Made of Honour - Patrick Dempsey interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
PATRICK Dempsey talks about the appeal of new romantic comedy Made of Honour, appearing in a mini-kilt and white Y-fronts and why he really appreciates the level of success he’s currently enjoying.
He also talks about coping with the level of success that Grey’s Anatomy has brought, plans for the future and what he really thinks of the “Dr McDreamy” tag.
Q. Who picked out the unflattering white Y-fronts that went under your tiny kilt?
Patrick Dempsey: [Laughs] A lot of decisions were made on the fly. We were just like: “Let’s try this and see if it works.” Sometimes it would and sometimes it wouldn’t. We only had a day to shoot that, so we got as much as we could get. But everyone’s now talking about that scene.
Q. What are they saying?
Patrick Dempsey: Some people are pleased by it and some are repulsed by it! It’s been amazing what people are picking up on.
Q. You are aware that you’re not supposed to wear pants under a kilt?
Patrick Dempsey: Well, we couldn’t do anything else [laughs]. But the DVD has a bonus scene.
Q. Did you keep the kilt?
Patrick Dempsey: I don’t know what happened to it but I should have kept it and framed it!
Q. Did the early flashback scenes take you back to some of your earlier roles?
Patrick Dempsey: When I first saw the final cut I was like: “Oh my God!” And I went back to that period [in my life]. But there’s a lot of people that love Can’t Buy Me Love and those movies and so it was nice to go back to a romantic comedy, like this, that had that kind of physicality to it and then hopefully move it up a bit. We wanted to make an old fashioned romantic comedy because a lot of things that are coming out right now are very crass and missing the romance. That’s why when I saw Sixty Six I thought that Paul Weiland was perfect for this because he understands relationships and also the visual.
Q. Are you not a fan of the gross out comedies?
Patrick Dempsey: No, it’s not for me. I mean, I appreciate what those guys are doing but it’s not what I want to be doing. Certainly for this, it was about creating an old fashioned romantic comedy.
Q. What were you like at college? Were you anything like your character in those early scenes?
Patrick Dempsey: I didn’t go to college. I kind of ran away with the circus, which is where the juggling thing came from. I was in a Vaudeville troop and I did juggling and classic comedy and stuff like that. My first big acting break was Torch Song Trilogy in New York and that sort of opened the doors.
Q. Do you wish you had gone to college?
Patrick Dempsey: Yes and no. I think that through this profession I’ve had a lot of experience travelling. But it would have been fun to have taken the time off and been an academic, certainly.
Q. With Grey’s Anatomy, Enchanted and now Made of Honour can you believe your luck? Because everything has suddenly turned around…
Patrick Dempsey: Oh, it’s unbelievable. Every day I wake up and I can’t believe it because it’s been too much fun and I’m having such a blast. But it’s been a long road to get to this point and I do really appreciate it.
Q. Were you despairing at any point?
Patrick Dempsey: I just wanted to be a working actor. That said, I always made a living, I just hadn’t got to this level. Hopefully, it’ll continue because there’s a lot more I’d like to do.
Q. Do you think that because it was such a long road to this level of success, that it’s served you better?
Patrick Dempsey: Yeah, I think so. I think if I was 18-years-old going through what I’m going through right now I’d be sabotaging myself left and right. I think it’s too much to process. You don’t have any reference points. You haven’t earned the right to get to that. So, I sort of went through my apprenticeship and now I feel I can handle what’s going on. I see it for what it is and I want to make the most of it. But I think there’s a real lack of apprenticeship in the world anyway. There was a time when you’d go in and you’d learn your craft and learn whatever it is you’re working at and then you’d step out.
But I think now there’s a lot of money at stake, there’s a lot of exposure and you’re seeing a lot of young Hollywood just crashing and burning because of it. There’s no one there keeping them in check and there’s no life experience to go: “Hey, you know what? This is a moment in time and it’s going to go away, so you’ve got to make the most of it, keep it and be constructive because otherwise it will destroy you.” So, I think now I have a family, which keeps me grounded, and other things I like to do. I appreciate and respect the fact that it’s very special what’s going on with the show and these movies. I’m very fortunate, so I try not to lose perspective.
Q. How does the Dr McDreamy tag sit on your shoulders?
Patrick Dempsey: Well, you know there’s not much I can do about it. The only thing I can do is just make smart choices from here on in. That will follow me to my grave, there’s no question about that.
Q. Is that a bad thing?
Patrick Dempsey: I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think it’s something that people perceive it to be – your label. But I think it’s given me a tremendous opportunity. It’s allowed me to get this movie green-lit and hopefully other things in the future.
Q. Does your wife call you McDreamy?
Patrick Dempsey: She calls me a lot of other things [laughs].
Q. How much longer are you committed to Grey’s Anatomy?
Patrick Dempsey: I think there’s two more years on the contract. But you take one episode at a time.
Q. Will you be minded to stay on after that?
Patrick Dempsey: I just hope the stories stay fresh, that’s the thing. You just want to have something to get up for every day and feel like you haven’t re-hashed the same stories. That’s the key. But it’s the thing for everybody – the viewers, the writers and the actors. You have to keep the stories fresh and keep the characters growing. But it’s nice having a job like that because I know what I’m doing.
Q. What will you do after it comes to an end? Have you contemplated that yet?
Patrick Dempsey: Race! [Laughs] I’ve been producing and I want to produce and act. I don’t necessarily want to direct because it’s too much work and I don’t have the attention span to stay with it that long. But I think getting everyone together on something that appeals to me and developing the material is something that I like to do. And I like being in front of the camera. We had a great time working on this.
Q. Would you like to do a movie that involves racing at some point?
Patrick Dempsey: Yeah, it’d be fun to do something that involved the racing. I think the best one was Grand Prix, for the story, and for the time period Le Mans was another great movie.