Sounds like playing McDreamy can turn into a little bit of a nightmare after nearly a decade.
"Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey, who is the subject of the new Velocity documentary "Patrick Dempsey: Racing LeMans," says in the film that he wants to be a full-time race-car driver. That's not exactly good news for fans of ABC's medical drama, which the actor has been a part of since it debuted in 2005.
Dempsey may not be leaving the hit show just yet, but while promoting the documentary Thursday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in Beverly Hills, he told TODAY.com that he doesn't quite have the enthusiasm for his work on "Grey's" that he once had.
“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."
He also said that there’s a “purity to (racing) that’s missing from the work I do as an actor.”
"I'm not necessarily bored with the show. I'm incredibly grateful to have a show that's been on for 10 years,” he said. "When you're on the show, coming up on 200 episodes, it's about surviving. There's not a lot of homework that goes into it. You learn your lines and try to stay 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."
Dempsey's character, brilliant neurosurgeon Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd, has certainly done his share of surviving over the seasons. From a living through a plane crash to getting shot in the chest and more, Shepherd has been soldiering on, giving Dempsey plenty of lines to memorize.
But don’t get the actor wrong — he wasn't dissing the show. Dempsey said that "Grey's" has been great for his career and allows him to do what he’s passionate about: race.
“I’m glad to have the gig, but it’s not the same as being in a race car. It’s just not.”
Eric Dane, who played Dr. Mark Sloan until the character was killed off in 2012, said he has great respect for his former co-star as an actor, and said Dempsey is dedicated to his craft.
“Look, he has a strong passion for racing as illustrated by the amount of time he spends behind the wheel,” Dane told TODAY.com. “But I don’t buy for a second that acting is something he does on the side to support his racing. He’s too good of an actor not to be passionate about it."
"Racing LeMans" is a four-part miniseries that follows Dempsey's attempt at completing LeMans, a 24-hour endurance race in France, as he juggles family and work responsibilities.
Watch the actor do what he's passionate about when "Patrick Dempsey: Racing LeMans" premieres Aug. 28 at 10 p.m. on Velocity, a Discovery channel.