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Women We Love: Kerry Washington Talks Scandal With ETOnline
After a very successful first season and it’s recent 6/12 DVD release, the lovely Kerry Washington, who is currently rumored to be in the running for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Emmy Nomination, talks with ET Online about what it is like playing Olivia Pope on the TV show and filming with Shonda Rhimes.
ETOnline: Shonda is notoriously secretive about her shows, coming from film, where you get the whole script up front, have you liked finding out about your character in pieces?
I have — but it also makes for funny moments. For example, when we got the script where we meet Cyrus’ husband, everyone was like, “Oh my God! Cyrus is gay!” [laughs] We were so excited. But I got that script even before [actor Jeff Perry, who plays Cyrus] did, so I was reading it while we were still working on the last episode and we were filming the scene where Cyrus and Olivia are eating shrimp scampi together. The whole time, all I could think was, “You don’t even know that you are gay! You are so gay and you don’t even know.
ETOnline: What is it about Olivia Pope that you were drawn to?
She is such a complex, multifaceted person. And that she performs her identity in different ways, in different contexts. I think we all do that. We all have a version of ourselves that we take to Christmas dinner, versus who we are on a first date. She has that in a very extreme way because she is privately is so different than who she has to be publicly. Playing her requires every tool in my toolbox, and that’s the greatest joy for any actor.
ETOnline: Looking at Olivia’s journey as a whole, what presented you with the biggest challenge?
They both happened on one night – one was physical and the other was psychological. Intimate scenes are always really hard for me. It’s just so uncomfortable. There’s nothing sexy about it, but you have to make it look like the sexiest moment of your life despite it being just so awkward. Then there’s that moment when Fitz tells Olivia to go into the room, and he gives her that choice — Olivia chooses to go into the room and begin a sexual relationship with this man. That was a really tricky moment for me. The decision to do something that is not necessarily “ethical” but her whole being is telling her it’s the right thing to do. I’m so grateful that Shonda put the decision in Olivia’s hands. I didn’t want her to fall prey to the seduction of a man. She chose to do something that would complicate her life immensely. And does it soberly – so to figure out how to justify that psychologically was very tricky for me.