Some Denzel fans weren’t too happy about the exchange
Washington, a two-time Oscar-winning actor, was on set to direct “The Sound of Silence” episode when Pompeo said she decided to ad-lib a line, she told former co-star Patrick Dempsey on her Tell Me With Ellen Pompeo podcast, released this week.
The line that got Washington heated was: “Look at me when you apologize. Look at me,” she said to another actor in the scene about an exchange (prompted by a real-life experience) where a patient having a seizure broke her character, Meredith Grey’s, jaw. “And he wasn’t looking at me in the eye,” Pompeo continued, insinuating the actor was underperforming. “Again, we love actors who make choices. And I yelled at him, I was like, ‘Look at me! When you apologize, look at me!’ And that wasn’t in the dialogue.”
Apparently, that’s not what Washington had in mind and he got ticked off, according to Pompeo.
“Denzel went ham on my ass,” Pompeo said to Dempsey. “He was like, ‘I’m the director. Don’t you tell him what to do.’ And I was like, ’Listen, motherfucker, 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, but like, yo, we went at it one day.”
Pompeo went on to explain that Washington only “did the show because his wife is a big fan,” and that he “saw it as a good exercise to just come in and direct something quick.”
Fans had mixed reactions on Twitter about the exchange, many feeling that Washington was actually the one disrespected by the exchange:
denzel washington: can you get me some water
ellen pompeo: i’m ellen pompeo
denzel washington: ok ellen pompeo can you get me some water
— dani (@missemilyblunt) September 30, 2021
Ellen Pompeo really disrespected Denzel Washington and proudly told the world like we were gonna be on her side… pic.twitter.com/oZpmVoO6L4
— Shonnia Burton (@shonnia21) September 30, 2021
Denzel Washington: Ellen can you move slightly to the left..
Ellen Pompeo : DO YOU KNOW WHO TF I AM?! This is MY SET! THIS IS MY SHOW pic.twitter.com/zduokIDJ6A
— raveen marie ☕️✨ (@xoraveen) September 30, 2021
Ellen Pompeo publicists and agent seeing this Denzel Washington story play out on Twitter lol pic.twitter.com/pMWWaCeEEY
— CyclopsIsBetterThanWolverine (@Krakoan4Life) September 30, 2021
Denzel Washington: Hey folks I’m directing this ep, we’re gonna have a great time 👍🏽
Ellen Pompeo: pic.twitter.com/u6H8Egbohw
— Brooklyn (@BrooklynBoyB) September 30, 2021
Pompeo continued on, explaining the two didn’t speak for a while on set. She also said she went to speak with Washington’s wife, Pauletta Pearson, and told her, “Yeah, he yelled at me today. He let me have it today, and I’m not OK with him, and I’m not looking at him, and I’m not talking to him.’”
Eventually, the two hashed out their differences and went on to have a good working relationship according to Pompeo. “We were fine after that. He’s just one of the best to ever do it.”
She also said that the back and forth and passion of all of the combined actors and directors is where the “magic” happens. “That’s where you get the good stuff,” she said.