As viewers soak up the aftermath of an assassination attempt, stars of Scandal talk plot twists and turns, Kerry Washington's role in Oscar-nominated Django versus "Olivia Pope," why Bellamy Young just loves her fake baby and more.
Jan 13 2013
By Amy Amatangelo Los Angeles, CA — Scandal fans really should brace themselves. That’s what the cast said during a visit to the show’s set in Los Angeles, just after viewers learned the fate of United States President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) following an assassination attempt.
The ABC drama has spent its second season unveiling shocking plot twist after shocking plot twist. But, according to star Kerry Washington who plays crisis management expert Olivia Pope, much more is in store.
“There are huge, huge surprises that haven’t unfolded yet,” Washington promised. “It’s really exciting. It’s hard for us to remember what we can tell you and what we can’t.”
At the heart of all the political intrigue and multifaceted conspiracies is a dysfunctional love story. President Grant – who is married to the devious First Lady Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) – shares an increasingly hard-to-hide, steamy connection with Olivia. It’s not exactly your typical TV love triangle.
“There are very few real obstacles in relationships today in television writing,” executive producer Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice) said.
“Usually it’s neurosis, as opposed to an actual obstacle, as to why two people can’t get together,” Rhimes continued. “This to me posed an actual obstacle that felt real and complex and dangerous and relevant to us.”
The marriage of President Grant (“Fitz” to those close) and First Lady Mellie is a very twisted, dark, dynamic illustration of what can happen when a union goes bad, Rhimes said, yet the two people still love each other.
“I have a lot of compassion for Mellie even when she’s doing terrible things and I have a lot of compassion for Fitz. So I really enjoy writing them because I feel like neither one of them is 100% right and neither one of them is 100% wrong.”
Washington concurs. “I think it’s great that the writers have such courage to live in the gray area,” she said. “There are no good guys or bad guys on our show. Everybody is flawed and human and trying to do the best that they can with their given circumstances.”
Many viewers have speculated that perhaps Mellie was part of the assassination plot against her husband. “Absolutely not,” Young said. “I love that man. I love that man. I wish I could have taken a bullet for him. Now as to what’s in Shonda’s mind I cannot tell you.”
Young said that the birth of Mellie’s baby is imminent but that she has loved being pregnant on the show.
“I love my fake baby,” Young said. “It gives you something to do with your hands and you can just say terrible things and rub your belly and people think, ‘I’m conflicted about what she’s saying.’”
Rhimes and the cast work hard to keep the show’s many plot developments a secret.
Rhimes knows for instance, what was on Huck’s (Guillermo Diaz) dossier that convinced the Vice President to release him. But she is not planning on telling viewers anytime soon. “I think that may be best left to the imagination,” she said. “Spoilers drive me crazy. I’m a person who likes to watch a show and not know what’s going to happen. I think there’s something great about the purity of that experience.”
Washington, who had just returned from promoting the Oscar nominated film Django Unchained internationally, has relished getting to play Olivia and Broomhilda – two diametrically opposed characters.
“Olivia in a lot of ways to me is kind of the answer to Broomhilda’s prayers,” Washington said. “I don’t think Broomhilda could have even imagined a world where a woman isn’t property but owns her own business. A woman who is not waiting to rescued but actually makes a living rescuing other people.”
While the on screen antics may be stressful, Rhimes said Scandal is the most fun she’s had in years. “We are having a blast,” she said. “The cast is like the happiest people I’ve ever met. We are having so much fun, it’s not even funny.”
Amy Amatangelo blogs at tvgal.com, is published in the Boston Herald and tweets at @AmyTVGal.
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