TCA: Patrick Dempsey Candid About ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Gig – “It’s About Surviving”

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

Patrick Dempsey admitted this morning that working as an actor in a long-running series like ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy can’t hold a candle to the excitement of being a race car driver. Dempsey was at TCA to promote the testosterone-encrusted Velocity network’s documentary miniseries Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans, which depicts the actor training for and competing in the famed 24-hour race. It premieres August 28. He made it clear during the session that, as Grey‘s comes up on 10 years and 200 episodes, it gets tougher and tougher to motivate himself on the set. “Work on a TV show doesn’t change,” Dempsey said. “In a race, it changes constantly, every lap, every corner, every moment of that day. And that’s very exciting. And it keeps me alive. And then I can go back to work and enjoy it. … There’s a purity to (racing) that’s missing from the work I do as an actor,” he said.

As for Grey’s? “I’m not the creator, I’m not the writer, so it’s a trade. And that’s fine,” he said. “But when you’ve been on a show (for nearly 200 episodes), it’s about surviving. You find ways to turn yourself on with the material you’re given. … For me at this point, there’s not a lot of homework that goes into it. You learn your lines and try to be present and try not to get caught acting.” He added, “I’m glad I have the gig, but it’s not the same as being in a race car. It’s just not.”

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