What can you tell us about the episode—titled "Don't Deceive Me (Please Don't Go)"—you directed?
Mark (Eric Dane) has things to deal with Lexie (Chyler Leigh), like how's he going to tell her about Callie's (Sara Ramirez) pregnancy. That plays out in a big way. Also, Mark has things to deal with Lexie, like how's he going to tell her about Callie's pregnancy—that plays out in a big way.
The episode revolves around the very first day of Derek Shepherd's (Patrick Dempsey) clinical trial for Alzheimer's, which then plays out for the rest of the season. The trial very important to Derek.
That's the framework, and also during that day Callie has a meltdown—her hormones are up. She's very anxious…about how things are going to go down with Arizona and Mark. So she has an OB doctor, Rachael Taylor, who is a new castmember—Callie drives her around the bend because Callie basically becomes hypochondriac, which is very funny but also very touching and moving.
How much acting do you do in the episode?
They wrote my character to basically be at the dentist for most of the episode which is great, so I got a chance to take the foot off the gas—I did have to act in one scene.
Do you get to direct Sandra Oh as Cristina in this episode? Is she fully back on her feet?
She's back, she's healthy again, and she's not paralyzed in the way that she was, and it's fun. She's back and fighting, pushing people out of the way to get into an OR, all that stuff. It's great to see Cristina back to her old tricks.
Sandra Oh, Kevin McKidd, Grey's Anatomy Eric McCandless/ABC
How did your fellow castmembers react to you being behind the camera?
Everyone in the cast, everyone, came up to me and they were just so supportive. Patrick [Dempsey] said to me, 'I've got your back.'
Everyone knows it's a lot of stress and you've taken on a whole new thing and there are millions of dollars riding on your shoulders and all that stuff—and everybody was amazing and I am very thankful to all of them. They just came to work and just supported me in the most loving way, and I will be eternally grateful to all of them for that, I have to say.
What's it like behind the scenes these days?
It's really a very good place to come to work. We all have other actor friends, a lot of people in this industry are finding it hard to get work because of the economy, so we all are very painfully aware of how lucky we are, and we're just blessed to come to work every day and get to act and get to do the thing we love so.
Everybody has their lives, a lot of people have kids, and it's almost like we all come to work and have fun catching up with each other and find out how things are going with each other...it's almost like a getaway from our real lives. That's the way it should be—being an actor is all about make-believe and about transporting yourself from this real world, and that's what I love about acting. I think it's a really fun and healthy and warm place to work.
Where did your directing ambition start—have you done it before? How did you approach the executive producers with your interest?
I have worked with some great directors, I've been very lucky over the years to watch some great directors make real visions come alive, but I've always been too busy really as an actor to pursue it. But I approached [the Grey's Anatomy producers] about a year and a half ago to ask if I could shadow directors maybe and start to learn. So I did that and then they said, look, we have these webisodes and we would like you to direct some.
I think the webisodes were my tryout or my audition, and it seems like I passed it because they offered me an episode pretty quickly after that.
I feel very lucky about how it's all gone. I am still pinching myself.
What elements of this episode are you most proud of as a director?
Everyone, including the guest stars, gives good performances, and I am very pleased with the teaser, this little two-minute sequence before the title card comes up. And I am also very pleased with the montage of act five and the montage of act six, where the music kicks in. I am just really pleased with how those all came out emotionally and the transitions from scene to scene, how all that edited together in the way that I hoped it would—I'm proud of those moments.
How do you want to see the Callie baby drama play out? Will you miss Owen while he's out with his dental problem? Hit the comments.
Be sure to tune in to Grey's Anatomy on ABC next Thursday at 9 p.m. for Kevin McKidd's television directorial debut, "Don't Deceive Me (Please Don't Go)."