Denzel Washington and actress Ellen Pompeo almost came to blows when she went off script during the “Grey’s Anatomy” episode he directed.
The incident went down when Denzel directed the season 12 episode “The Sound of Silence,” which saw Ellen’s character Meredith Grey has her jaw broken when she’s attacked by an epileptic patient.
The Oscar-winning actor was recruited by producer Debbie Allen to keep Ellen “interested” in the show after actors Sandra Oh and Patrick Dempsey both quit the medical drama.
“One of the scenes at the end of the episode, I have to go (confront) this man who beat me up,” Ellen recalled on her podcast Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo.
She said her character, Meredith, was reluctant to hear the apology from the male patient.
“[Meredith’s] jaw was broken, and I couldn’t bring myself to go hear the apology from this character… She was just at the point where she wasn’t having it.
“I didn’t really want to talk to this actor or see this actor before we did this scene, so I didn’t have much interaction with him at all. And then, he apologized to me, but he was doing it really softly. He made this choice to speak very softly. And I was p**sed that I had to sit there and listen to this apology. And he wasn’t looking at me in the eye… and I yelled at him, I was like, ‘Look at me! When you apologize, look at me!’ And that wasn’t in the dialogue.”
After Ellen’s ad lib, she said Denzel pulled her to one side and yelled at her.
“Denzel went ham on my a*s. He was like, ‘I’m the director! Don’t you tell him what to do!'”
But Ellen hit back, shouting at him:
“I was like, ‘Listen, motherf**ker, this is my show! This is my set! Who are you telling… You barely even know where the bathroom is!’ I have the utmost respect for him as an actor, as a director, as everything, but we went at it!”
Ellen said calmer heads prevailed when Denzel’s wife visited the set.
“Then his wife came to set to visit, and I was not talking to him. I was mad at him. And I told his wife, I was like, ‘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.'”
However, Ellen insisted she and Denzel were “completely fine after that” and she has no hard feelings towards him.