Well this is certainly interesting. It wasn’t too long ago when television was “where movie stars go to die,” but now actors, writers, and directors are flocking to the small screen for its more creatively free and ambitious longform storytelling. And we can add one more unlikely traveler to the list: Denzel Washington. But the Academy Award-winner isn’t heading to TV as an actor, he’s coming as a director, and the series of choice may surprise you.
Per TV Line, Washington has signed on to direct the ninth episode of Grey’s Anatomy’s upcoming 12th season. This marks a very curious change of pace for Washington, who previously helmed the feature films Antwone Fisher and The Great Debaters. Why choose Grey’s Anatomy and not some prestige cable drama? Washington is apparently longtime friends with Grey’s executive producer/director Debbie Allen, so that relationship may have something to do with his choice. But it’s a fascinating development nonetheless.
Shonda Rhimes’ soapy medical drama is still going strong, ratings-wise, in its 12th year, even as Rhimes continues to toy with fans’ emotions by killing off beloved characters. But the ABC drama has been surprisingly light on “special guest directors” throughout its run. Washington is certainly the most high-profile name to take the helm, so it’ll be interesting to see if the subject matter of his particular episode is something he responded to.
As an actor, meanwhile, Washington most recently wrapped Antoine Fuqua’s Western remake The Magnificent Seven and is poised to reprise his starring role in The Equalizer 2, which has been slated for release in 2017.