Katherine Heigl was considered “difficult” 10 years ago for calling “cruel” working conditions on the set of Grey’s Anatomy, and now she’s opening up to it
You may remember when about 12 years ago Grey’s Anatomy Actress Katherine Heigl was all over the entertainment news because she was “difficult,” and in hindsight she was, uh, not. Heigl has spoken up and said some things that they wrongly labeled at the time she was just trying to stand up for herself and the crew on set, but now she’s “aged to give a shit” and opens up again to defend film crews and the conditions under which they have to work.
Heigl’s most recent post supports the IATSE strike, in which the actress and other famous names come together to fight for fair working conditions for film crews.
Heigl begins by telling what the crew on their film and television sets meant to them as someone who has spent the past 31 years in the industry. “I grew up on film sets and the crews that I was always surrounded by were kind of family to me,” she writes.
She notes how big and small one person from a crew has influenced their life over the past few decades. âI’ve had ADs and PAs who went out of their way to make me smile or laugh, or to relieve the tension and stress of the long hours on set. I had transport drivers who told me their stories and I told them. I celebrated life’s big and small milestones with my crews. First real love. Wedding. Babies. I’m going to be 21. I’m going to be 30. I’m going to be 40. The crews I have worked with over the years have made me who I am just as lastingly and importantly in my life. “
And that’s why Heigl is now so vehemently committed to her.
“Some of you may remember that over a decade ago I spoke very loudly about the absurdity of the working hours crews and actors were forced into by production,” she continues. âEven Diane Sawyer interviewed me and wasn’t so kind to tell me that ‘no one feels sorry for you’. I got very public and kicked the ass many, many years later for speaking out. “
“We make entertainment,” she continued in the comments. âWe neither solve world hunger nor do we cure cancer. We tell stories. When production goes into the 14th hour and beyond, ask our crews to go home tired as a bone. “
Heigl points out the real dangers of a long-term crew. “The number of people who fell asleep behind the wheel is staggering,” she wrote. âThe number of accidents that happen on set due to exhaustion is shocking. Both mental and physical illnesses have disappeared from the charts. There’s nothing glamorous or sexy about working past the point of exhaustion. “
It recognizes the differences between its opening years ago and now. “The first time I spoke, I was speaking on behalf of myself and my crew on Grey’s,” she said. âToday it’s a little different for me. I am in the fortunate position of being able to say no. Turning down a job if it takes more than I can take. And in all honesty … I’ve kind of aged when I annoy people by setting boundaries that protect my health, my mind and my work. “
Heigl is referring to comments she made during an appearance in 2009 The Late Show with David Letterman about working conditions Grey’s Anatomy. She said to Letterman, âOur first day back was Wednesday. It was – I will keep saying that because I hope they are embarrassed – a 17-hour day that I consider cruel and mean. “
But now she is using her voice unequivocally to advocate better working conditions for the hardworking people who have meant so much to her during their careers. âSo this post is not for me. It’s for the crew. It is for my family from another mother. I have the privilege of working with the champions and support systems and talented bad asses. I’m at IATSE. It is time that reasonable and fair working conditions, wages and hours were more than a priority, they must be the norm. Period. To all of the crews on all of the sets in this great big world of us. I support you. I stand by you. I thank you. Not a broadcast. Not a movie. Can exist without you. “