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 411mania » Movies » Columns

411mania Interviews Chandra Wilson (Grey's Anatomy)
Posted by Al Norton on 04.25.2013

Chandra Wilson has been with Grey's Anatomy from the pilot, winning a SAG Award and being nominated for four Emmys for her role as Dr. Miranda Bailey.

Al Norton: I think you've may have made me cry more than any character on TV over the last seven or so years.

Chandra Wilson: What you say (laughing)? That's alright.

Al Norton: I mean that as high praise, of course.

Chandra Wilson: That's very cool. She certainly has gotten herself into some situations; the fact that she had to sit down the last time we saw her…Bailey doesn't sit down for anybody (laughing).

Al Norton: Do you remember who you thought she was when you read the pilot script and how much has she changed since then?

Chandra Wilson: She was described as a short, white female called "the Nazi"…

Al Norton: So we're already a little different…

Chandra Wilson: Yes, a little different there (laughing). I knew it was going to be about her demeanor in the hospital; that was going to warrant her name, that was going to warrant the respect she was going to get from her interns. Over the years I keep trying to keep that at the forefront of my mind, that that's who she wants to appear to be in the hospital even though she's failed miserably because she's a human being and that persona isn't going to stand up all the time. I try to get back to it as much as I can even in recent episodes dealing with current interns, I try to make sure they know the hardnosed part of Miranda Bailey but the audience is smarter than that now so they don't but it as much (laughing).

Al Norton: The first half of the season was much more about the business side of medicine, which we don't see on TV that often, so was that fun to play?

Chandra Wilson: The business side was certainly necessary to figure out what kind of stakes the individuals were going to have in the hospital. Bailey ended up with none, she didn't have anything to offer up, which she had no problems letting them know; she didn't have any money to fall back on (laughing) so it really became what kind of footing did she have to fall back on, what kind of job security does she have. The genome lab was certainly helpful in making her feel like she had a stake in the hospital but this whole CDC investigation is really throwing a monkey wrench into that because ultimately her colleagues have to be board members more than they have to be her friend, they have to represent the hospital more than they have to represent her, so there is no job security for Bailey.

Al Norton: You've directed a number of episodes of the show (8) so what's more of an adjustment, directing friends or directing yourself?

Chandra Wilson: Directing myself, definitely. I really had to pay attention this season because I felt like I sometimes wasn't giving Bailey her due because I wasn't giving myself that much of an opportunity. I'd just give myself two takes to get my lines right and then we'd have to get going to something else (laughing) and so I really had to allow myself to take time with Bailey, make sure I really shot Bailey in the midst of taking care of all the other characters. I had to get back to not taking Bailey for granted (laughing).

Al Norton: The show's had a lot of great guest stars over the years; who's left on your wish list?

Chandra Wilson: Oh my God, that's hard to stay. We're still getting folks to this day, the end of season nine, who are still calling us up because they want to come on. It's such a compliment to the show that people are still interested. I can't mention who she is but there's someone doing our season finale and I can't believe it's been nine seasons and we haven't had her yet. Stuff like that keeps happening; these amazing actors and actresses keep showing up and saying they'll play with us.

Al Norton: What do you watch?

Chandra Wilson: Soap operas, of course. I've only got two left right now…

Al Norton: You've got a couple coming back soon.

Chandra Wilson: That's next week, I believe.

Al Norton: I love that you know that.

Chandra Wilson: Oh, absolutely; the 29th (laughing). I'm a Scandal fan, I'm a Once Upon a Time Fan, I'm a Homeland fan. I must say I do look at Shameless. I'm a little ashamed of that (laughing), it's a little hard to watch sometimes but I can't help it.

Al Norton: What's the next step for you as a director? Is there another show you'd love to direct?

Chandra Wilson: I think the next thing that would happen for me as a director would be made-for-TV movies, like Hallmark movies or Lifetime movies, that kind of genre. Really character driven, hopefully with a happy ending (laughing). Something with a female centric kind of story; I'd love to do a project like that.

Al Norton: Can you preview Thursday's episode?

Chandra Wilson: The Center for Disease Control comes to the hospital so they can start the investigation and they can get to the bottom of where this infection is coming from. Of course it can't have anything whatsoever to do with Bailey because she didn't do anything wrong so the issue for her is going to be the behavior of her colleagues and her feeling like they haven't rallied around her and championed her appropriately in the midst of the investigation.

Don't miss Grey's Anatomy, Thursdays at 9pm on ABC.

For more information please visit http://abc.go.com/shows/greys-anatomy


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