Tuesday, December 4, 2007

CBC: Sandra Oh muses on writers' strike, Grey's truncated season

Sandra Oh receives the international achievement award at the 2007 Crystal Awards in Toronto on Monday.

Sandra Oh may look every inch the Hollywood star, stylishly dressed in head-to-toe black save for a chunky grey knit shawl, but get her talking about the ongoing screenwriters strike in Hollywood and her Canadian sensibility comes blasting through.

"There are some Canadian crew members on Grey's Anatomy and myself and the Canadian crew are talking about the strike in a way that is much more socialist-based than the Americans," the 36-year-old actress said in an interview with the Canadian Press Monday in Toronto.

U.S. film and TV writers are entering the fifth week of a strike that centres on how they will be compensated for work broadcast over the internet and cellphones.

"We get the point. We're like: 'Absolutely you have to strike.' This is the most important industry strike ever. It speaks tremendously to how the media is run globally now, and the rights of thousands and thousands of workers. I am really hoping that the producers come to the table and are fair to the writers."

Oh was in town Monday to be honoured for her work by the Women in Film and Television organization with this year's CTV International Achievement Award.

It was a good day for the Ottawa-based Oh family — Oh's beaming parents were on hand to watch their daughter get feted by her Canadian peers while her brother, Raymond, was spending the day doing his final oral exam for his PhD thesis in medical genetics at the University of Toronto.

"I am extremely proud of him," Oh said, crediting her South Korean-born parents with their children's successes. Her sister, Grace, is a B.C. Crown attorney.

"They were extremely loving parents but they were also really, really disciplined. They were tough on us. Their expectations were high; they're still very high."

First role in CBC movie

Oh's acting career began in the early 1990s when she beat out hundreds of other actresses for the coveted title role in the CBC movie The Diary of Evelyn Lau.

Since then, she's been pretty much unstoppable, starring in films like Sideways and Under the Tuscan Sun before landing the part of the ferociously ambitious Cristina Yang on the ABC powerhouse hit Grey's Anatomy.

She's won both a Golden Globe and a Screen Actor's Guild award for the portrayal.

She's delighted with the direction being taken by her heartbroken character this season. Cristina was left at the altar by her former boyfriend, played by Isaiah Washington, and now she's butting heads with his female replacement, Dr. Erica Hahn (Brooke Smith).

"I really think the show is about women and hopefully it will keep exploring what it's like to be a female doctor. I am hoping their relationship will delve into that," Oh said.

"It's interesting, whatever's going on there — it's a good obstacle for Cristina, because she's so driven. What do you when you're like Cristina and suddenly you have a huge obstacle in your path?"

Pre-strike, the Grey's set was calmer this year than it has been in the past, Oh said.

"I think that has to do with being in season four, and the popularity of Grey's cresting and finding a good foothold because it was madness for a couple of years, it really was. I think people are now managing their stress levels a lot better."

Oh said she's not too concerned that viewers may forever tune out of Grey's if the strike drags on for a long time.

"Grey's is really strong and we have a loyal following. If anything, hopefully we can tell them we want to bring you the show, but write to Disney."

For now, Oh said she's simply delighted to be back home for a few days and is revelling in that most dreaded of Canadian institutions — winter.

"Stepping out into that Ottawa air — it was like a winter wonderland, there was all this beautiful snow," Oh said of her arrival in Canada a few days ago.

Source: cbc.ca
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