Smith has often seemed on the brink of a career breakthrough, never more so than in 2008. After joining Weeds, She reconnected with Parker, a close friend in her 20s, and had been considering adopting a child. (She had previously given birth to her first daughter in 2003). Parker suggested that Smith begin the process, having learned how long it could take. “I was like, ‘Yeah, but I don’t have a steady job. I don’t look good on paper, ‘”Smith recalls. The next day, “literally!”, He landed his first series regular gig on red-hot. Grey’s Anatomy, after repeating himself for two years as workaholic Dr. Erica Hahn. She was approved to adopt her second daughter shortly after. A lucky moment, from Smith GrayThe term was infamously short: she was fired after seven episodes.
The abrupt exit marked a dizzying week in the television news. Smith confirmed it Grey’s exit through an interview with Weekly entertainment, just three days before its last episode aired. The quick and sharp public outcry was due to the fact that Erica was gay; her romance with Sara RamirezCallie Torres, a significantly progressive story for network television at the time, would disappear without closure. (Reports circulated that the reorganization was apparently part of an effort by ABC to downplay the gay-themed stories on the show; Shonda rhimes He rejected those claims, calling it a “chemistry” problem. It’s been 13 years and “no one has told me to this day exactly why I was fired,” Smith says now. “I remember back then I felt like, ‘Oh, this is a hit, popular kids have hired me and they’re going to find out I’m not a cheerleader, everything’s going to end badly,’ and then he was kind of like.”
Grey’s Anatomy marks Smith’s longest run on a show, with 25 episodes in all, but he’s mostly forgotten about it. (“Actually, I don’t remember any episode. I remember we once had a man in cement”). What she hasn’t forgotten: the experience of being fired, apparently at the behest of executives she never knew. . “Now I get very nervous every time I have a table reading,” she says. “The people in the suits [are] there, you really don’t know who they are, and I say, ‘What’s going to happen?’ ”. She still has a “school jitters,” which surprises me, given how frankly she’s currently discussing her inner workings) in the context of awards. “I certainly don’t want anyone to think that I’m biting the hand that feeds me,” he clarifies. “I hope they are not angry.”
Smith carries the ragged wisdom of a showbiz expert. She understands disappointment intimately. “You have to have such tough skin to protect yourself because you are rejected all the time; I was rejected last night,” she says. “There was a part that I really wanted and I thought I had it and then damn if I didn’t get it.”
Old relationships continue to define new career stages. Smith recently reunited with his old stage partner. Holland Taylor, who I haven’t seen since they co-starred in the 1995 ensemble movie Last summer in the Hamptons on the set of the Fox News film exposé Bomb. A crucial scene, in which Roger Ailes (John lithgow) realizes that his company will no longer defend him against allegations of sexual misconduct, ends unusually, in a look shared between Smith, who plays the network’s communications director, and Taylor, who plays Ailes’ assistant. “It didn’t say anywhere in the script that we were supposed to have a moment, but everyone left the scene and we just stood there, looking at each other,” reveals Smith. “I was thinking, my God, Holland.”
Flash-forward two years later: Taylor boosted Smith Big sky Emmy campaign last month, tweeting, “What a brilliant and unique actress you have always been, Brooke … it’s time to understand each other.” Another social media advocate: Smith’s Big sky spouse, John Carroll Lynch. Is this finally your moment? The self-advocacy effort developed out of a sincere desire to ensure that voters reached at least lake his performance, but support for an entire body of unannounced work is also there, lurking. Smith knows you’ve seen her out there, even if you can’t place her, and he knows that excuse wears off a bit after a while.
“Is it because this is the year everyone was trapped in their houses and had to watch me?” she asks with a laugh before a pause, almost pondering the question herself. “Maybe now is the time. Who knows? “
More great stories from Vanity fair
– How the 2021 Emmys will define one of television’s weirdest and most important years
– We are predicting the winners of the Oscar 2022. What can go wrong?
– VF Portraits: Gillian Anderson, Hugh Grant, Jurnee Smollett and more
– Are daytime Emmy nominations weirder than usual?
– Kate Winslet has now entered the most exciting acting career of the Emmys
– From the archive: Who stole the Oscars 2000 statuettes?
– Sign up for the “HWD Daily” newsletter for industry coverage and must-read awards, plus a special weekly edition of Awards Insider.