Hollywood.com got scrubbed-up for a chat with Ellen Pompeo, the freckle faced beauty who plays the lovelorn intern Meredith Grey to perfection on the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, and she gave us a full diagnosis, including her own doctor’s orders for Meredith’s love life.
Hollywood.com: You’ve gone on record as believing that your character Meredith is a very different person from you, and that you’re rarely in synch with the personal decisions she makes.
Ellen Pompeo: It's so vastly different from the way that I think. I try to stay in the moment and focus on what's right in front of me, which is the most important thing for me. So for someone to be so different–her process is fascinating to me and I'm very grateful for it. I love the fact that Meredith is flawed, and I think that as an actor the greatest challenge that you can have is to be challenged every day. So the fact that [series creator Shondra Rhimes] might write things that I wouldn't ever necessarily do as a person, how to play that is so challenging to me, and that keeps me growing as an actor and keeps me on my toes. I welcome all the crazy things that Meredith does because I just have to learn how to tackle them and how to play them and how to make them believable and I think that ultimately that will make me a better actor.
HW: What's the most frustrating thing that Meredith has done, from your point of view?
EP: You've yet to see it, but you will see it soon.
HW: What sort of feedback do you get from people in the medical field who watch?
EP: I think that for the most part they love the show. Everyone has had such a positive response to the show.
HW: Have you spoken with any other young female doctors or young medical students who've told you that they can relate?
EP: I work so much and so I don't really get that much of a chance to go out and speak to other interns! [Laughs] I'm always just working.
HW: With all the medical terminology being talked on the show do you start to diagnose your friends? Do you feel like you know a little bit about that stuff?
EP: Sort of, yeah. I do, yeah. I'm wrong all the time.
HW: Did you ever have an interest in the medical field?
EP: No. Never. I probably wanted to be an archeologist more than anything. I think that would be exciting: to dig and dig and dig and then find something. It's kind of like acting. You audition and audition and audition and hopefully you find something, uncover something great.
HW: Did you watch many of the other medical dramas that preceded Grey’s Anatomy?
EP: You know what? Only in preparation for the show. I'm not a huge TV person.
HW: So you enjoy ditching the scrubs and getting all dolled up when the cameras aren't rolling for an awards show or something like that?
EP: I'm sorry–when aren't the cameras rolling? [Laughs] Even when I'm not working the cameras are still rolling at the Golden Globes or whenever they are. I love clothes and I love fashion. It's kind of like my fun little hobby.
HW: Are designers dying to get their clothes on you at this point?
EP: I have a stylist who helps me because I don't have the time to look for things, and so I have a wonderful friend named Jessica Paster who brings me clothes. I shot 80 hours this week and so I wouldn't have had time to gather an outfit for today. So she's nice enough to bring something over to me and help me. We're very lucky. Actors have a lot of very, very nice little perks that go along with the job.
HW: What's been the most unexpected side benefit of the show that you didn't expect?
EP: I guess just how challenged I am every day. I think that maybe perhaps I had a little trepidation about television–would I be challenged enough and how do I keep playing the same character for so long and keep it fresh? And I think that I'm surprised at how challenged that I still am and how much I still learn. That's maybe been the best thing.
HW: Are you looking for films during the show’s upcoming hiatus?
EP: I'm not looking right now. I'm just working, and if someone offers me something I'll consider it.
HW: If you were giving advice to Meredith, would you tell her to move on from McDreamy?
EP: If Ellen was giving advice? Yes, absolutely. There are plenty of other fish in the sea.