Ellen Pompeo is spilling some arguably unnecessary tea about her time working with Denzel Washington.
Per EW, in a recent episode of her Tell Me With Ellen Pompeo podcast, featuring her former Grey’s Anatomy co star Patrick Dempsey, Pompeo recalled the time Washington made his TV directorial debut in 2015 with the season 12 episode “The Sound of Silence” and how she and the veteran actor ended up in a heated exchange stemming from creative differences.
More from EW:
Pompeo was shooting a scene for the end of the episode in which her character, Dr. Meredith Grey, is asked to listen to an apology from a man who seriously injured her, leaving her with a broken jaw. (The story was inspired by a real-life incident in which an “epileptic patient goes into a seizure and beat up a nurse,” Pompeo explained.) It being an emotional scene for the actress to shoot, she ended up improvising dialogue in the moment in response to an acting decision the guest star made.
“He made this choice to speak very softly. And [Meredith] was pissed that [she] had to sit there and listen to this apology, and he wasn’t looking at [her] in the eye,” Pompeo recalled, wavering between talking about herself and the guest star as actors and characters. “Again, we love actors who make choices, right? And I yelled at him, and I was like, ‘Look at me when you apologize. Look at me.’ And that wasn’t in the dialogue, and Denzel went ham on my ass.”
She continued: “He was like, ‘I’m the director. Don’t you tell him what to do.’ And I was like, ‘Listen, motherf‑‑‑er, this is my show. This is my set. Who are you telling?’ Like, ‘You barely know where the bathroom is.’ And I have the utmost respect for him as an actor, as a director, as everything, but like, yo, we went at it one day.”
Ummm...weird flex, but OK, Ellen. My mother always told me there should be some things you take to the grave with you, and I don’t know about you but if I knew I popped off at the mouth to THEE Denzel Washington, the only people who would know about it would be me, Denzel and Jesus. I don’t think I would have ever told anyone that for fear of looking like an entitled jerk at my big age but I digress.
Later on in the episode, Pompeo also shared that she and Washington’s wife Pauletta ended up having a conversation later that same day and she told her about their conversation:
“I was like, ‘Yeah, he yelled at me today. Yeah, he let me have it today, and I’m not okay with him, and I’m not looking at him, and I’m not talking to him. So we didn’t get through it without a fight, but you know, that’s actors for you — passionate and fiery — and that’s where you get the magic, and that’s where you get the good stuff. So it was an amazing experience, it really was.”
Wait, wait, wait—you ran your mouth to Denzel and then you went and told HIS WIFE?? Wow. The impudence, the audacity, the unmitigated gall!
Prior to this revelation, Pompeo raved about Washington’s “energy and charisma” earlier in the episode, but let’s be honest: Nobody cares about that now. You showed your entire backside to one of Hollywood’s finest and most beloved—and for what? So you could show the world how much of a badass you are? OK, girl. Somebody please give this woman an Emmy so she can finally have some actual news to report because this definitely was not it.
Naturally, once Black Twitter found out, Pompeo got rightfully dragged by her Seattle Grace scrubs:
“Ellen Pompeo telling us that Denzel story is like when Liam Neeson told us that story about him wanting to kill a random black man. No one asked. But they know nothing will happen to them if they tell the story because of their privilege,” wrote one user.
“Denzel Washington is one of the most beloved actors in America. Did Ellen Pompeo really think oversharing a story where she got way out of line and called him a motherf*cker for no reason was going to go well for her? On what planet?,” another wrote.
“Black Twitter is lit! Ellen Pompeo thought she was going to brag about some disrespectful shit she said to the God of acting, Uncle Denzel...if fuck around and find out was a person!,” wrote another.
My sentiments exactly.