Ellen Pompeo attending a screening

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Star Ellen Pompeo: Directing Is Especially Challenging For Mothers And Showrunners

Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo – who plays Meredith Grey – recently revealed that she wasn’t so sure mothers make very good directors.

According to Variety, Ellen Pompeo recently finished directing her first episode of Grey’s Anatomy. While it is not uncommon for showrunners to direct an episode of a series they star in, it is a little rare that the series would make it towards the end of Season 13 before this would happen. What was it that took Ellen Pompeo so long to direct an episode of Grey’s Anatomy? Well, she’s busy.

Ellen Pompeo attends the People's Choice Awards
Ellen Pompeo opens up about directing [Image by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]

Variety interviewed Ellen Pompeo about the episode she directed. While the Grey’s Anatomy star never outright said she thought mothers didn’t make very good directors – she certainly implied how much more difficult the job was for someone with children. Fortunately, the set of the medical drama is exceptionally family-friendly. She was able to bring her children on the set as she directed. Would Ellen Pompeo have been able to direct an episode of Grey’s Anatomy if she hadn’t been directing on such a family-friendly set?

Those who have followed Grey’s Anatomy for the full 13 seasons have seen her character Meredith Grey transform from a scared medical student to a wife, to a mother, to a widow, and to an extremely successful doctor. As Ellen’s character has grown, chances are pretty good you’ve laughed and cried with her. Even though it took Ellen 13 seasons to give directing a try, she didn’t hate it and certainly would be willing to try it again. In fact, she revealed that she would be directing an episode next season.

The Grey’s Anatomy star noted it was not just being a busy mother that made finding time to direct an episode of the series challenging. It was also the fact that she was the star of the show. When Ellen is directing an episode of the show, she can’t have a lot of screen time. Otherwise, it makes it difficult for her to do her job as the director. Given that her character is one of the stars of the show, it makes taking on the role of a director challenging.

“I am going to do another one next year. Obviously the challenge for me is I can’t not be in front of the camera. They can write me lighter when I direct. But I would direct a bunch if I could not act as much, but that’s not really an idea that anyone is interested in.”

Pompeo also revealed it was Debbie Allen, who is in charge of appointing all of the episodic directors on Grey’s Anatomy, that eventually convinced her to direct an episode in the first place. Debbie had asked her on several occasions to direct an episode of the series and she had always said no. Ellen, however, got worn down over time and decided to give directing an episode a try.

@shondarhimes directing in pajamas and wet hair Don't care #shondalandproblems❤️❤️❤️

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By Ellen’s own admittance, she didn’t think there was much she could do with the show in a creative way because it was characters in a hospital all the time. She felt like being stuck in one place didn’t give her the creative freedom that would make the extra time away from her loved ones worth it. In time, she felt as though the show had grown and changed enough that she could have a little creative freedom with the show. So, she decided to give directing a try.

Again, Pompeo noted how lucky she was to be allowed to have her children on set as she directed the episode. She revealed it was nice to still be able to spend time with her children considering it took a month to direct a single episode and she wasn’t really sure she wanted to spend that much time away from her children. Again, Ellen never outright says it, but she did elude to the fact that a set that wasn’t family-friendly would make it difficult for a mother to double as a director.

“I’m lucky that I live really close to where I work, and my kids get to come to set and they get to hang out — it’s a very family-friendly set, so I just worked around that challenge by bringing my kids and my family to set all the time.”

Ellen joins a long list of successful people who have directed the show. One veteran actor, Chandra Wilson, who is also on the show, has directed over a dozen episodes. Chandra was a lot more willing to jump on board directing an episode from the beginning than Ellen was. In total more than forty other people have directed the show in its thirteen-season run. With Ellen set to direct another one next year, there will be plenty more episodes to sink your teeth into before this hospital closes its doors for good.

Get ready ladies tell Thursday night we're coming…

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Do you think Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo could be right? Is it challenging for a mother to double as a director? Do you think Ellen would have been able to direct if the set wasn’t family-friendly? Share your thoughts on mothers being directors in the comment’s section found down below.

[Featured Image by Mark Davis/Getty Images]