'Grey's Anatomy' Sweetheart Denny Duquette Speaks!
(May 14, 2006) (Source) Chances are, no matter where you've spent your tube-watching time in the last year, Jeffrey Dean Morgan has caught your eye. When he wasn't popping up in flashbacks as Mary-Louise Parker's late husband in "Weeds," he was the mysterious papa of sci-fi cuties Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles in The WB's "Supernatural" or he was wooing Katherine Heigl (not to mention viewers) as Denny, the endearing rich guy who's desperately in need of a heart transplant. Morgan has been juggling three shows all season, and with "Weeds" kicking off production on new episodes, "Supernatural" leaving fans with an action-packed cliffhanger season finale that suggests we'll be seeing more of John Winchester and the three-hour "Grey's Anatomy" season finale that begins tonight (ABC, 10 p.m. ET) and wraps up with a two-hour episode Monday night (9 p.m.), we had plenty to talk about when I chatted with him earlier this week. And no worries.. that infamously strict "no spoilers" policy that "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes has enforced on her set means there's nothing ahead that will ruin the fun and drama of what promises to be a great season ender, so read on. Kim: Wow, your voice is even sexier on the phone!
JDM: Haha, well, thank you very much, but it may be because I have a cold. Kim: Well, it's working for you!
JDM: Hahahaha. Kim: Is this the result of all the traveling you've been doing with the eighty shows you're on this season?
JDM: It definitely has something to do with that, I think. I finally finished up shooting on everything last week, and I immediately got a cold. Kim: Your body telling you it's time to slow it down and take a vacation, huh?
JDM: That's right, and that's what I'm going to do. I'm laying in bed with my dog right now, and it's very nice. Kim: Oh, what kind of dog?
JDM: She's a Rottweiler mix. One hundred percent princess. Kim: So, you've wrapped up filming on everything, and I know that under threat of death at "Grey's Anatomy" you can't talk a lot about what's going to happen to Denny in the season finale, but can you tell me anything?
JDM: All I can really tell you is that it's a (finale) that you're really just not gonna want to miss. It's SO top secret, Kim, I can't even begin to tell you how many disclosures I had to sign saying I'm not allowed to discuss anything having to do with anything! I know, it makes for a tough interview though, doesn't it? Kim: Well, honestly, at this point, I don't think anyone would want to have the finale spoiled anyway.
JDM: Yeah, exactly! You don't wanna know. And besides, if I can't tell my mom, I definitely can't tell you. Kim: Haha, so she's been trying to get info out of you, too, huh?
JDM: Oh yes, you'd be surprised the way my friends and family have tried to work this angle. Kim: Denny obviously figures very prominently into the plot of the finale though, right? You can confirm that?
JDM: Yes, he definitely does. He's a very important part of the last three hours. Kim: When people have approached you this season, which character are they most often talking to you about? Denny, I assume.
JDM: Yes, "Grey's." Twenty-plus million people are watching every week, so when I get approached, it's usually about Denny Duquette. Every once in awhile people come up to me about "Supernatural," too, especially towards the end of the season when I was in the show a lot more. Kim: And are people telling you they really want to see Denny and Izzy together?
JDM: Yeah, that, or just people saying they finally want to see Denny get his dang heart! So yeah, people have been very supportive of me and Denny, and very passionate about it, too. Kim: That really does speak to your acting talents, too, because Denny has become such an endearing character, and you've done that while mostly being stuck in a hospital bed. That's not easy to pull off!
JDM: Well, there's certainly not a lot of stuff I can do, since I'm stuck in a bed, but I'm going to give all the credit to Ms. Heigl. Working with her every day, I think we have a great chemistry, and that comes through on the old celluloid. So, I give her all the credit in the world. Working with her has been an absolute joy and privilege. Kim: You two do have great chemistry, and that's certainly not something that happens all the time, especially with a guest role or recurring role.
JDM: No, no, I think we lucked out. I think it's because we have the same sense of humor, and we're both a little bit wacky, in the giggly sense. So we just kind of immediately hit it off and, luckily enough, the camera caught it and it's worked. Kim: How did the role on "Grey's" come about for you?
JDM: It was going to be a recurring (role) when I got it, I knew that. But it was very secretive when I got it, too. We knew it was recurring, but we didn't know for how many episodes, the extent of the storyline . . . When I first got the job, I didn't even know I was going to be Izzy's love interest. In fact, I thought I was going to be Meredith's love interest when I initially got the job. Everything was so top secret. Plus, I did that first episode in November, then I didn't come back again for like three episodes . . . so I really didn't know what was going to happen. But it's certainly worked out wonderfully. Kim: What has this TV season been like for you overall? It must be overwhelming to be on three high-profile shows, but still, as an actor, you can never be sorry to have that much great work coming at you all at once . . .
JDM: Of course not. I'm not going to say there weren't days that were extremely difficult, when I was tired and cranky, but, as an actor, I'm getting a chance to play three different characters. Especially towards the end of the season, going back and fourth between Vancouver and Los Angeles doing ("Grey's" and "Supernatural"), it got to the point where I didn't have a day off. And if I did, I was traveling from one set to the other, because "Supernatural" started working weekends to work around "Grey's" schedule, so I would fly to Vancouver to work on "Supernatural" that day, and fly back to work on "Grey's" that night. It was crazy. But as an actor, I couldn't ask for anything better. Those two characters--Denny and John--are so different, so it's been a great opportunity for me to get to play both of them and show (my) range. Not that I wasn't confused sometimes trying to get into character, with the lack of sleep, but now that I've had a week off and I can sit back and look at it, man, that was fun! Kim: So what's the plan for the summer? Obviously, I can't ask you if you're going to be back on "Grey's" next season, because we can't talk about that yet . . .
JDM: No, that's right, we don't know yet, do we? Ha, ha. But, I'm not sure. I'm thinking about doing a couple of trips, and then there are a couple of projects I might try to squeeze in before the TV season starts again. Right now I just want to take a little bit of time to recuperate and spend some time with my dog, who's missed me desperately, and I've moved into a new place, so I'm decorating and doing that whole thing . . . Just kinda taking it easy, reading some books . . . maybe I'll go sit on a beach somewhere. Kim: It almost sounds like you need a vacation just to plan a vacation.
JDM: Ha, ha, ha, yes, I'm going to sit around for a few days just to decide what to do next. But yeah, I'm reading some scripts, and I can't tell you anything about next fall, because that's too much information, so we'll see. I'd like to squeeze in a movie or something in the next couple of months, and there's a pile of scripts here to read, so that's the deal. Kim: Are you back on "Weeds" this season? They just started production on the second batch of episodes, right?
JDM: They did, just this week, and I'm not sure whether or not my character is back. Kim: And what about "Supernatural"? It certainly seemed, from the season finale, like you'll be back..
JDM: Yeah, I think they're going to have to have me back at least once to figure out what the heck happened to us. Kim: That was an exciting, intense, finale.
JDM: Yeah! I'm pretty anxious to see what happens to old John Winchester myself! Kim: What would, ideally, be your next project? Another TV show, a movie . . .
JDM: You know, it doesn't matter to me, as long as it's a good character. In terms of TV or movies, I don't have a preference. I think it's so hard to find a well-written piece, that if I'm lucky enough to do two of them or three of them in the course of a TV season, I'll do TV for the rest of my career. And if a film comes around and the character is as well-rounded as Denny Duquette or John Winchester, then I'll do movies. I love working, and it's a privilege to be doing what I'm doing, and this resurgence that's happened in my career, I just feel blessed. So as long as I find stuff that I can relate to, that I think other people can relate to, I'll do it. Kim: Do you feel like you're the comeback kid right now, then, or does this feel more a whole new start for your career?
JDM: I think it's kind of a whole new start. I mean, I had some success in the '90s with a couple of TV series, but persistence pays off. I had a couple of years where I just kind of plugged away and did guest spots or did some movies that no one ever saw, too. But it's a whole new deal now, and I'm not really sure how to explain it, but I'm sure going to take advantage of it. It's a matter of making smart decisions now and having fun with it, and that's what I'm going to do. Kim: It's true, it's tough to find characters as rich and well-written as the ones you're playing on TV or in the movies.
JDM: That's exactly right. And credit to ("Supernatural" creator) Eric Kripke and Shonda (Rhimes) . . . a character-driven show like "Grey's," especially, is so rare, with all the procedurals (on TV), and it's so hard to find characters that I can relate to and that audience can relate to. I would follow Shonda anywhere, I'd work for her for the rest of my life. That's the big perk that's happening right now. Being able to play great characters like this. If I can play characters like Denny Duquette, or, heck play Denny Duquette, for the rest of my career, I'd be happy! Kim: I think we need a Denny spin-off show.
JDM: Yes, I do too, dang it! Kim: Should we put that out there, then?
JDM: Believe me, I'm pitching it! I'm all over that. Maybe he and Izzy need one. Maybe they move to Mexico and, I don't know, live happily ever after. Kim: We'll let Shonda figure that out. We can just throw the idea out there.
JDM: Ha, ha, yes, exactly. Believe me, I think everybody's throwing ideas at her right now.
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