Chandra Wilson: Actor first, director later

Updated: Oct 09, 2019, 12:58 IST | Letty Mariam Abraham

Chandra Wilson aka Dr Bailey discusses her dual role on one of the longest-running series, Grey's Anatomy

Chandra Wilson. Picture courtesy/ABC Studios
Chandra Wilson. Picture courtesy/ABC Studios

We started out thinking we were just doing season one. None of us imagined [back then] that we would be doing season 16 some day," laughs Chandra Wilson, aka the disciplined yet doting Dr Miranda Bailey to most of us. At a time when long-running soap operas have become all but extinct and the digital medium has become the new playground, Grey's Anatomy continues to be a juggernaut in the world of television. The 16th season of the Ellen Pompeo-led medical drama released last week, making it one of the longest running primetime shows. If Pompeo as Meredith Grey has been the face of the medical drama, Wilson — as a member of the main cast — has been an integral part of the series that airs on Zee Cafe.

Wilson acknowledges that she has been fortunate to find an enduring character in Bailey. The show's biggest victory, she says, is that it touches on pressing subjects through its key players. "My character was shown to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. It grew stronger as she came into her own. It was an interesting plot twist pertaining to mental health. Advocating mental health [through the show] was a wonderful idea," she emphasises.

When she is not running the hospital in front of the camera, Wilson often takes her place behind it — after all, few know the material of Grey's Anatomy as intricately as she does. "During season four, my producers thought I should consider directing. I had never thought about it, but I was open to the idea. I helmed my first episode in season six. It has been 10 years of directing."

Ask her if she enjoys running the show more than acting, and she cuts in, "I am always an actor first. I grew up knowing this is what I wanted to do. Directing is a different kind of experience. I am constantly learning, growing and trying new things."

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