For Kerry Washington, appearing on “Scandal” must at times feel like somewhat of a thrill. Why? It marks an opportunity to not only play a strong, powerful woman in Olivia Pope, but lead the way when it comes to diversity on TV. It’s pretty shocking to look across the board and see just how many other series right now are currently anchored by an African-American lead. (Here’s a hint: Not many of them.)
Washington has long categorized herself as a character actor, and before she ended up landing this part (and even sometimes still), the casting process is very curious for her. Speaking inside of the new cover story for The Hollywood Reporter, here is what she had to say on the subject:
“It’s a little bit different for me because I’ll audition for something and they’ll just decide that they’re not going ‘ethnic’ with a character, which I hear a lot. People have artistic license … that’s what casting is: fitting the right look to the right character. Whereas you could maybe lose some weight, there’s not really anything I can do, nor would I want to, about being black.”
What makes Olivia and the other characters on the Shonda Rhimes series so interesting is that it’s really not so much about their race as it is the quality of their character. For example, Olivia’s storyline moving into season 3 is going to be geared by and large around whether or not she is able to escape the scarlet letter of the “other woman” that has been thrown on her.
Are you happy that Kerry now has a role this substantial, and are you hoping that “Scandal” will eventually inspire more series to cast a much more diverse palette of actors? If you want to read our most-recent debate as to whether or not Scott Foley should return to the ABC hit, all you have to do is visit the link here.