Eric Dane spent six seasons playing Dr. Mark Sloan on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but the actor says he barely watched any episodes of the hit ABC series. Ever.
In a recent interview with HuffPost at Build Series, Dane revealed, “I watched three episodes of the show while I was on it.” After all, he said, “I was there when it happened, so I didn’t need to see it.”
So, it’s safe to say he doesn’t keep up with the series now. But he does keep in touch with some of his former cast members, including Ellen Pompeo and Justin Chambers. He’s also still friendly with series creator Shonda Rhimes.
“Shonda’s great,” he said. “I’m still friends with her to this day. One thing that you do with Shonda is that you don’t deviate. That’s one of the biggest lessons you learn is that you stick to the script.”
Even though he’s been off the series for five years now, Dane still gets called by his “Grey’s” nickname, “McSteamy.” But he doesn’t seem to mind too much.
“I’ve been called a lot worse,” he joked. ”It never did anything bad for me that nickname. So, I don’t mind it ... It’s not what I’m doing now, so it does get a little tiring. But it’s not something that really upsets me.”
Shortly after leaving “Grey’s Anatomy” Dane jumped into another big role. He currently stars as Tom Chandler in TNT’s “The Last Ship,” which returns for Season 4 on Sunday. The series follows what happens after a global catastrophe wipes out the bulk of the population. Dane’s character ― a Navy captain ― faced a series of changes at the end of the last season. Season 4 will pick up where that storyline left off.
“Tom Chandler left the Navy after doing something that he felt was morally way against everything he stood for. And he’s in a self-imposed exile,” Dane said.
Chandler is now in Greece living the life of a fisherman, and Dane says it’s only a matter of time before he finds some trouble, as he tends to do.
“Tom Chandler has to find his way back into the Navy, into the fray,” Dane said.
Dane says he really enjoys playing the character and can relate to some of the conflict Chandler experiences on the show. But unlike “Grey’s Anatomy,” starring in “The Last Ship” is physically challenging.
“It’s a lot of hard work. I enjoy it. But at the end of the day, you’re home and you actually feel like you worked.”
So, we have one last question: Does Dane watch episodes of “The Last Ship”?
The answer is yes.
“Sometimes they’ll be stupid enough to take my notes when I watch an episode,” he said about the show’s producers. “I always try to offer like, ’I think there’s a better take in there somewhere.’”
But he admits, it’s definitely uncomfortable seeing himself on TV, even after all these years.
“I’m not a big watcher of myself,” he said. “You start looking at things you shouldn’t be looking at that have nothing to do with anything of importance.”
“The Last Ship” returns with a two-hour season premiere this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on TNT. Check out our full Build interview with Dane below.