Ellen Pompeo is convinced women are naturally suited to directing because they’re so good at multitasking.
The actress, who has played Dr. Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy for 13 seasons, made her directorial debut on the series this week, and she admitted she was surprised to discover the poor track record of hiring female directors in Hollywood – considering a woman’s natural capabilities to juggle tasks.
In an interview with Variety Ellen praised Shonda Rimes, who is responsible for creating hit show Scandal as well as Grey’s, for her “leadership skills” and for allowing her to learn from the sidelines about directing, producing, and storytelling.
“Shonda Rhimes is definitely walking the walk. I can’t really say enough about her leadership skills and the way she’s running the company and how far she’s come,” the 47-year-old tells Variety. “Her evolution as a leader has been very inspiring to watch.”
Showrunner Shonda was unproven when her first show launched back in 2005, but she has since added Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, which she executive produces, to her roster. And Ellen praised Shonda for nurturing female directing talent, as well as creating an environment for people to learn and create in-house.
“I doubt there’s another show that hires as many women as we do – which is so weird to me because women are such amazing multi-taskers. Directing is multi-tasking. It’s baffling to me!,” she exclaimed as she went on to criticize the political realm for its lack of diversity.
“It’s also baffling to me that there aren’t more women in politics because running the country is multi-tasking, and women are notoriously better at that than men,” she blasted. “It’s so curious to me how we end up in these dynamics. Clearly, our president cannot tweet and do anything at the same time. (Hillary Clinton) can manage her emotion and tweet, all at the same time.”
Ellen admitted she herself didn’t have any ambitions to direct, because she already worked long hours and with three children at home, she didn’t want to work any longer. But she was encouraged by Shonda, and director Debbie Allen, who is in charge of hiring all the shows’ directors.
“Debbie Allen doesn’t take no for an answer! I thought about it and everything she said was true – I do know more about the show than more of the directors that come in, so if they can do it, I certainly could.”