Sandra Oh reveals the Cristina Yang story she wanted to explore, but the show ‘I didn’t want to touch’

Let’s be honest: Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) was a blessing to Grey’s Anatomy from the moment he entered Seattle Grace. The beloved Cardio God challenged each character he encountered and reminded viewers that they are the sun of his own story. Now almost a decade since Oh left Grey’s AnatomandIt is clear that the actor did the same behind the scenes, even going to creative “convert” Shonda Rhimes while advocating for Cristina.

Shonda Rhimes talks about working with Sandra Oh on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang on ABC's
Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ | Ron Tom Walt Disney television via Getty Images / via Getty Images

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In May 2020, Rhimes revealed what it was like to work with Oh in Grey’s Anatomy in an interview with Elle.

“Sandra is intense when she is playing a role. And I mean it in the best way, “said Rhimes. He also shared that Oh came to his office every week to talk about his character.” It drove me crazy and made me very happy at the same time. Sandra wanted to do her best.

The creator of the series continued: “She could elevate everything you wrote. She is immersed and deeply concerned. You can’t have a shallow conversation with Sandra.

Even now, Rhimes admits she misses writing for Oh because of what she did for Cristina in the ABC medical drama.

“It hurted me [no longer] writing for Sandra more than anything because I [wouldn’t] see what I would do with it, “he said. “I think she chooses characters and then inserts herself into them. There are many actors who want to be nice or who want to be seen as romantic or who want to be seen as heroes. But Sandra is not interested in that. She is interested in touching the things in life. “

Sandra Oh Says ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Didn’t Want To Dive Into Cristina Yang’s Cultural Background

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When talking to Scandal‘s Kerry Washington at Variety’s Actors in Actors series published on June 26, Oh apparently confirmed Rhimes’ previous comments.

“I spent a lot of time with writers. I realized that television has to do with your relationship with the writer, “said Oh. “What I could get from Grey’s it is having the responsibility and the relationship with the writer to be able to direct where he is going ”.

She added: “If something like ‘That is completely wrong’ came up, I would go face to face with Shonda and many of the writers, which has been a challenge. But ultimately, for the whole product and our relationship, if you’re fighting for the show, if you’re fighting for your character, people can say that. ”

Later, Oh opened up on one Grey’s Anatomy story that he wanted to change involving Cristina and Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington). However, the ABC series did not want to dive.

“Most of the shows I’ve done have not been specific to Asia on purpose,” Oh said. “When we did it Grey’s, at least for the first 10 seasons, we would not talk about race. We would not go to the race. And that had a purpose. “

Oh continued: “In season 3, Burke and Cristina were getting married and there were two mothers: the Asian mother and the black mother. And I’m like, ‘Come on! There is a lot of history we can make here. But they didn’t want to touch it, for whatever reason.

Now Oh wants to do more to advocate for specific Asian stories for her character. “My interest is much more in bringing that story,” he said.

Sandra Oh talks about exploring her character’s culture in ‘Killing Eve’

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Still talking to Washington on Actors in ActorsOh shared that he is still advocating for his characters in Killing Eva. Oh explained that her character, Eve Polastri, wanted to feel “anonymous” at the beginning of season 3. So she ended up in New Malden “with the largest Korean population in the UK”.

Oh also touched on this moment during an interview with the LA Times. The actor noted that he’s been trying to bring elements of his character’s ethnicity and culture to the forefront because white Hollywood won’t.

“As my authorship of my own work has grown, I have been trying to infuse more pieces of my character’s ethnic and cultural background,” Oh said. “At the top of season 3 in Killing Evayou see Eve in New Malden [outside central London]which is actually the largest gathering of Koreans outside of Korea. “

She continued: “I wanted him to settle down in a place where Eve could try to disappear for a while. It was only a small part of the show. But I wanted to give it the flavor of that because we carry our culture, we carry our history. And typically, white Hollywood doesn’t write it. She does not write our culture, she does not write the depth of our culture. “

Oh, then he recalled an instance where he changed the sound of Eve’s footsteps in his own home, as Asian homes generally don’t wear shoes inside the home. She said:

I remember talking to the sound people. It’s like, ‘Hey guys, they’re layering the sound of me wearing shoes around the house. I don’t wear shoes My character doesn’t wear shoes. I know you don’t see your feet. But don’t get caught up in the sound of shoes in the house, because that doesn’t happen. But perhaps these people, mostly English whites, don’t know it. It’s something you may not even think is important. But it is because this is how we begin to build the nuance of a character.

Oh, I couldn’t explore Cristina’s cultural background in Grey’s Anatomy. But it seems that the actor’s voice is being heard in Killing Eva. And who knows? The ABC medical drama doesn’t seem as shy about race as it used to be. So if Oh were to reprise her role as Cristina one day, maybe Grey’s Anatomy I would consider embracing the character’s ethnicity.

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