During our recent webcam chat (watch below), “Scandal” star Kerry Washington, who plays Olivia Pope, a political crisis management expert having an affair with President Fitz Grant (Tony Goldwyn), revealed her favorite episode from the recently concluded third season: “I feel like the season finale was definitely an episode that challenged Olivia, there were a lot of ups and downs in that one for sure.”
As she explained, “The whole season was such a really dark, dark season for Olivia and turned the character upside down for me. I was still playing this strong woman that I’ve grown to love, [but] she’s really gone deep into the cave of her own understanding by having to face her own mother and father and her own dark history.”
Olivia learned that that her parents Rowan (Joe Morton) and Maya (Khandi Alexander) were behind much of the treachery that beset the country. The actress admitted that the deeds of Rowan came as a shock to her: “I didn’t know anything about that final beat and how truly evil my father could be until we were sitting at the table read, reading it out loud.”
Washington readily acknowledged that the fast-paced shooting schedule meant “for me personally, it’s been really great because it’s such a huge challenge, I’m a bit of a control freak when it comes to preparing for work, and with our show you have to really be in the moment. You have no idea what the end is; you really have to surrender to the writers and to the process and to the moment.”
Another challenge was juggling her workload on “Scandal” with her pregnancy. “The thing I was most concerned about was wanting to honor this character because she has a particular look and a way of being. And I was going through this very magical physical experience that Olivia was not. So I had to be responsible to both my work life and my personal life, and that was a challenge to show up fully and still embody Olivia while not sharing a physical body with myself. It’s the kind of challenge that I like because I work very physically as an actor. So I needed to find new ways to access her on some days and I just have to try to still embody that essence of who she is despite our growing differences.”
As for that on-and-off-again relationship with Fitz and where they might be heading, she allowed, “I understand the role Fitz plays in their heart and in her life. I get that they really really want to be together, so it’s hard not to want that for them. But I also really trust the show, and I think it’s possible that there could be a better answer for them. We think we know what’s best for us, and life shows up with a different answer. So I don’t know what’s best for Olivia. I just want her to eventually be happy.”
Will Washington earn a second straight Emmy nomination as Best Drama Actress? After watching our chat, use the easy drag-and-drop menu below to make your predictions.