Grey's Anatomy actor Chandra Wilson recently sat down with The Advocate to discuss her return to Broadway as the sassy Matron Mamma Morton in the hit musical Chicago, the role that earned Queen Latifah an Academy Award nomination for her performance in the blockbuster film version.
Wilson better known to Grey's Anatomy fans as Dr. Bailey also dishes on the rumors of Grey's Anatomy cast departures, the infamous Isiah Washington scandal, whether or not she's playing up the idea that her character in Chicago is a lesbian, and her position on Proposition 8 and gay marriage.
Advocate: Particularly in the stage version, it’s suggested that Mama might be a lesbian. Are you planning to play up her butch qualities?
Chandra: That was one of the discussions that I had with the associate director. When someone new takes over a role, the company doesn't change anything from the script, but they do lay it all out there and let people take from it what they take from it. So sometimes, depending on who's playing Mama, it might sound crazy calling Mama butch. I decided that I'll give Mama her look, her walk, and her demeanor, and then I'll let the words fall where they fall.
Advocate: Ever since the infamous Isaiah Washington altercation, there always seems to be some sort of controversy swirling behind the scenes of Grey's. How do you deal with the negative media attention and also manage to stay out of it?
Chandra: We learned a long time ago to stop asking each other about things based on what we've read, because it’s generally not what’s really going on. We've learned to trust what we know: the truths that are right there at work within the cast and crew. So we do a lot of ignoring; otherwise, we'd go crazy trying to justify and dispute what’s usually just inflamed stories. But everyone has his or her turn dealing with it, so I'm sure someone’s going to dig up something on me sooner or later.
Advocate: Finally, what are your thoughts on California’s recent decision to uphold Prop. 8?
I find it so hard to believe that it passed because it's California, supposedly one of the most progressive states we have. It seems to go against everything California stands for, but I guess you can't get caught up thinking about big cities like Los Angeles and forget about the rest of the state. It's confusing to me on all levels, and for about five minutes it makes you want to be a politician so you can do something about it. I have quite a few gay couples and gay couples with children in my life. It's such an interesting issue for me because as a Christian you're told to believe certain things, but I can't get past my gut and my eyes, and I can't get past my gay friends that have more love than some heterosexual couples that I know.