Cracking The Clean Up Whip With Sass And Class!
By Rych McCain, International/Nationally Entertainment Columnist
|Kerry Washington (Photo by Richard Cartwright for ABC-TV)|
The new ABC-TV Network Drama Series “Scandal” is based off of the real life exploits of Judy Smith, an African American attorney with a legal and public relations background. Smith has served as an Assistant United States Attorney and Special Counsel to the US Attorney of The District of Columbia as well as being appointed as Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H.W. Bush. Her distinguished professional track record and experience in both the legal and PR field equipped her to hone her God given talent to “fix” sticky political situations. She started Smith & Company, a Strategic and Crisis Communications Firm and has handled major clients, corporations and foreign governments who had messy situations that needed cleaning up. In “Scandal,” Smith is portrayed as Olivia Pope played by sexy, sassy and classy Kerry Washington.
The show was created by another African American sistah, super writer/producer Shonda Rhimes who also wrote and created “Gray’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice.” The real life Judy Smith is an attractive, no-nonsense, sexy lady with brains, wit, class and style so it was a natural that Washington got the part because she personifies all of those same qualities. Washington is a native New Yorker from The Bronx and received her BA degree in Theater from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She has an impressive array of TV, Film and Broadway credits under her belt and is considered to be one of the sexiest, in-demand actresses in tinsel town. “Scandal” airs on ABC, Thursdays 10/9 C and is destine to be a major hit!
How did Washington land the lead role of such an unusual show? She explains, “The script was sent to me by my agent but I really wasn’t looking to do a television show at the time but I fell in love with the writing and with the world of the show and with the complexity of the character.” How much has Washington conferred with the real Judy smith? She lights up, “I’ve actually spent quite of bit of time with her. She’s a producer on the show and she’s very hands-on. My research is really important to me when I’m developing a character and working on material. So I’ve spent a lot of time with Judy and talked with her about the brain of a crisis manager, how to think strategically and her perspective, her own ethical line and how she draws them. You know, all of that kind of stuff.”
The on screen Olivia Pope is tough as nails. Is the real Judy as mean in real life? Washington laughs, “Judy is not but it’s debatable whether Olivia is. If you really look at every moment that she’s been very firm with somebody, it’s been for their own best interest. She hasn’t been cool. She’s been honest with people about the consequences that are possible if they don’t approach a situation in a way that she thinks is best and smartest. She’s not a cool person.” It is indeed a rare occasion when an African American stars in their own major network show and it is NOT a comedy! Does Washington feel like a TV historical pioneer or trailblazer breaking this kind of ground? She is very modest and replies, “You know me. I just really just try to stay focused on the work of it and not think too much of that kind of stuff. I really don’t have control over any of those kinds of details. I just try to stay focus on what I can have an impact on which is the work itself.”
“Scandal” is on course to make Olivia Pope very popular. Is Washington prepared to be known as Olivia for life? She laughs again, “I’ve really been blessed. I’ve had a great career. I just want to be able to play lots of different roles and lots of different people. I’m happy to play Olivia Pope for as long as the public will let me, for as long as the people support the show. But I’m also thrilled that this opportunity to play her comes after a career where I’ve already had the honor and privilege to establish myself in a range of roles already. So I’m really thrilled to add this character to my resume and to my life experience.”
Rych McCain Media/Syndication tm
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