Ellen Pompeo Recalls Heated Exchange W/ Denzel Washington When He Directed ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Episode: He Doesn’t Know S*** About Directing TV
Ellen Pompeo, who is one of the only original cast members still on the show, recalled arguing with the award-winning actor when he directed The Sound of Silence episode back in 2016.
She said Wednesday (Sept. 29) that Denzel Washington serving as the director was an attempt from co-star and executive producer Debbie Allen to get Ellen Pompeo to stay on the series. At the time, Pompeo was considering leaving because so many of the original stars were no longer on the series.
She alleged Denzel Washington arrived on the set “three weeks prior so he could get caught up,” alleging he had “probably never seen the show.”
“He did the show because his wife is a big fan… I think he saw it as a good exercise to just come in and direct something quick. But, imagine Denzel Washington coming on to direct an episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’? That’s something that I never thought that I would see, ever.”
She said he had the typical celebrity “energy and a vibration”, adding:
“He doesn’t know s**t about directing TV.”
Ellen Pompeo said her heated exchange with Denzel Washington started after she went off-script. The episode showed her getting attacked by a patient, and the actor playing the patient wasn’t looking her in the eye as he apologized.
“I yelled at him, I was like, ‘Look at me! When you apologize, look at me!’ And that wasn’t in the dialogue.”
She continued and revealed Washington’s reaction:
“Denzel went ham on my a**. He was like, ‘I’m the director! Don’t you tell him what to do!’
“I was like, ‘Listen, motherf***er, this is my show! This is my set! Who are you telling- You barely even know where the bathroom is!”‘
Despite their moment, she made it clear that she has
“the utmost respect for him as an actor, as a director, as everything, but we went at it!”
By the time Washington’s wife Pauletta Washington came to visit the set, Pompeo said she had refused to speak to the actor, saying she was “not OK with him.”
Still, she said they were “fine after that” before saluting the actor:
“He’s just one of the best to ever do it.”