GREY'S ANATOMY STAR ELLEN POMPEO IS CONFIDENT THE SHOW CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT DEMPSEY'S MCDREAMY
Can Grey’s Anatomy survive without McDreamy? That is the question fans were asking after Patrick Dempsey, who played Dr Derek Shepherd, left the US medical drama last season.
Star Ellen Pompeo, who has played Dr Meredith Grey for more than a decade, reckons the answer is a resounding “yes”.
Grey’s Anatomy, from creator and writer Shonda Rhimes ( Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder) is set to enter its 12th season with what seems like renewed vigour. Pompeo dismisses talk she will quit any time soon.
What has working on Grey’s Anatomy done for your career?
It has been such a journey, you know. It’s been 12 years. And I think more than the acting experience of it, it’s just been an education. I’ve learned a lot about being an actor and about being a good person and a team player and a good mother. I’ve learned so much about life from this journey.
Can you tell me, on a scale of one to 10, how much you miss Patrick Dempsey on set?
Any time we lose a member of the cast, you feel it. The energy shifts. But in order to create great drama, we need big things to happen. And every time a beloved cast member has left, it gives us new air.
She (Meredith) needs that kind of upheaval. Beautiful flowers grow out of that ash every time. It is a much different experience doing a show for a long time. It’s such a test of stamina and endurance. In order for the show to keep going on and for the stories to keep being fresh and new, we do need change, as painful as it is for the audience.
Are you ready to face any of the new challenges that Meredith is going to face on this season as a single mother, a widow and facing her career with three kids now? What was it like shooting your final scenes with Patrick and saying goodbye to your on-screen partner?
As difficult as those decisions are (to kill off a character), it’s really her (Rhimes) best writing. So, as an actor, those are the best scenes to play. That’s the meatiest stuff.
How do you feel about Meredith facing life as a widow and a single mother with three young children?
I think this is a very important human story to tell. So many people lose their spouses. A lot of people feel like they can’t get up again. And so you tell that story about how life goes on after what you think is impossible (and that) is something so many people can relate to. If we give anybody, even one person, a bit of comfort or open their eyes to a new idea, make them feel some new joy when they thought they couldn’t again, that’s a story worth telling.
A lot of actors complain about working nine or 10 months a year on the same part on the same show. Why is it different for you?
I think it depends on what your priorities are and what you find gruelling. (With) my personality, I find going from job to job, not knowing when the next job is going to come, gruelling. I’m much better suited to having a steady job and knowing that my future is secure and that my children’s future is secure.
THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT HUMAN STORY TO TELL. SO MANY PEOPLE LOSE THEIR SPOUSES.
Grey’s Anatomy, Channel 7, Monday, 10pm
Ellen Pompeo likes the stability of 12 years on Grey’s Anatomy.