On tonight’s episode of Scandal, Pope and Associates is back in action, this time protecting DC’s finest madam, and a rather sensitive client list that includes high profile customers who’d rather remain unnamed. It’s a race against time, but in this fast paced world, where the rapid fire dialogue is Shonda Rhimes (with a dash of Aaron Sorkin) at her best, we’re pretty sure Olivia Pope will come out on top.
If you saw the pilot of the Grey's Anatomy creator’s new ABC show, you wouldn’t be blamed for having fallen in love with Washington D.C.’s crisis manager extraordinaire. Well, get in line — because Kerry Washington, the woman who plays the “fixer” is head over heels with Olivia herself and for the next (hopefully) seven years, she’s eager to spend as much time with her character as possible.
At a panel honoring Shonda Rhimes, we caught up with Kerry about what drew her to the series, the other projects in her career that prepared her for the role, and how this dalliance with the President of the United States of America could possibly end well.
Wetpaint Entertainment: You’re in almost every scene of the show and the dialogue is intense. Can you do it for seven years?
Kerry: Yeah! Did you hear the growl in my voice? She's so inspiring, Olivia Pope. I love how complicated she is. I mean we would freak out week to week because we never know what was going to be on the next one. So we would get the new scripts and we were like, are you kidding me? This is insane, and each week would get more and more intense. And I would love to do that for seven years for 22 episodes a season. Are you kidding? That’d be awesome.
So, there’s this rather delicate relationship between Olivia and the President (Tony Goldwyn). Can it end other than badly?
Oh, you know. Anything's possible. Don't you believe in love [joking]? No, I don't know. I don't have answers for you. It's complicated.
How do you want it to end?
I want it to be whatever Shonda wants it to be because I'm on this ride, and I trust her instincts. And I just trust what she's created thus far. I feel like every day I wake up on this set, and I just strap on my seatbelt. And I throw my hands up, and I go, all right. Let's go.
What's the journey the President and Olivia are going to take over the first season?
I don't think I can really give too many spoiler alerts, but it's worth tuning in because it gets more and more complicated. And you do get to sort of have more of an understanding of their past as the season goes on as well.
In the first episode, we’re introduced to Amanda, who’s had an affair with the president. Is that an overreaching arc for the whole season?
I don't know about the whole season, but for a great deal of it, yeah.
We will soon find out that more than one of her employees has a deep, dark secret. Why do you think Olivia Pope hired people with a dark past?
I think that what Olivia Pope has done is, she has hired people who have all had their own personal experience with crisis. And so when somebody walks in the door on the worst day of their life, and they say, “Please, help me,” every member of our staff has a level of compassion and personal experience that they know how to jump in with all of their heart and all of their mind to help that person, because they've been there.
I can imagine how you being in David Mamet’s play, Race, prepared you for this role.
Oh my God, right? I would have been dead meat if I hadn't come off of that Mamet play on Broadway. Because the language is so important, and the rhythm is so important, and the specificity is so important. And TV is so athletic in the same way that Broadway is. It really requires that kind of strength and perseverance.
Check out all of Wetpaint Entertainment’s Scandal coverage.
Catch the next new episode of Scandal on Thursday, April 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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