Kerry Washington: Intimidated at meeting Sonda Rhimes for ‘Scandal’

“Working in Shondaland,” is a “total rollercoaster ride” laughs Kerry Washington about working for Shonda Rhimes on ABC’s “Scandal,” which just concluded its seven episode first season and has been renewed by ABC for a second season.

“I’d never met Shonda before going in to meet with her for this role, and when I got off the elevator, there was this huge sign that said 'Shondaland',” recalls Washington, who laughs “I was a little intimidated and nervous!"

Headlining her first TV series, Washington is thrilled to be working for the prolific showrunner. “My whole career people have always said to me ‘what would be your dream role?’ and ‘what would be the movie that you would die to do?’” says Washington, adding that she has, “never really had an authentic answer until [now] … so now I have to come up with a new dream job!”

In “Scandal,” Washington plays Olivia Pope, a formidable and razor sharp crisis management guru heading up Pope & Associates, her firm of “gladiators in suits,” who the powerful and influential elite come to in times of crisis, and who has her own personal connections with the White House and more specifically with the President of the United States.

It’s a change of pace for Washington, who is most renowned for her work on films such as “Ray,” “The Last King of Scotland,” “Mother and Child” and Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming “Django Unchained.”

In a video chat with Gold Derby, Washington says television is such a draw for so many actors because, for her, “TV is the best of both worlds. It’s the things I love most about doing theater, in that you can stay with the character for a longer period of time and get closer and closer to the bone of who that character is, but [on the other hand] I love the intimacy of on-camera work and the technical challenges of working on film … you get to have the family and camaraderie of a theater company but still get the new material every day aspect of film.”

Put simply, “the writer is king in TV" she says. "Or in our case, the writer is queen!”

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UPLOADED May 24, 2012 11:38 am