Seat­tle’s finest TV sur­geon is tak­ing the wheel in a high­oc­tane block­buster, writes Neala John­son

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

McDreamy races into a new role.

Q: What’s a typ­i­cal day in the Pa­trick Dempsey house­hold when you’re out of sea­son on

Grey’s Anatomy?

A: I just got back from Le Mans, try­ing to put our pack­age to­gether for next sea­son to race in the 24-hour [ car race]. And try­ing to keep the kids busy. So long as they’re not fight­ing each other. Q: Is car rac­ing tak­ing over your life? It’s seep­ing into your movies – you play a driver

in Trans­form­ers: Dark Of The Moon.

A: It’s all be­com­ing a won­der­ful merger. It cer­tainly helped on

Trans­form­ers. We ran into each other, [ di­rec­tor/ pro­ducer] Michael Bay and I, at a Fer­rari event. That was two years ago. He said, ‘‘ You should come and talk to me about the movie’’. We hit it off straight away. I met him out of the work en­vi­ron­ment and then I heard sto­ries. Q: Bay does have a rep­u­ta­tion. Me­gan Fox com­pared his di­rect­ing style to Hitler. Did you in­ves­ti­gate be­fore sign­ing on? A: Well, it was af­ter I’d signed on. Shia [ LaBeouf] was like, ‘‘ Just you wait’’. I was like, ‘‘ What do you mean?’’ [ laughs]. It was so omi­nous. But Michael was very clear with me, like, ‘‘ I ex­pect you to be there at 7 o’clock in the morn­ing, you’re not gonna sit in your trailer. I move quickly, you never know what I’m do­ing and I want you to be ready to move’’. I took him se­ri­ously at that. He was al­ways clear on what he wanted and knew how to mo­ti­vate peo­ple. Q: You said yes af­ter read­ing only the first draft of the script. What did you like about it so im­me­di­ately? A: What’s in­ter­est­ing is the jux­ta­po­si­tion be­tween the hu­man­ity and the Au­to­bots and De­cep­ti­cons. If you’re judg­ing by the sec­ond movie, this is much more el­e­vated. It doesn’t have the ado­les­cent men­tal­ity. [ Bay] was very set on dis­pelling that in the sec­ond one. Q: Even af­ter 25 years mak­ing movies and TV, were you sur­prised at the scale of


A: I was blown away by the scale. We re­ally took over Chicago for four or five months. I mean, re­ally

mas­sive. The sheer or­gan­i­sa­tion – they took care of the fans, of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment, the po­lice . . . Q: What’s your im­pres­sion of Shia LaBeouf? He’s a young guy car­ry­ing a big fran­chise.

A: You look at when he started, he was such a young kid and he emerged into a young man through this tril­ogy. He loves acting and he works re­ally hard at a char­ac­ter. He’s very in­tel­li­gent, very ar­tic­u­late. Q: How would you com­pare the way the 25-year-old Pa­trick dealt with fame to the way Shia is? A: He’s do­ing much, much bet­ter than I did. Q: You say you got ‘‘ a nice taste’’ of ac­tion on this film. Is that the ap­peal, to show you’re more than just TV’s Dr McDreamy? A: With­out ques­tion. I couldn’t be more grate­ful for the op­por­tu­ni­ties Grey’s has given me, I wouldn’t have had this op­por­tu­nity, prob­a­bly, with­out it. It’s nice to know that is one side of my na­ture but there are other

sides I’m not yet al­lowed to show and I hope to get to show in the fu­ture. Q: You’ve started pro­duc­ing films in­clud­ing the in­die

Fly­pa­per, which screened at Sun­dance. Is pro­duc­ing a way to cre­ate projects to show these other sides? A: Ab­so­lutely. If you look at the ca­reers that sus­tain them­selves, they’re all about how to re­de­fine your­self. Q: You’re pro­duc­ing an­other movie with a car-rac­ing link – an adap­ta­tion of the best­seller

The Art of Rac­ing in the Rain.

A: Yeah, I re­ally want to make that within the next year. It came to me prior to the book be­ing re­leased, and I was like, ‘‘ Oh this is great, I can do rac­ing and it’s a drama at the same time’’. Then ev­ery time I went to the track ev­ery­body kept com­ing up to me go­ing, ‘‘ Have you heard of this book?’’. [ Laughs]. Q: You’ve also been linked to a Marvel comic book char­ac­ter, Doc­tor Strange. A: I don’t think Marvel are ready for it. But if I was gonna do a

su­per­hero, that’s the guy I would wanna do. And I’ve been lob­by­ing very heav­ily. Q: Is part of Doc­tor Strange’s ap­peal his dig­ni­fied hair? A: [ Laughs] Be­cause I have so much grey hair com­ing in now? Yeah, I base all my char­ac­ters on hair. Q: Is rest­less a good word to de­scribe how you’re feel­ing right now? A: Yes, with­out ques­tion. Q: How do you deal with that rest­less­ness, given you’ll be play­ing the same char­ac­ter, day-in, day-out, when Grey’s picks up again next month?

A: I’m re­ally try­ing to push them to move these char­ac­ters for­ward. I’m go­ing to be much more vo­cal this sea­son than I have been. Whether they lis­ten . . . [ laughs]. I’m not a pro­ducer, so it’s not my call, but I’m gonna let them know what my feel­ings are.

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