Denzel Washington says he doesn’t recall ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ incident with Ellen Pompeo

The actress shared her version of a conflict on the set of her hit ABC show when Washington directed his only episode of television

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Denzel Washington has no recollection of sparring with Ellen Pompeo on the set of Grey’s Anatomy.

In a September episode of her podcast, the actress revealed an incident on the set of her hit ABC show in 2016 when Washington directed his only episode of television, theGrio reported.

Pompeo told her guest, former co-star Patrick Dempsey, that she yelled an improvised line to another actor during an emotional scene. This did not go over well with Washington.

“Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo, Denzel Washington (right). (Photos: David Livingston/Getty Images and Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

“I was like, ‘Look at me when you apologize. Look at me,’” she said she yelled at the time, “and that wasn’t in the dialogue. 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, motherf—–, this is my show,’” Pompeo continued. “‘This is my set. Who are you telling?’”

Washington was asked about the incident in a new interview with Variety and claimed he didn’t recall the moment. According to the report, the Oscar-winning actor noted with a “slight grin” that “it’s all good.”

Pompeo made clear on her podcast that while she has the “utmost respect for” Washington, she called him a “movie star” who “doesn’t know s— about directing TV.”

She said the veteran actor, who is married to actress Pauletta Washington, only “did the show because his wife is a big fan.”

“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,”‘ Pompeo recounted. 

“I think he saw it as a good exercise to just come in and direct something quick,” said Pompeo, who stars as Meredith Grey on the long-running medical drama.

“So, we didn’t get through it without a fight, but that’s actors for you,” Pompeo said. “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.” 

She called Washington “one of the best to ever do it.”

Washington was reportedly brought on by producer Debbie Allen to direct the episode. He paid his acting dues on television on NBC’s hit medical drama St. Elsewhere from 1982 to 1988, on which he starred as Dr. Phillip Chandler.

Pompeo’s Grey’s Anatomy co-star Jason George told E! News in 2016 that working with Washington was an “amazing experience.”

“There is a slight difference when a director [who] has been an actor is directing you,” he said.

“Denzel leaves everybody in the dust in terms of that,” George contended. “He can hit to the core of what’s really going on for you in that scene very quickly and get everybody focused.”

This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Jared Alexander.

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