Ellen Pompeo Has Gotten Very Real On What Happens In TV
You’ll most likely know Ellen Pompeo for portraying Dr Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy. The Shonda Grimes created show first hit the small screen in 2005 and was an instant hit which left everyone who was involved completely ecstatic.
Well… almost everyone was ecstatic. Pompeo recalls thinking she “was f**ked” in an interview she did with The Hollywood Reporter. After all, she was meant to be a movie star and had only auditioned for a role on the medical drama in order to pay her rent and never had plans to be a TV star.
However, after fourteen years of playing the title character she seems to have changed her mind and couldn’t be happier about the decision now.
Talking about women and pay in the industry, she told Hollywood Reporter, “I’m not necessarily perceived as successful, either, but a 24-year-old actress with a few big movies is, even though she’s probably being paid shit - certainly less than her male co-star and probably with no backend. And they’re going to pimp her out until she’s 33 or 34 and then she’s out like yesterday’s trash, and then what does she have to take care of herself? These poor girls have no real money, and the studio is making a fortune and parading them like ponies on a red carpet. I mean, Faye Dunaway is driving a f**kin’ Prius today. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a Prius, but my point is, she had no financial power.”
She also admitted that while it is nice to have a steady income, she does miss the lack of diversity in her work. This is what pushed her to ask for a huge pay rise.
“What I said to Shonda is the truth: ‘I don’t get to do anything else, and that’s frustrating for me creatively. I make 24 episodes of TV a year, and as part of this dal, I cannot appear anywhere else. And directing is cool but, to be honest, it just takes me away from my kids,’.”
After asking for her pay rise, she secured a $25 million annual deal which boils down to about $716,000 per episode. However, it wasn’t easy to score the deal.
“What happened is that I went to Shonda [Rhimes] and I said, ‘If you’re moving on to Netflix and you want the show to go down, I’m cool with that. But if you want it to continue, I need to be incentivised. I need to feel empowered and to feel ownership of this show.”
She also added, “CAA compiled a list of stats for me, and Grey’s has generated nearly $3 billion for Disney. When your face and your voice have been part of something that’s generated $3 billion for one of the biggest corporations in the world, you start to feel like, “OK, maybe I do deserve a piece of this.”
However, throughout her time on the hit tv medical drama, she did face some battles with her pay which she detailed by saying,
“For me, Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise. They could always use him as leverage against me — ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’ — which they did for years. I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that.”
“At one point, I asked for $5,000 (US) more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the number one. I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actors feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, ‘I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.’”
She also revealed that once Dempsey left the show, the studio rushed to replace him when “the ink wasn’t even dry on his exit papers”
“I was on vacation in Sicily, decompressing — it was a long working relationship and it was a tumultuous end and I needed a moment to just chill with some rosé — and they’re calling me, going, ‘What do you think of this guy?’ ‘What do you think of this guy?’ And they’re sending pictures. I was like, ‘Are you people f**king nuts? Why do you feel that you have to replace this person?’
“I couldn’t believe how fast the studio and the network felt like they had to get a penis in there. We brought in Martin Henderson, but they didn’t love the storyline, so that ended.”
The official release date for Grey’s Anatomy Season 13 on Netflix is June 17 2018.