Grey's Anatomy star Giacomo Gianniotti teases details of season 17's coronavirus storyline
If and when Grey's Anatomy returns to production, the onscreen reality is going to look an awful lot like our own.
Showrunner Krista Vernoff previously confirmed that the medical drama will tackle the coronavirus pandemic in its upcoming 17th season, and now star Giacomo Gianniotti has offered some new, albeit vague, details of what that might look like.
"We're going to start the season about a month and a half into full COVID, so it's going to take place a little bit beyond where we left off with the last season," Gianniotti said in an interview with ET, though he noted has not received any season 17 scripts yet. "We might have some flashbacks. We might have some things where we're referencing last season, just to give us some context leading up. But we are going to have a little leap when we start this season in terms of time. We're not picking up right where we left off."
Season 16 concluded with episode 21 as a makeshift season finale, as the pandemic cut production short, with four additional episodes left unproduced. "I do think we have to reset, I don't know to what degree," Vernoff told EW of the next season. "We certainly can't just shoot what was going to be [episode] 22 and make it the premiere because it wasn't designed as a premiere... So for sure we're going to have to reconsider a lot of things."
In the ET interview, Gianniotti also discussed the show's potential return to production, saying the hope is to begin shooting the new season in September. "Our producers are all rapidly trying to implement all of these protocols to keep everybody safe. We're obviously going to be tested multiple times a week and sort of separated in zones. We're going to have a lot less personnel on set," the actor said, adding that the cast and crew will be wearing full personal protective equipment, or PPE.
"We're uniquely lucky that we get to wear PPE because we play doctors, so for other shows that aren't in the doctor world I really feel for them because that's an added challenge that they have to face," he added.
In addition to the timely subject of the coronavirus, Gianniotti said season 17 may also address the recent Black Lives Matter protests that have arisen across the nation in the midst of the pandemic. "I'm just speculating at this point — all the writers and producers have said they're really interested in telling the stories of everything that has been going on with the Black Lives Matter movement during this time... They're very interested in telling people those stories," he said.