It’s not often that you have a huge TV star (with a huge salary to boot) speak candidly about their job, and with that it’s easy to toss a big salute over to Ellen Pompeo for this. Not only was she very open about explaining the success that she has thanks to “Grey’s Anatomy” in this new interview with the New York Post, but she also commented on some of the biggest controversies that have erupted ever since the beginning of the series.
First of all, Ellen gives a pretty clear reason as to why actors should not be afraid to stick around a show for a long time (even a decade); while you may want to do some other things, you can at the same time still be known for one role above all others and be thoroughly happy:
“Actors always think the grass is greener somewhere else — I didn’t want to do that. I have an amazing life. I have a house five minutes from the studio, I have a house in the Hamptons, a house in Malibu, a beautiful daughter whom I see every night, and it’s all because I didn’t leave Grey’s Anatomy.”
In speaking about someone who went another way in Katherine Heigl, Pompeo did not necessarily blame her for wanting to do movies; however, she did say (and rightly so) that if this is what she really wanted to do, there was no sense in her choosing to stay with the series and then changing her mind shortly afterwards:
“You could understand why she wanted to go — when you’re offered $12 million a movie and you’re only 26. But Katie’s problem is that she should not have [extended] her contract. She re-upped, took a big raise and then tried to get off the show. And then her movie career did not take off.”
The irony here is that one of the reasons why Heigl’s career may not have taken off was simply due to the backlash she received over her last several months on the series, which included digs at the writers and an extremely abrupt exit that gave no closure for the Izzie character. (Ironically, Heigl is working on a return to TV now that it’s more popular then film.)
One other interesting tidbit here is that the Derek character was at one point looking to be played by Isaiah Washington, but Pompeo preferred to work with Patrick Dempsey, as the relationship would have otherwise been too “close to home” for her given that she is married to African-American producer Chris Ivery.
So after reading all this, we’re a little more hopeful about Pompeo staying on for a season 11. Shonda Rhimes has already stated that she has no interest in this being the last season of the show, and given that we’re losing Sandra Oh this year, the best case for the show could be to have an epic send-off next season that gives you closure to a few more characters. Just don’t ever expect anything for Izzie: While Heigl has said that she’d return for a few episodes, it doesn’t seem that the interest is mutual.
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