After a disagreement on the set of ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ Ellen Pompeo refused to talk to Denzel Washington.
The 51-year-old actress wasn’t convinced he was the right person for the job when he was brought in to direct a season 12 episode of the medical drama called ‘The Sound of Silence,’ in which Ellen’s character, Meredith Grey, had her jaw broken by an epileptic patient, but they eventually clashed when she went off-script.
“He arrived maybe three weeks before so he could catch up since Denzel doesn’t watch much TV, so he’d probably never watched the show,” she said.
“He agreed to do it since his wife is a huge admirer… I believe he thought coming in and directing anything quickly was a good exercise.
“However, picture Denzel Washington directing an episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ That is something I never expected to see in my life.
“There’s a reason why superstars are superstars. They simply exude energy and a vibe that makes them very captivating. Patrick has it, Obama has it, and everyone I’ve ever met with a wildly magnetic personality has it. Denzel certainly has it in spades…
“But, Denzel, aren’t you a movie star?” He has no idea how to direct television.”
Ellen recounted how she deviated from the script, angering Denzel, who thought she had gone too far.
“One of the sequences at the conclusion of the show, I had to go [confront] this guy who beat me up,” she revealed on her ‘Tell Me’ podcast.
“As a result, Meredith was cautious and apprehensive. My jaw was shattered, and I couldn’t bring myself to go hear this character’s apologies… She’d reached the point when she couldn’t take it any longer.
“Because I didn’t want to speak to or meet this actor before we shot this scene, I didn’t have much contact with him.” Then he apologized to me, but it was in a very gentle manner. He made the decision to speak quietly.
“And I was p***** that I had to listen to this apology.” He wasn’t even looking me in the eyes… I screamed at him, saying, “Look at me!” Look at me when you apologize!’ And it wasn’t part of the conversation.”
“Denzel hammed it up on my a**. ‘I’m the director!’ he said. ‘Don’t tell him what he should do!’ ‘Listen, motherf***er, this is my program!’ I said. This is my collection! Who are you kidding? You have no idea where the restroom is!’ I have the highest regard for him as an actor, a director, and a person in general, but we went at it!
“Then his wife came to see him, and I didn’t say anything to him. I was furious with him. And I said to his wife, ‘Yeah, he screamed at me today.’ He gave it to me today, and I’m not happy with him, and I’m not looking at him or talking to him.’
Denzel and Ellen, on the other hand, were “fine after that,” according to Ellen, who maintained there were no bad feelings between them.
“He’s simply one of the greatest to ever do it,” she said.
After Patrick Dempsey’s departure, Ellen confessed that producer Debbie Allen had merely brought in the Hollywood star to keep her “engaged” in the program.
“After you left, I was like, ‘Eh, why do I have to remain here?’” she told her former co-star. Everyone has left. I have to go right now. Sandra’s gone, Patrick’s gone, and now it’s my turn.’