Grey’s Anatomy fans are still not done with the heartbreaking episode where Patrick Dempsey’s dreamy character, Dr. Derek Shepherd, dies, but it was a relief for some of the people involved in the show.
James D. Parriott, who worked as a producer on the ABC hit for several years, from 2005 to 2006 and brought back in 2015, just before Shepherd’s passing on the April 23, 2015 episode, author Lynette Rice tells of her upcoming book, How to Save a Life: The Story of Grey’s Anatomy, that his second stint there was all about keeping Dempsey happy — something he hadn’t been in a while.
“[Creator] Shonda [Rhimes] needed an OG to come in as a showrunner of sorts for fourteen episodes,” Parriott said in an excerpt from the book, published Thursday in The Hollywood Reporter. “There were HR issues. It wasn’t sexual in any way. He kind of terrorized the set. Some of the cast members had all kinds of PTSD with them. He had this hold on the set that he knew he could stop production and bang.” make people. The network and the studio came down and we had sessions with them. I think he was just done with the show. He didn’t like the inconvenience of coming in and working every day. He and Shonda sat together to the throat.’
At the time, Dempsey’s relationship with his on-screen love interest, Ellen Pompeo, was also tense. Former producer Jeannine Renshaw said Pompeo often disliked her leading man’s objections to the many hours of work. She devoted even more time to her work.
“There were times when Ellen was frustrated with Patrick and she got mad because he wasn’t working as much. She was very keen that everything was fair,” Renshaw said. “She just didn’t like Patrick complaining that ‘I’m late here’ or ‘I’ve been here too long’ when she had twice as many scenes in the episode as he did. When I brought it up Patrick, I would say, ‘Look around you. These people have been here since 6:30 am’ He would say, ‘Oh, yes.’ He would understand. It’s just that actors tend to see things from their own perspective. He’s like a kid. He’s so energetic and would say, ‘What’s happening now?’ “He’s literally going out of his mind, sitting and waiting. He wants to drive outside his race car or do something fun. He’s the kid in class who wants to go to recess.”
Dempsey himself stated his annoyance at the time.
“It’s ten months, fifteen hours a day. You never know your schedule, so your child asks you, ‘What do you do on Monday?’ And you go, ‘I don’t know,’ because I don’t know my schedule,” said Dempsey, a father of three. “Doing that 11 years is a challenge. But you should be grateful because you are well compensated, so you can’t really complain because you don’t really have the right. You can’t control your schedule, so you just have to be flexible.”
He said he was considering leaving when Sandra Oh, who is Dr. Cristina Yang played, left in 2014, but he was overpaid – it’s estimated $400,000 per episode.
“How do you say no to that?” said Dempsey. “It’s remarkable to be a working actor, and also to be on a show that is visible. And then also to be on a phenomenal show that is known all over the world, and to play a character that is loved is all over the world. world.”
Renshaw said the “last straw” was when Rhimes saw Dempsey’s alleged bad behavior for himself.
“Shonda had to tell the network, ‘If he doesn’t go, I’m going,'” Renshaw said. “Nobody wanted him to leave because he was the show. Him and Ellen. Patrick is a sweetheart. It confuses you, this case.’
Dempsey – who had been in the first 250 episodes of the ABC hit – was noticeably absent from a series of eps just before his character was killed off. Rice’s book confirms that the actor was in talks with executives about his future.
Parriott recalls that producers were preparing for three possible scenarios for McDreamy.
“We had a whole storyline where we would keep him in Washington DC so we could separate him from the rest of the show. He wouldn’t have to work with Ellen anymore,” Parriott said. “Then we had the one where he comes back, doesn’t die, and we figured out what Derek’s relationship with Meredith would be. Then there was the one we did. It was a little crazy. We didn’t know if he was out to negotiate. finally decided it would be too hard to get him back for the other actors. The studio just said it would be more trouble than it was worth and decided to move on.”
Dempsey described his last day as “quiet,” and a producer noted that other cast members didn’t stop by to say goodbye to him. He said he was “very glad he moved on”.
He let Dr. Derek Shepherd, however, is not long behind. Dempsey was one of several cast members who returned to the show last year so that their characters could appear to Gray while she was in a coma.
Yahoo Entertainment has contacted Dempsey for comment on the clip.
How to Save a Life: The Story of Grey’s Anatomy is available on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at Amazon and other bookstores.