- Kate Walsh teased a “combative” upcoming scene on “Grey’s Anatomy” when she returns on May 5.
- She recalled being inspired to improvise a scene, following Debbie Allen’s lead.
- During an interview promoting Systane Complete, she told Insider she has scenes with Ellen Pompeo.
Kate Walsh is returning to “Grey’s Anatomy” on the May 5 episode called “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” and teased what fans can expect from Dr. Addison Montgomery during her third appearance back at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital this season.
During an interview with Insider for her partnership with Systane Complete PF lubricant eye drops in April, Walsh said that Addison returns to treat Tova, the patient on whom she performed Grey Sloan’s first surgical uterine transplant.
She also assured fans that she shares the screen with Ellen Pompeo again as Meredith and Addison figure out their “working dynamic and an interesting sort of personal dynamic that has to do with Richard. ”
Walsh entered Shondaland during season one of ABC’s hit medical drama so that Addison could fight for her marriage after cheating on her husband Derek Shepherd with his best friend Mark Sloan (Eric Dane), prompting him to flee Manhattan for Seattle and begin a relationship with Meredith, who was an intern at the time.
The “Emily In Paris” star appeared on “Grey’s Anatomy” for two full seasons before Addison decided to leave rainy Seattle behind for the sunshine in Los Angeles. She joined a private practice and led a spinoff from 2007 to 2013.
Walsh re-entered the world of “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2021 and told Insider it’s always a “delight” to work with people like Jim Pickens Jr., who’s played Dr. Richard Webber on the series since season one.
She recalled filming a “combustible” scene with Pickens, Debbie Allen, Ellen Pompeo, and some other actors in which she got to break some rules and have fun.
She described the scene as “very written” but said the actors were playing around with lines because the director let them improvise.
“And Debbie was there, so she just started improvising. I’m like, ‘Well, if you’re going to improvise, I have to improvise because I can’t say my lines in response,'” Walsh recalled. “So that was just a really fun thing that we got to improvise all of us together.”
Going off-script and relying on their instincts made the scene “a lot more heated, and sort of combative, and real in this great like fresh way,” she said.
Improvising on “Grey’s Anatomy” is a rare occurrence, so Walsh was happy to take Allen’s lead. “I was like, ‘Oh, if Debbie Allen’s going to do it then I can do it. I’m just visiting,'” she joked.
Emerging from the ‘cocoon’ that is Shondaland
Walsh told Insider that she decided to partner with Systane because she had already been using the product to treat dry eyes that were causing her to have blurred vision and impacting her acting performances.
Her career began in the ’90s when she had guest appearances on notable sitcoms like “The Drew Carey Show.”
She said that as she gets older, one of the ways she takes care of her body is by eating for energy most of the time.
“And I still like to have a cheeseburger and fries, but it’s also just, ‘Oh, when I eat [something healthier] I’m going to have more energy, and I’m going to feel better, and I won’t have a blood sugar plummet, and then subsequently have a mood swing,'” she said. The actor, who currently spends a lot of time in Australia, also limits her coffee intake and prioritizes work/life balance.
But unlike many female entertainers in Hollywood who have spoken about the issue, Walsh, 54, said she hasn’t experienced much ageism through the years.
“Just a lot of rejection as an actor, especially as a young actor. You just have to develop a thick skin because you’re competing, and competing, and competing, and there’s a lot more losses than wins,” she said.
Walsh is aware that she’s “very lucky” to continually work for people who “were my cheerleaders.”
She named Judd Apatow, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and of course Shonda Rhimes as a few of the many who believed in her and “just happened to be writing great roles for women that are comedic, and dramatic, which is my sweet spot, I think.”
“And I think when I came out of that cocoon of Shondaland a little bit, I was like, ‘Ah, oh, there’s still sexism. Oh, okay,'” Walsh said. She’s also relied on a strong worth ethic, street smarts, and a clear sense of self to help her navigate the industry.
“Grey’s Anatomy” returns from hiatus May 5 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.