“It was pretty crazy,” Stanchfield, 42, tells PEOPLE of trying to channel the show’s star. She even slipped into Pope’s signature style.
“Wearing that white coat, you can’t eat anything, you can’t sit down – it’s just impossible,” says actress, laughing.
But the biggest difference was being on the White House set.
“Over at the Olivia Pope & Associates set, we’re like middle school children,” explains Stanchfield, “Every time there’s a cut in the action, we joke and dance around, there’s show tunes and fart noises.”
At the show’s White House, the cast is understandably more serious.
“It’s more like grad school there,” she says. “The actors are studying and murmuring their lines in their own corner. It’s more like a chess game over there, but still a blast to work in.”
So what did Washington think of her understudy? “She watched from behind the monitor and gave her nod of approval,” Stanchfield recalls. “And later on she came in and joked about me taking her place, saying, ‘I do not like this at all, I protest vehemently!’ “