Denzel Washington’s directorial career includes Oscar winner “Fences” and box office hits like “Antwone Fisher.” Some fans might not realize that it also includes a 2016 episode of the ABC medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” which remains the only television Washington has directed in his career. Washington directed the 12th season episode “The Sound of Silence.” On her podcast, “Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo,” the “Grey’s” lead actress was joined by former co-star Patrick Dempsey and revealed a fight occurred on set between Washington and herself after she went off-script in a scene.
“I was like, ‘Look at me when you apologize. Look at me.’ And that wasn’t in the dialogue,” Pompeo told Dempsey. “And Denzel went ham on my ass. He was like, ‘I’m the director. Don’t you tell him what to do. I was like, ‘Listen, motherfucker, this is my show. This is my set. Who are you telling?'”
Pompeo said any tension with Washington on set was isolated to that one particular incident, adding she has the “utmost respect for him as an actor and director.” The two got along for the remainder of the shoot.
Clarifying that she has the “utmost respect for him as an actor and director,” Ellen also made it clear that despite the incident, it was smooth sailing between the two from there on out.
“So, we didn’t get through it without a fight, but that’s actors for you,” Pompeo 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.”
Washington’s “Grey’s Anatomy” episode followed his first two feature directorial efforts, “Antwone Fisher” and “The Great Debaters.” The actor-director went back to feature filmmaking after “Grey’s” with the release of “Fences.” The August Wilson adaptation earned critical acclaim and four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Washington. Viola Davis won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Next up for Washington as a director is the drama “A Journal for Jordan,” starring Michael B. Jordan and Chanté Adams. The film is adapted from the memoir “A Journal for Jordan: A Story of Love and Honor” and stars Jordan as a U.S. soldier who keeps a journal of love and advice for his infant son. Sony is releasing the movie on December 10.