“He’ll do whatever he can to get her back.”
“Olivia and Fitz are the real deal.”
POPSUGAR: What can you tell us about what’s coming up on Scandal?
Tony Goldwyn: I can tell you that the show completely shifts gears in this week’s episode. Shonda [Rhimes] goes in a whole new direction she’s never gone in before. It’s pretty outrageous. We’ll obviously get much more into what happens to Olivia and what the impact is on Fitz and the White House. It’s going to have an interesting impact on Fitz and Mellie’s relationship.
PS: Do you personally think Fitz is worthy of Olivia?
TG: Yeah I do, absolutely. Pretty much all of the mistakes that Fitz has made are due to his blindness about Olivia. And vice versa with Olivia; that’s true both ways. If they could cut through all the garbage that stands in their way in terms of their baggage and the circumstances of their lives, they could have an incredibly healthy, productive, powerful relationship. They are the best versions of themselves when they’re with each other. They’re both flawed human beings — well, Fitz definitely is — but he’s demonstrated that he’s willing to give up everything for her.
PS: Will we get to see Fitz and Jake interacting more?
TG: You’ll definitely see them interacting more, for sure. The loss of Olivia becomes a common problem.
PS: Can we expect any Fitz dance moves?
TG: I have no idea. I’m hoping there’s not a Fitz-Jake dance-off. I had to direct Jake’s dance scene, so I guess he owes me one. It was so much fun to direct that episode, and I thought Scott [Foley] did a pretty great job. I definitely think that’s more of a Jake-Olivia thing, but who knows? Shonda likes her dancing. Well, she likes her dancing men.
PS: Have you had any strange fan encounters?
TG: Yeah, a lot. The strangest was the woman who licked me on the street. That was weird. She asked if she could take my picture and she turned to kiss me while the picture was being taken, and I turned my head going, “Whoa, that’s not happening.” And she licked my neck instead. Then she took her camera and said “thank you” and walked away.
PS: Besides Scandal and your fellow TGIT shows, what do you watch on TV?
TG: I love The Americans, House of Cards, The Blacklist, and Downton Abbey, of course.Homeland is brilliant.
PS: On a scale of one to 10, how excited were you to see George Clooney on Downton Abbey?
“This gets much more complicated. Without telling you what happens, it takes a turn that even Andrew could never have expected,” Foley teases. “I’ve been in this business a long time, I’ve read a bunch of scripts … and these writers have a way of putting my jaw on the floor. I’m constantly amazed, not just by how much story they’re able to cram into every episode, but by the way in which they do it — the boundaries that they push and everything. I did not see this coming. It’s not necessarily shocking, but it’s a very smart play. I think that’s what makes the show legitimate. There’s a lot of things we do where you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s just ridiculous.’ But then you realize, ‘Oh, my God, that makes sense!'”
“She chose herself and then was going to get it on with Jake! On the piano. Because she had never done it on the piano before. I think that’s the hook,” he says. “‘I’m choosing myself and I’ve never done it on the piano before and you happen to be here, so let’s do it.’ If Fitz were there, maybe it would’ve been Fitz. … She’s always kept [Jake], which the exception of the time they spent on the island, sort of in this suspended state of maybe, maybe not. And what’s interesting about Jake is he’s OK with that. He’s so confident with himself and the belief he has that these two should be together, he’s OK being in the back for the time being or letting her take her space. He thinks she’ll figure it out. … He has this belief in the Republic, he has this belief in B613 and what they do, he has this belief in him and Olivia, and damn anything else.”
“I don’t know what Shonda has up her sleeve, but I think [Jake getting a new girlfriend] would be a very interesting tactical move on Jake’s part, wouldn’t it?” Foley says. “Would Olivia be jealous? … I would love for it to be Keri. Could you imagine? A couple of spies. I love that show. She could come in all ’80s with her wigs!”
ETonline: Can you tell us what kind of outfits we can look forward to when Scandal returns on Thursday?
Lyn Paolo: Gosh, that is tricky without giving the story lines away. I will say that you will see a lot of the characters on the show in new and startling new ways. You will still have those classic Scandal looks but there is a lot happening in Olivia’s world that will be unexpected.
Who or what is your inspiration for dressing Olivia Pope?
Gosh there were so many variables early on in the process of creating the image of OP, but honestly the words that Shonda Rhimes put on the page ARE the real inspiration for Olivia.
Do you base any of Olivia’s wardrobe on her mood or what’s happening on the show?
Absolutely. The challenge now is not to foreshadow events too soon within the story as our Gladiators have become so good at spotting what the costumes are reflecting … If Mellie is in green they instantly assume there is going to be a scene with Fitz and Olivia, or if Olivia is in something dark our fans start tweeting with a lot of OMG’s.
Describe Olivia’s style.
Olivia’s style evolves depending on story and mood, that being said we always strive for strength and femininity together not an either or … a combination of strong, assertive and feminine all together.
What’s your reaction to fans’ overwhelming obsession with Olivia’s outfits?
I love hearing from our Gladiators and I am truly enjoying interacting with the fans. It is lovely to see how the understanding of what a Costume Designer does is growing with our fans.
Do you have any advice for women trying to create Olivia’s look?
Know your body, find what looks good on you and stick with that. Always be true to yourself and you will have the OP swagger.
Which Olivia outfit would you want Michelle Obama to wear?
That is a tough one as I am such a huge fan of Mrs. Obama and her style. I would hope that she and the President can have a wine and popcorn break once in a while so I would love to imagine Mrs. Obama relaxing with her family in an Olivia Pope casual look at home.
How much fun was it to dress Bellamy Young during her “Smelly Mellie” stage? What kind of thought went into that?
Actually, I was in London working on a film when this incarnation of Mellie was written. Bellamy and I talked a great deal back and forth discussing ideas and I was in contact with Shonda about the look because we wanted to get it just right. I had found some images that I loved and after Shonda and I talked we decided this Mellie should feel eccentric … not dirty or disgusting. She just did not care what people thought of her anymore. So we combined aged items with super elegant robes by designers like Meng, Natori and Khristine, to give that devil may care/I don’t give a damn attitude that Bellamy brought to Mellie.
The loungewear on the show has been amazing. Can you give us tips on how to stylishly pull it off?
The loungewear on the show is one of my favorites to put together. The idea of Olivia when she was “relaxing” intrigued me early on in the process. It seems to me that her mind does not relax and although she should be comfortable in her loungewear, it should still feel as luxurious as her day wear and almost feel like a uniform. I love mixing different designers, La Perla pants, Theory shell and Donna Karen, The Row or TSE knit wear. The loungewear is something I would love to bring to our Gladiators at some point in the future.
How does it feel to be nominated once again for a Costume Designers Guild Award for Scandal?
So grateful and thrilled to be chosen by my peers again. It is just the icing on the cake after such a wonderful season on the show and also having the wonderful experience of working with Kerry on the line for The Limited.
Does Jake feel responsible for Olivia’s disappearance?
I think he does. I think given his position in life, his job, his employment and the nature of who he is, I think he’s very protective of Olivia, and for that to have happened, basically under his watch, is pretty troublesome for him.
What would he go through to find her?
I think he would go through everything to find her! I can’t tell you exactly what he’s going to go through to find her!
What can we expect in tonight’s episode?
The first two back are going to jump in right where we left off, so you’re going to see what happened to Olivia, where she went, who took her, how we get her back. You’re going to see Jake working with the Gladiators to get her back, you’re going to see Fitz dealing with his Vice President, Andrew, and all the crap they’ve been dealing with. You’re going to see the return of Mellie. She’s no longer “Smelly Mellie” or “Fucked Up Mellie,” she’s Mellie and pulling strings in the White House. You’re going to see David Rosen dealing with his new job as United States Attorney General, you’re going to see Abby straddling the line between the White House and OPA [Olivia Pope & Associates] and succeeding in both. You’re going to see Cyrus helping the President out.
Why should Olivia end up with Jake over Fitz?
Why shouldn’t Olivia end up with Jake? I believe that Jake is the better choice. He’s available, he’s not married, he’s willing to give up everything. And he believes in them. However, there’s something to be said for maybe fate, maybe true love, maybe meant to be. I think Fitz and Olivia have something that is unquantifiable and no matter how far away they get from each other, they’re always going to be dealing with that.
My nickname is: I’ve always just been Katie.
The first thing I do when I wake up is: Cook breakfast, work out, and meditate.
I can’t live without: Popcorn.
If I had one week to escape: I would go back to summer camp.
If I only had $10 in my pocket: I would call my agents.
Everything tastes better with a little: Romance.
“The way we kick off the [mid]season is really exciting,” Rhimes tells The Hollywood Reporter, calling the return episode, “Run,” her “favorite episode of television” that she’s ever written and done overall. “It’s very shocking. I think it’s going to be very interesting for the audience. It’s not anything that you would expect from Scandal.”
“She was sort of healed and that Olivia, in a lot of ways, I’m wistful for her because that Olivia would have been a lot of light, fun cases,” Rhimes explains. “It would have been a season of light, fun cases. And we talked about that a lot: ‘She’s healed, it’s going to be fun again.’ Then we take all that away from her. So the Olivia that we see and the season that’s coming is — when you say who kidnaps her is going to affect the rest of the season, I don’t think it’s going to affect it in the way that you mean but I think it’s going to affect it in the fact that Olivia Pope is never going to be the same person again.”
“What I love is that Olivia is the most important person to both of them in a lot of ways, or so it seems at this point,” Rhimes says. “I can’t imagine a world in which they wouldn’t be at least attempting to work together.”
“In the midseason finale, she made her final decision: She was done. Now, we’re at a place where when we come back, the world is so changed that I don’t know that that’s a relevant question,” she says.
Kerry Washington (Olivia)
I really admire all of the hyphenates in our world —Kevin McKidd, Tony Goldwyn, Tom Verica,Chandra Wilson — the folks that are able to wear more than one hat. They’re my favorites — and the fact that we have so many hyphenates in our family is a testament that Shonda does not put people in a box; she’s not interested in limiting people but allowing people to be all of who they are.
Tony Goldwyn (Fitz)
[Scandal supervising director and How to Get Away With Murder co-star] Tom Verica because I want to work with Viola Davis! That’d be awesome.
Bellamy Young (Mellie)
I want to be Tom Verica. You get to do a little bit of everything. He seems like the shiniest coin right now!
Scott Foley (Jake)
Swapping places with [Scandal line producer] Merri Howard would be a dream. Not for me necessarily, but I think it would give her a chance to take a nap in my trailer! (Laughs.)
Darby Stanchfield (Abby)
Betsy Beers. She’s the woman behind the woman. She’s the mastermind of everything and has the most wicked sense of humor. That’s where the real stuff happens. She discoveredScandal. Everything happens behind those closed doors. She’s this quiet leader who does it so effortlessly. I know she’s like an animal underneath it all. I really admire her. It’s half development and half production — she does it all.
Jeff Perry (Cyrus)
We could make Sandra Oh‘s Cristina Yang come back for a little arc and be gay and I’d beEllen Pompeo‘s old bestie. That would be fun!
Katie Lowes (Quinn)
I’d want to trade places with the guy who plays Doucheface, Matt McGorry, on How to Get Away With Murder. Every single choice he makes absolutely kills me. He’s so freaking hilarious and fun.
Guillermo Diaz (Huck)
Tom Verica, because he’s a director for us and acting opposite Viola Davis. Come on, that’s a pretty great life.
Josh Malina (David)
I’d switch with Shonda and during that day, I would drain her bank accounts and funnel it all over to me because I’m going to go back to being me the next day (laughing). Once I’ve drained her money, I might not even do the show anymore. I’m not that dedicated to the craft of acting and once I had Shonda-level money…for instance, I don’t know why Shonda still comes to work! She has that money already! This is also an insight into, perhaps, why I will never achieve the things that Shonda or very accomplished people have. Whenever I look at a billionaire, I think, “That guy is going to work. What’s wrong with them?!”
Joe Morton (Rowan)
I haven’t seen enough of How to Get Away With Murder to include that in the answer but the obvious one is to play Viola’s part, but I’d play Tom’s part and play her husband. OnScandal, I’d love to play Fitz for a day. I’m just curious to see what that might be like.
Portia De Rossi (Elizabeth)
That’s easy: Shonda Rhimes. It’s a big job but if I could have her brain and her ability for great storytelling and her calm attitude toward all of this stuff that has been created by her that’s just crazy, I’d want to be in her shoes. Basically I want to be her, that’s what I’m saying.
“There’s a lot at stake,” executive producer Shonda Rhimes tells EW. “I love the fact that Andrew says to the president at the end of that episode, ‘What is the one thing that you would do anything to get back? What is the one thing you can’t live without?’ The idea that she is the one thing, that’s going to be a big issue. We’re talking about war. It brings on a lot of complications for Fitz and a lot of complications for Jake [Scott Foley] as well. But not just for them, pretty much for everybody. Everybody is extraordinarily affected by this situation, even David Rosen [Josh Malina].”
“She says to Jake that she’s not choosing anybody,” Rhimes continues. “Basically, ‘I want the sun and I want Vermont, so ya’ll both can be here, but I don’t really care.’ You felt a certain freedom and a certain happiness that was happening with her that felt like she was comfortable with her legacy and her heritage, but also looking into the right future. And just when all of that was good, it’s gone, or stopped or changed and we took a very strong left turn.”
“The first episode back of Scandal is my favorite episode of television I have ever done, ever written, ever worked on, ever gotten to do,” Rhimes says. “I think that it’s some of Kerry’s finest work. It’s completely different from anything. It’s so different, I don’t know how to describe it. Whatever you think Scandal is, think again.”
“Jasika is in some episodes, that’s all I’m going to say.”
“Mellie falls on Mellie’s side,” Rhimes says. “What we see of her is very surprising. The Mellie that we see when we come back and the Mellie that deals with this situation is the Mellie we’ve watched her become. She’s certainly not the Mellie that we started out with when we started this show, and certainly not the Mellie we saw at the very beginning of the season. She’s a wiser, darker Mellie who has come through the fire of her child being gone and has moved past that. She and her husband are in a very different place.”
Scandal left off with Olivia having disappeared from her living room. Do we find out how she’s been taken?
You’re going to find out something. [Laughs.] It’s going to be pretty startling. The show takes on a whole new tone with [this] episode. Shonda goes into new territory, and it’s pretty outrageous.
VP Andrew has turned out to be a nefarious villain. What is he up to?
Andrew is apparently mounting a coup! He’s blackmailed Fitz, and put Fitz into this terrible position of being forced to wage a war, for whatever the vested interests are behind this thing in Angola. Blackmailing him into sending troops to save Olivia’s life — I can’t say how Fitz is going to react, but it’s an absolutely impossible situation. It’s not giving anything away to say that Fitz wouldn’t be able to survive without Olivia. The loss of her is so devastating to him. So, I know he will do whatever he can do to get her back. Whether that means going to war — I don’t know. That’s a pretty big decision, to risk American lives for that. Andrew really has gone over to the dark side. It’s really very extreme.
Fitz doesn’t have very good taste in vice presidents, does he?
That’s for sure!
Elsewhere in the White House, Fitz also has to deal with Mellie (Bellamy Young), who is trying to carve out a bigger role for herself. Is that a problem for him?
It’s clear that she wants her shot, that she wants to be central. And I think Fitz is down with that as long as Mellie behaves herself. The problem with Mellie is that you can’t control her, she’s a loose cannon. As smart as she is, she goes off the reservation at the drop of a hat. And that’s very dangerous for Fitz. Yet, he feels tremendous guilt about her, so they have this real see-saw of a relationship. I don’t know that there’s any hope of recovering the romantic part of their marriage, but they do have a partnership of sorts, a partnership of power. It’s one where Fitz both acknowledges and really does want to foster Mellie’s best qualities, but Mellie keeps blowing it up.
At the beginning of the season, during Olivia’s time away on the beach, Fitz was committed to being a great president. Do you feel like their relationship is going to mess with that?
Yeah, the one good thing about her being gone is he’s able to have laser-like focus on his job. Since she’s come back into his life, things have gotten shakier. I don’t want to give anything away, but you ask the million dollar question: Is she his downfall as president?
They’re kind of each other’s downfall. Do you think they could ever really give each other up?
I don’t, personally, I really don’t. I really believe that if Fitz and Olivia can get through all the obstacles, real and imagined, that they could have a really great relationship. They could be really, really good for each other, but there’s so much baggage — emotional and logistical — that makes it so impossible.
When Olivia disappeared, she’d been dancing with Jake (Scott Foley). Watching it, were you kind of jealous on Fitz’s behalf?
Well, I had to direct that scene! That was very bizarre for me. [Laughs.] As the director, I’m rooting for Jake, or at least have compassion for Jake. But I’ve always had that. It’s weird, I don’t feel jealous of Jake. And Fitz doesn’t feel fundamentally jealous of Jake, because Fitz believes profoundly that Olivia loves him and that he is the answer for Olivia — and that at some level, Olivia knows it. He thinks Jake is a fantasy relationship for Olivia. It’s an escape hatch for her. He is very angry at Jake for taking Olivia away after the death of his son; he beat the crap out of him and convinced himself that Jake had ordered the murder of his son. But he and Jake have moved past that.
OK, we know you can’t spoil anything, but what can you tell us about the rest of the season?
You’re going to find out a whole lot more about this plot of Andrew’s and what went down with Olivia. Olivia is in serious danger. Fitz is very upset and faces an impossible Sophie’s Choice kind of situation. And like Shonda keeps doing with this show, it shifts gears. She’s not repeating herself; she’s exploring new territory in the relationships and characters and stories.
The whole cast is so active on Twitter, with the live-tweeting and everything. And you guys are always teasing each other. Is that what you are like on set?
Yeah, that’s what our relationships are. The way we are on Twitter is pretty much the way we are with each other in life. This cast is really tight. We’ve developed a bond that is really rare. We enjoy sharing that with the fans.
Will you be teasing anyone this week?
No, I’m usually the person who’s getting teased, and usually by Kerry Washington! And this Thursday is no joke. It is very hardcore. So, there won’t be any teasing going on.