Ellen Pompeo has just become the highest-paid actress in Hollywood - and to celebrate she's given a hilariously frank and often explicit interview.

Pompeo, who's set to earn US$20 million (NZ$27.3m) a year for her role as Meredith Grey on hit medical drama Grey's Anatomy, calls out the studio that makes the show for drafting in Kiwi actor Martin Henderson in the interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

Henderson, best known here for his role in Shortland Street, played surgeon Nathan Riggs for three seasons of Grey's Anatomy after the exit of Patrick Dempsey, a long-running star known as "McDreamy".

Pompeo says the studio rushed to replace Dempsey with Henderson, and she couldn't believe how fast they signed him up.


"The ink wasn't even dry on his exit papers before they rushed in a new guy. I was on vacation in Sicily ... and they're calling me, going, 'What do you think of this guy?' 'What do you think of this guy?' And they're sending pictures.

"I was like, 'Are you people f***ing nuts? Why do you feel that you have to replace this person?' I couldn't believe how fast the studio and the network felt like they had to get a penis in there.

"We brought in Martin Henderson, but they didn't love the storyline, so that ended."

Ellen Pompeo and Martin Henderson in a scene from Grey's Anatomy. Photo/Getty
Ellen Pompeo and Martin Henderson in a scene from Grey's Anatomy. Photo/Getty

Pompeo also claims she once tried to charm Weinstein during a meeting in his hotel room.

The 49-year-old actress revealed she once met the disgraced Hollywood producer in a hotel and admitted she'd have lashed out if he'd "tried anything" with her, though she understood she'd need to get on his good side.

She recalled: "I went right up to his room at the Peninsula, which I would never normally do, but Harvey was a New York guy, so it made sense. Plus, it was in the middle of the day, and he had an assistant there. He didn't try anything on me.

"Had he, I'm a little rough around the edges and I grew up around some very tough people, so I probably would have picked up a vase and cracked him over the f***ing head. But I also feel completely comfortable saying that I walked into that room batting the s**t out of my eyelashes.

"My goal in that room was to charm him, as it is in most rooms like that. You think, 'Not only do I have to show that I'm a good actress, but that director also has to in some way fall in love with me and at least become enamored with me'."

Ellen Pompeo and Martin Henderson on the set of Grey's Anatomy. Photo/Getty
Ellen Pompeo and Martin Henderson on the set of Grey's Anatomy. Photo/Getty

But Pompeo admitted it never "felt right" and she even confronted her agents years later about the situation.

She added in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter: "That never felt right or good to me. And I've had conversations with my agent 17 years later where I said, 'You sent me into that room knowing ...' They claim they didn't know."

Pompeo believes that the fallout from the Hollywood sex scandal, which led to the launch of the Time's Up campaign, justified her decision to seek a pay rise to US$20m per season.

Speaking in reference to the initiative - which is designed to fight sexual harassment and abuse - Pompeo shared: "In the last few weeks, a lot of us actresses in town have been having these meetings [as part of the Time's Up initiative]. We've been sharing stories and trying to figure out how we can promote change and use our voices to help other people.

"And I'll tell you, sitting in rooms full of Oscar-winning actresses listening to how they've been preyed upon and assaulted is frightening. And it confirmed that my path really was the right one for me, because I've chosen to financially empower myself so that I never have to be ducking predators and chasing trophies."

Pompeo has received plenty of praise for her candid interview style.

* Read the full interview here.

- Bang! Showbiz