'Grey's' creator endures Heigl-related hell
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Critics must have tried asking the same question of Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes four different times, during a press conference here minutes ago alongside producers from Lost, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives and Dirty Sexy Money:
Aren't you pissed at Katherine Heigl?
After all, Heigl blamed the show's writers for not writing material strong enough for her to submit material for an Emmy nomination -- an award she won last year. Rumors flew that she was off the show or trying to get kicked off the show to pursue her film career or about to see her character given a brain tumor for her trouble.
Unfortunately, Rhimes, who was expecting a grilling, wouldn't bite, noting that Heigl had asked to be used lightly toward the end of last season to do a movie. "When I was told about it, I found it surprising," she said, wearing the same vaguely annoyed look critics often see from her. "The story that's out in the press is generally only half the story...I didn't feel insulted."
Then, Desperate Housewives producer Mark Cherry provided a better answer, referencing an infamous photo shoot for Vanity Fair that reportedly devolved into a fight among the four stars. "Usually,the best way to deal with actors, is you pretend they're real people and talk to them," he said, drawing big laughs. "I ultimately solved it by hugging a sobbing actress for 30 minutes and assuring her, this too shall pass...It's not real life, its just show business."
And his advice for explaining Heigl's comments? "She was drunk," he said, laughing. "Did that help?"
Maybe not Rhimes, but it sure worked for the rest of us.