'Grey's Anatomy' star Patrick Dempsey goes racing

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 02:38 PM Written by 

Patrick DempseyBEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The moment he said it, I knew some who heard it might misconstrue his intent. “Grey’s Anatomy” star Patrick Dempsey, in discussing his other role as a race car driver, chronicled in Velocity’s “Patrick Dempsey: Racing LeMans” (10 p.m. Wednesday), was asked if he was bored with “Grey’s” and if anything could compare with racing cars.

“Probably not, no,” Dempsey began. “And I'm not necessarily bored with the show. I'm very grateful that I have a show that's been on for ten years. But I'm not the creator. I'm not the writer. This I can create, I can write. It's a trade, quite honestly. And that's fine, you know. And when you're on a show that's been on for ‑‑ we're coming up to 200 episodes ‑‑ it's about surviving. And you find ways to turn yourself on with the material that you're given. But it's like being in a band. You have a specific note that you play, and that's what you do. So you just try to play that as well as you can. So for me now it's much more just discovering in the moment. There's not a lot of homework that goes into it. You learn your lines, and you try to be present and try not to get caught acting. And you, you know, I'm grateful I have the gig, but it's not the same as being in a race car. It's just not.”

To some ears, this may sound like a diss of “Grey’s” but really Dempsey is just being honest. Any job gets old after a while, even one with the perks of starring on a broadcast network hit.

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It sounds like Dempsey is simply more excited about his hobby than his profession, and honestly, isn’t that often true for most people?

“These interviews took place over a year. So my moods change dramatically in the course of 12 months, and my feelings, depending on where we are in the run of the show. But it's a different type of passion, you know,” he said. “I'm an actor, so that's my profession. That's my job. It's a trade. And that's a different feeling. Racing is a constant discovery. And when you're in a long show, there's less discovery and more of an endurance of having to be present and to do your job and find ways to keep yourself turned on in something that you know is going to be A, B, and C. It doesn't change. In a race it changes constantly. Every lap, every corner, every moment of that day is changing. And that, to me, is very exciting and keeps me alive. And then I can go back to work and enjoy it. So I think I need both, quite honestly.”

The four-episode series “Racing LeMans” chronicles Dempsey’s attempt to join the 24-hour LeMans endurance race.

To those who still think that he should be more grateful, he really does seem to be, thanking producers for their flexibility in scheduling his work in a way that allows his to race, too.

I think the show does a remarkable job in getting me out. The producers are fantastic. The fact that they let me race is remarkable. After they see this, I hope they continue to let me race,” Dempsey said. “But I don't think people quite understand what I'm doing, honestly. But I can't thank 'Grey's' enough. They've been amazingly supportive.”

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