Grey’s Anatomy helped many actors grow into directors

Chandra Wilson understood the importance of working behind the camera as a woman of colour while directing the series

By Author  |  Published: 9th Oct 2019  9:33 pm
Prime Time Show

The fictitious Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in Grey’s Anatomy has not only given gifted ‘doctors’, but also helped many actors recognise their directorial dreams, says actor Chandra Wilson.The actor, who has been a part of the longest-running scripted primetime show since its inception in 2005, ventured into direction on the Shonda Rhimes-created series because she understood the importance of working behind the camera as a woman of colour.

“I’m always an actor first, but I was flattered and welcomed the opportunity to direct on the show, because I understood that it is going to mean a lot to other directors, other women of colour, that were watching that journey and wanted the opportunity to direct as well,” Wilson, 50, said.She has directed several episodes since season six of Grey’s Anatomy.

This opened the door to her directing on Rhimes’ Scandal and three episodes of Freeform’s The Fosters. Besides Wilson, fellow Grey’s Anatomy actors, including the main lead Ellen Pompeo, Kevin McKidd, Debbie Allen, Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew have tried their hand at direction on the show.

“I’ve been able to have other directors come in and watch as a college shadowing year as I direct, go on and start their own journey. So it’s like we portray a teaching hospital on TV and we’ve also been able to be a teaching environment in real world and grow directors right out of our show,” said the actor, who plays the no-nonsense Dr Miranda Bailey on the ABC show. The character is important for her as even after over 15 years she continues to be an inspiration, Chandra added.

Rhimes initially envisioned Dr Bailey as a blonde, white woman but when the actor auditioned for the part, the creator knew Wilson was the perfect fit and the rest as they say is history.Wilson, who reprised her role on show’s spin-offs — Private Practice and Station 19– said it was important for her that Rhimes agreed with the vision she had for the part.