Skip to main content

New Book Explores Origins of Grey's Anatomy

Ellen Pompeo, Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy is coming to life. Entertainment Weekly editor-at-large Lynette Rice has penned How to Save a Life, which chronicles the behind-the-scenes stories of the hit show. EW featured an excerpt from the book that shed light on the Grey's pilot.

Ellen Pompeo initially wasn't into the idea of starring in a medical drama, but she quickly changed her tune. She explained:

I said, 'I hate medical shows! They make me think I'm gonna die all the time.' And they said, 'Please just go meet Shonda [Rhimes, creator].' So we had lunch at Barney Greengrass in Beverly Hills, and after I met her it was like, 'I want to do this show.' I just liked her. We were the same age. This may sound weird, but she's a Black woman, and I always really feel comfortable around Black people. I married a Black man! And I trusted her. She had a vision for the show.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Isaiah Washington also revealed he originally tried out for the role of "McDreamy," which ultimately went to Patrick Dempsey. He said:

I didn't audition for Burke, I auditioned for McDreamy. I had a beard and Afro and was going for a Ben Carson character at the time. Shonda and I thought it was a great idea to represent a brain surgeon who looked like Dr. Ben Carson. That didn't go that way. There's a rumor out there or something that Ellen didn't want me to be her love interest because she had a Black boyfriend. The context is that she's not into white men. I guess she implied that her boyfriend may have had a problem with her doing love scenes with me, so she felt uncomfortable. I supported her with that.

EP Peter Horton noted that there were some bumps in the road, sharing:

We had to have big meetings and I was like, 'Okay, I'm going to get fired. Writers are going to get fired. They clearly see something totally different than what we see.' They had a big meeting, where all they basically said was, 'You have to make sure the show is colorful, happy, uplifting, and positive.' And then they fired my director of photography. They blamed it on him, for no reason. Everyone else took a two-week break.

For the rest of the juicy gossip, check out How to Save a Life, out Sept. 21 from St. Martin's Press.