Move over McDreamy, McSteamy is back! After making a surprise appearance during the Thursday, April 1, episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Eric Dane revealed behind-the-scenes secrets of his reunions with Ellen Pompeo and Chyler Leigh.
As Pompeo’s Meredith Grey remained on a ventilator during her battle with coronavirus on season 17 of the medical drama, she’s been visited by her fallen family and friends. After Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) and George O’Malley (T.R. Knight) stopped by, Meredith’s sister Lexie Grey (Leigh) and Mark Sloan (Dane) paid her a visit. During Thursday’s episode, the former onscreen couple, who died after a plane crash in the season 8 finale in 2012, helped Meredith wake up.
“Mark Sloan and Lexie Grey are embedded in the DNA of that show, and also literally, Lexie and Meredith share the same DNA,” Dane, 48, told Deadline after Thursday’s episode aired. “So, I think there’s a connectivity there and reminding her that, gone but not forgotten, we’re always around if you need us, and it’s too early for you to stay on the beach.”
Dane first appeared on Grey’s Anatomy during season 2 in 2006. After recurring during the rest of the season, he was promoted to a series regular during season 3. The actor remained on the series until the season 9 premiere when Sloan died following injuries he sustained in the crash.
“At its core, it’s just a great show. People connect with the characters on that show. It seemed to have found a whole new generation of viewership,” Dane told Deadline about Grey’s Anatomy’s continued success. “Shows typically will grow up with a generation, an audience, and eventually that audience will either outgrow that show or move onto something else. But with Grey’s, there’s always been an alchemy in that cast, a dynamic, a chemistry which keeps people showing up. The writing’s good. Krista [Vernoff], Shonda [Rhimes], Betsy [Beers] and now Debbie Allen’s exec producing the show. They’re so good at understanding the tone of that show and finding characters that people will invest in, and what that translates to is season 17.”
While Dane filmed with Pompeo in person, Leigh, who was filming Supergirl in Canada, appeared via a green screen for Thursday’s episode.
“Chyler was in Vancouver. So, we had to work some magic,” the Euphoria star said. “Chyler could get here but then she couldn’t get back to Canada. There was some green screen. There was a lot of me and Ellen. And Ellen an eye line. … [But] 2,000 miles of distance between us is not going to [take away] the chemistry that happens onscreen between [me and Chyler]. I know who I’m talking to, she knows who she’s talking to. And that translates.”
Grey’s Anatomy airs on ABC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET. Scroll through for the biggest takeaways from Dane’s Q&A: