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Directing An Episode Of Grey's Anatomy Made It Easier For Giacomo Gianniotti To Part Ways With DeLuca

There are plenty of reasons why an actor may want to dip their toes into the directing pool. Possibly, it's something they always wanted to do, but acting took off before they ever got a chance. Maybe directing is something an actor has been planning to transition to later in their career, and suddenly there's an opportunity to get a first crack at it. Or maybe it's something as simple as an actor wanting to finally be in total control for once. No matter the reason Giacomo Gianniotti decided to make his directorial debut with an episode of "Grey's Anatomy," it also ended up being therapeutic for him.

Fans of Gianniotti know that the Canadian-born actor played Dr. Andrew DeLuca on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" for 136 episodes over seven seasons. The character, who had a relationship with Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), was a staple on the series since he joined the cast back in 2011. The length of his "Grey's Anatomy" residency came to a shocking close when the character tragically lost his life in Season 17, Episode 7, "Helplessly Hoping."

Dr. DeLuca went out nobly, as he was killed while trying to stop a sex trafficker. After the heroic doctor was stabbed, it seemed that he might be miraculously saved with surgery, but he ended up being the first "Grey's Anatomy" main character to die since Patrick Dempsey's shocking departure. This likely sent many fans into an emotional tailspin — a character they had invested time and emotion in suddenly gone forever. For Gianniotti himself, the conclusion of his character's run was also hard to deal with, but switching gears and sitting in the director's chair ended up being a solid remedy.

Giacomo Gianniotti was gifted a special way to say goodbye

Fans dealing with Andrew DeLuca's sudden death on "Grey's Anatomy" may not have realized when watching the show a few episodes later that part of him was still with them. That was because Giacomo Gianniotti, for the first time ever, was behind the camera, in the director's chair. Gianniotti directed Season 17, Episode 11, "Sorry Doesn't Always Make It Right," adding his first credit calling the shots to his resume. As he explained to Entertainment Weekly, this change in production position made it easier to say goodbye to the character, and the show.

When asked if directing an episode helped him get through DeLuca's exit, Gianniotti replied, "Yeah, and the whole cast knew that I was directing too, so they all knew that I was going to be spending significant time with all of them." He continued, "I knew that I was going to spend time with every single cast member on the show and get to say goodbye to them."

Gianniotti admitted that putting on the director's cap wasn't on his radar until he first began filming "Grey's Anatomy," during which he began to see other actors taking on their own episodes. "I just saw all these actors I worked with throwing their hat in the ring and doing a great job. I had always wanted to do that, but I always felt like it was like a pipe dream," he recalled. Well, that dream was lived and accomplished, and now Gianniotti has moved on with his acting career. But no matter what he does from this point on, he will always have that unique first directing experience.