Spending 10 years as the same character on the same show would get tiring for anyone. So how does ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star Patrick Dempsey (who plays Derek Shepherd) keep things interesting while playing 'McDreamy' on the long-running ABC drama? Race car driving.
When he is not donning scrubs and memorizing lines, Dempsey occupies his time by competing in the dangerous and exciting sport of race car driving. Dempsey sat down to talk about the difference between driving a race car and acting on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ while at the Television Critics Association conference. Dempsey was at TCA to promote the new Velocity network documentary ‘Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans,’ where he talked about the difficulty of keeping himself motivated on 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."
That is not to say that he doesn’t still appreciate his time spent on his hugely popular network television show. “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. I’m glad I have the gig, but it’s not the same as being in a race car. It’s just not.”
The tenth season of 'Grey's Anatomy' is slated to begin in September, 2013.