It’s a crisp early February day in Hollywood and Ellen Pompeo has abandoned Meredith’s typical scrubs and style for her own jeans and T-shirt as she pulls double duty on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. Welcome to Pompeo’s first-ever time behind the camera: the actress, who has spent 13 seasons performing countless surgeries and perhaps even more soapy scenes in the Shondaland medical drama, is making her directorial debut.
With a portable speaker blaring classic rock from bands like Led Zeppelin and Journey, Pompeo shuttles from behind the camera bank to be closer to her co-stars between takes as she offers further direction on her vision for scenes in what promises to be an emotional hour infused with the humor and banter reminiscent of early season Grey’s Anatomy.
Inspired by executive producer and frequent director Debbie Allen — as well as creator Shonda Rhimes and her Year of Yes book — Pompeo initially balked at the idea that she add director to a résumé that includes development executive and running a production company.
“I have a new baby at home, two other adorable little kids, a husband, three dogs, four chickens and a fish and I told Debbie that I couldn’t possibly be here another minute than I already am,” Pompeo told The Hollywood Reporter during a break from directing at a February set visit.