An EXCLUSIVE Interview with Grey’s Anatomy’s Chandra Wilson (Dr Miranda Bailey)
To celebrate the NOVEMBER 3 DVD release of Grey’s Anatomy: Season Six, we chatted exclusively to Chandra Wilson – the actress behind the fiery Dr Bailey – about what fans can expect from the veteran hospital drama’s sixth season and beyond!
What can you tell us about your character’s storyline in Season Six of Grey’s Anatomy?
CW- Dr. Miranda Bailey gets promoted at the start of Season Six, so she’s no longer a student; she’s an attending. That means she gets to wear the navy blue scrubs, which is a really good color for me. You will see a return of the determined Bailey in Season Six. She’s the functional, efficient Bailey – the one that doesn’t have time to cry about anything anymore. She’s tired of crying. There are bigger, better and more important things to do in life than sit around and cry all day.
Does Dr. Bailey get a love interest in Season Six?
CW- She needs a break, doesn’t she? She needs some sunshine in her life. Maybe she will find someone in the future, but her head isn’t in that place at the start of Season Six. However, who knows what will happen further down the line?
Do you still enjoy playing this character after six years on the show?
CW- I love playing Dr. Bailey because she brings something new to the table every season. I never feel like I know everything about her; there’s always something else coming out about her personality or her past. I have never got to the point where I feel like I have done everything possible with Bailey. I’m not at that place by a long shot, which is one of the reasons why I’m still having such fun on Grey’s Anatomy.
Is it true that you directed an episode in Season Six?
CW- That is true – and it was absolutely fabulous. I took my prep time very seriously and I tried my best to work as efficiently as possible as the director. I had a ball. Would I do it again? I would love to do it again if possible. It was just great on all levels and I’m so glad to have been able to exercise that part of my creative muscle.
Did you approach the producers about directing or did they come to you?
CW- I casually started talking about it with the executive producers about two seasons ago – and then I started to talk seriously about it during Season Five. I was eventually given the go ahead, which is when one of the directors gave me a book that he considered the Bible of cinematography. He handed it to me and he said, “Learn that.”
What is the book called?
CW- It’s called The Five C’s Of Cinematography and it was very helpful. After that, I just had to pick the right time to direct an episode, which hopefully would have been a light episode for Bailey. The problem was that Bailey was involved in a lot of the storylines of Season Five, especially in the lead up to Izzie’s cancer. I said to the producers, “Okay, let’s go for the beginning of Season Six instead of trying to squeeze it into Season Five.” And that’s exactly what I did.
Are there any new characters arriving in Season Six?
CW- There are a several new characters because our hospital merges with Mercy West in Season Six. There’s a lot of competitiveness with people wanting to hold onto their jobs and there’s a great new dynamic to the show, which has been fun to work on.
What was your most memorable scene to film in Season Six?
CW- In an odd way, I thought it was very interesting to film the scenes at the cemetery at the start of Season Six. We’re always on the hospital set, so it was like a field trip for us all to travel and shoot O’Malley’s funeral.
You have worked with T.R. Knight – who played O’Malley – ever since the show started. How cathartic was it to shoot the departure of his character at the beginning of Season Six?
CW- It was very cathartic for all of the characters on the show, but we all dealt with it in our own way. All of the actors in the cast still talk to T.R. and we all support him. When anybody ventures off and does something outside of the show, we all have absolute support for each other. He’s still in our lives; he’s just not on the show.
Do you think the death of O’Malley was handled well on the show?
CW- I thought it was handled appropriately for an original character on Grey’s Anatomy. The whole purpose of that episode was to talk about grieving and to look at how people deal with death differently. I think it worked really well.
Viewers know how Dr. Bailey reacts to these sad situations, but how do you personally handle such dark themes?
CW- Oh boy… I honestly don’t think you can know until you’re in the situation. Your human emotions catch you completely off guard.
Is it difficult to switch off from your character after working hard on set all day?
CW- It’s not hard at all. The show’s storylines open up conversations outside of work, but Dr. Bailey lives in the studio where we shoot the show and that is where I leave her every night. I close the door and I leave her behind. It’s as easy as that.
What makes Season Six stand out for you?
CW- I think that Season Six is a fantastic year for Grey’s Anatomy. We introduce some great new characters – some long-term and some short-term – and we’ve still got the core group of people that the audience is interested in. You’ll see Dr. Bailey on a new journey in Season Six – plus there’s a merger with Mercy West that takes us into a whole new set of experiences for the hospital. It’s definitely been a good year for the show.
Where do you see Grey’s heading in the future?
CW- I have no clue where we’re going, but I know that the producers and the writers have a plan for the future. They have a chart up on a wall somewhere that we can’t see, but I look forward to finding out about it. Bring it on…
GREYS ANATOMY: SEASON 6 WILL BE RELEASED ONTO DVD ON NOVEMBER 3RD, 2010