Grey’s Anatomy fans still haven’t gotten over the heartbreaking episode in which Patrick Dempsey’s dreamy character Dr Derek Shepherd dies, but it was a relief to some of those involved in the show.
James D. Parriott, who worked as a producer on the ABC hit for several years from 2005 to 2006 and was brought back again in 2015, just before Shepherd’s disappearance in the April 23, 2015 episode, recounts author Lynette Rice for her next book, How to Save a Life: The Story of Grey’s Anatomy, that his second stay there was to keep Dempsey happy – something he hadn’t been in a while.
“[Creator] Shonda [Rhimes] needed an OG to come in as kind of a showrunner for fourteen episodes, ”Parriott said in an excerpt from the book published Thursday in Hollywood journalist. “There were HR issues. It wasn’t sexual in any way. He kind of terrorized the set. Some of the cast had all kinds of PTSD with him. He had that hold on set where he knew he was. ‘he could stop production and scare people. The network and the studio went down and we had sessions with them. I think he was just done with the show. He didn’t like the inconvenience of coming. everyday and working. He and Shonda were at each other’s throats. “
At this time, Dempsey’s relationship with his on-screen sweetheart, Ellen Pompeo, was also strained. Former producer Jeannine Renshaw said Pompeo often resented objections from her main man to the many hours of work. She was spending even more time at work.
“There were times when Ellen got frustrated with Patrick and she got mad because he wasn’t working as hard. She was very committed to getting things right,” Renshaw said. “She just didn’t like Patrick complaining that ‘I’m here too late’ or ‘I’ve been here too long’ when she had twice as many scenes in the episode as he did. talked to Patrick, I would say, “Look around you. These people have been here since half past six in the morning. “He would say,” Oh, yeah. “He would understand. It’s just that actors tend to see things from their own point of view. He’s like a kid. He’s got so much energy he’d say, “What happens next?” He literally pops out of his skin, sitting and waiting. He wants to drive his race car or do something fun. C he is the child in the class who wants to go to recess.
Dempsey himself explained his annoyance at the time.
“It’s ten months, fifteen hours a day. You never know your schedule, so your child asks you, ‘What are you doing on Monday?’ And you say, “I don’t know,” because I don’t know my schedule, ”said Dempsey, a father of three. “Doing this for eleven years is a challenge. But you have to be grateful because you are well paid so you can’t really complain because you don’t really have any rights. You don’t have control over your own. schedule. So you just have to be flexible. “
He said he considered leaving when Sandra Oh, who played Dr Cristina Yang, left in 2014, but was overpaid – about $ 400,000 per episode.
“How to say no to that?” Dempsey said. “It’s remarkable to be a working actor, and on top of that to be on a show that’s visible. And then on top of that to be on a phenomenal show that’s known around the world, and to play a character who is loved around the world. “
Renshaw said the “last straw” was when Rhimes saw Dempsey’s alleged bad behavior for herself.
“Shonda must have told the network, ‘If he doesn’t go, I’m going,'” said Renshaw. “Nobody wanted him to go, because he was the star. Him and Ellen. Patrick is a lover. Fuck you up, this business.”
Dempsey – who had appeared in the first 250 episodes of the ABC hit – was conspicuously absent from a series of eps just before his character was killed. Rice’s book confirms the actor was in talks with executives about his future.
Parriott remembers the producers preparing for three possible scenarios for McDreamy.
“We had a whole story where we were going to 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 find out what Derek’s relationship would be with Meredith. Then there was the one we did. It was kinda crazy. We didn’t know. if he was going to be able to negotiate his release. It was ultimately decided that just bringing him back was going to be too hard on the other actors. The studio just said it was going to be more of a problem than that. was worth it and decided to move on. “
Dempsey described his last day as “calm,” and one producer noted that the other cast members didn’t stop to say goodbye to him. He said he was “very happy to have moved on.”
He didn’t leave Dr Derek Shepherd behind for long, however. Dempsey was one of several cast members who returned to the show last year so their characters could appear to Gray while she was in a coma.
Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to Dempsey for comment on the clip.
How to save a life: the story of Grey’s Anatomy is available Tuesday, September 21, 2021 on Amazon and other bookstores.