Denzel Washington Addresses That Grey's Anatomy Incident With Ellen Pompeo

In a new interview with Variety, Denzel Washington reacted to Ellen Pompeo’s recollection of going “at it” with the director during season 12 of Grey’s Anatomy.

By Mike Vulpo Jan 06, 2022 6:37 PMTags

Time heals all wounds on and off set.

Last September, Ellen Pompeo made headlines when she looked back on filming season 12 of Grey's Anatomy, when Denzel Washington had the opportunity to sit in the director's chair. 

During one scene, Ellen claimed Denzel "went ham on my ass" when she improvised a line with an unnamed co-star.

In a new interview, Denzel was asked about the incident where he sidestepped the question. "No, no," he told Variety, claiming that he doesn't recall that day. Then, with a slight grin, he added, "But it's all good."

For those who missed the drama, Ellen went on her Tell Me With Ellen Pompeo podcast in September and recalled a moment where she yelled an improvised line to another character during an emotional scene.

"I was like, ‘Look at me when you apologize. Look at me,'" she recalled yelling at the actor during the scene. "And that wasn't in the dialogue. And Denzel went ham on my ass. He was like, ‘I'm the director. Don't you tell him what to do.'"

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"I was like, ‘Listen, motherf--ker, this is my show,'" Ellen continued. "This is my set. Who are you telling?"

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images

Despite the memorable moment, Ellen insisted that she has the "utmost respect for him as an actor and director."

"We didn't get through it without a fight, but that's actors for you," she added. "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."

As for Denzel, he was recently described by Variety as one of the most enduring movie stars of modern times. And after directing A Journal for Jordan and starring in The Tragedy of Macbeth, Denzel likely doesn't have any time for doctor drama.

"I never enjoyed headlining and directing," Denzel told Variety. "I acted in the movies because I needed to in order to get the money to direct them. So now, for me, this feels like the first film I've directed, because I'm not in it. That's the way I prefer it."