Interviews / TV

Eva Ariel Binder Provides a Ray of Hope in “Dear Edward”

Eva Ariel Binder treasures building each character. “There are so many things I love about acting, but The first thing that comes to mind is how I like to approach a role,” she says. “I love to use myself to create and form a character. I like to put myself into every aspect of the character because I feel I can be more truthful and organic in my performance that way. I am never separate from the person I am playing. I am the character and the character is me. I was always taught ‘to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances’ and that is what I love to do.” She models herself off of only the best in the industry. “Tom Cruise is at the top of my list of inspirations. Not only because he is an incredible actor, but also because he does his own insane stunts. I really want to do my own stunts. Maybe not riding a motorcycle off of a cliff, but all the other stuff is great. I love the fight scenes, working with horses, and jumping and flipping off stuff! I am a dancer too, so I like to be physical.I’m also a huge Nicole Kidman fan!! Every role I see her in is just amazing. She is so real and truthful and so full of emotion without ever pushing. She’s just awesome and super pretty.” 

At the young age of seven, Eva scored her breakout role playing Callie and Arizona’s daughter Sofia on Grey’s Anatomy. “The Grey’s Anatomy fandom is so massive and loyal. When I first joined the show, I had a huge outreach full of love from the Calzona fandom. Calzona means Callie and Arizona, the names of my two moms on the show (played by Sara Ramirez and Jessica Capshaw) put together. I was so confused. I thought they were talking about a calzone, like Italian food. I finally had to ask one of the fans what it meant and they explained it to me,” she laughs. It’s almost impossible to replicate that level of adoration, which still follows her to this day. “The fans still send me messages asking if I would come back to Grey’s and they are always posting requests that Calzona and Sofia come back to Seattle. Even on my Dear Edward posts they’ll comment, ‘Congrats! But will you come back to Greys?’ I think Sofia made a huge impact on the fans because she touched their hearts over her having to deal with the divorce of her parents and a custody battle and trying to understand why they all couldn’t still be together.”

A new phase of Eva’s career is beginning. She stars as Shay in Dear Edward on Apple TV+. “Dear Edward is a story about people coming together to help other people through difficult times. It’s about community, it’s about hope, it’s about healing, and most of all, it’s about love.” Shay and Edward work through the aftermath of the unthinkable together. With the intensity of their connection, deeper feelings start to develop. And Eva considers herself their number one cheerleader! “Shay is confident, tough, and she is extremely blunt. She says it like it is. She will stick up for the underdog because she herself is the underdog, but under her tough exterior, Shay is very vulnerable. That’s something I love about this character because it lets me bring a lot of different layers to her as an actress. Shay has a lot of depth. Not only is she helping navigate through Edward’s healing process, but she’s also navigating through some difficulties at home. Edward and Shay definitely have their own coming of age story in this show and as we all know, a lot comes with that. I like to call us Shayward because we are quite the pair.” Through Shay, Edward rediscovers the joy of childhood that everyone else believes was extinguished in the crash. She represents an optimistic return to his otherwise grim reality. “Shay helps Edward heal from the tragedy. I think she is the one that helps him the most. Edward strives for normalcy in his new life after the crash, and all the adults that surround him treat him like a fragile broken child, constantly walking on eggshells and not knowing what to say or do. They treat him like Edward, the boy who survived the plane crash and lost his family, not just Edward, the 12 year old kid. So when Edward meets Shay and she treats him like a normal kid, he becomes drawn to her and they start to form an incredible bond. Shay needs Edward as well. Shay is the light in his darkness, and the hope in his grief.” 

The show illustrates that healing can be a collective experience and doesn’t have to come from traditional sources. “It is not always the family you’re born with that can help you get through tough times. It can also be your chosen family, your friends, or even a stranger on the street. For instance the grief group coming together in so many beautiful ways to help each other through such a tragic experience is so wonderful. Dear Edward is like a letter to people in grief. It shows people that we don’t have to do it alone. People need people. We were all put here to experience each other in our lifetimes and in this series it shows just that.” Eva gleefully describes learning Shay’s favorite hobby. “I had to learn how to skate for the role of Shay, and not just skate, but do roller derby! Which means pushing and falling and running on skates! I could not skate at all when I booked the show, I was horrible. I needed one of those walkers for the kids at the roller skating rinks so I wouldn’t fall down, but thankfully production got me a roller derby coach. My coach Pita and I skated two or three times a week for about three weeks before I left for New York to film the show. When we got to New York, there was a park across the street from my apartment. which I skated in every day! Even in the 28 degree weather, which my mother loved! She would stand in the cold and wind going, ‘Are you done yet?’, but now I am a really good roller skater! I also did all of my own stunts and I loved it! I want to be like Tom Cruise one day.” Now that she’s conquered roller skating, the world is at her feet. Expect her future roles to contain action, adventure, and excitement. “I’m looking forward to getting to do more Dear Edward and give more life to Shay of course, but I also want to do a Marvel movie, or some kind of action movie where I can do my own stunts. I love post-apocalyptic films.” We trust that we can always rely on Eva in a crisis. Dear Edward is now streaming on Apple TV+.

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Eva Ariel Binder Provides a Ray of Hope in “Dear Edward.” Photo Credit: Ben Cope.