.

Harry Shum Jr.’s past work includes the highly acclaimed Everything Everywhere All at Once, Glee, Shadowhunters, and a cameo in Crazy Rich Asians’ end-credit scene (that is planned to lead to his own spinoff). But unlike some of his other projects, where he may not be around people who are tuned into his current work, Shum said the popularity of Grey’s Anatomy has resulted in fan interactions both within the Hollywood circles and outside of it. 

It sounds like the actor and his fellow Grey Sloan interns can feel the excitement of being part of something that simultaneously has longevity and is starting fresh and paving new roads. He also never has to wonder whether or not people are watching. Harry Shum Jr. continued: 

Because I think you can just feel this new energy of being part of something that has lasted for so long, longer than any other show [laughs], especially in the live drama space, but also feels so fresh and new, and feel like there’s so much more to learn and so much more to explore. It’s been cool to hear people… as an actor, you sometimes wonder if anyone’s been watching your show, so the fact that people are, it’s always a neat feeling and something that will never get old.

On one hand it seems like a lot of pressure might be put on the new cast members to drive the stories, as Meredith Grey packs up and moves to Boston, but it sounds like Harry Shum Jr. has gotten some positive feedback from longtime fans who are excited with Grey’s Anatomy’s shifted focus.

You’ll be able to see Harry Shum Jr. as Blue Kwan when Season 19 resumes at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, February 23, on ABC. In the meantime, you can catch up on the current season’s first half with a Hulu subscription, or relive the first 18 seasons, which are available for streaming with a Netflix subscription

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.