The good news is that ABC’s twisty, crazy, mangled drama, Scandal, was renewed for another season. The better news is that show creator, Shonda Rhimes and the entire cast, including Kerry Washington were on hand for the Paley Center for Media’s 33rd Annual PaleyFest Los Angeles 2016 where television’s most acclaimed series are celebrated. Fans had the unique opportunity to preview special screenings, exclusive interviews, and listen in on first-hand, behind-the-scenes scoops from the stars and creative minds of their favorite shows.

This season has finally gone full throttle and Thursday’s episode of Scandal, entitled “I See You,” promises to be one that is cemented as a fan favorite. Don’t believe us? Check out what Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington and newly added cast member Cornelius Smith Jr. had to say when EBONY.com asked them to spill the beans about the show’s connection to our country’s current state of political affairs and will Fitz ever find out about Olivia’s deepest, darkest secret.



Shonda Rhimes on whether or not her writing is at all influenced by this year’s election…

“I will be honest and say that I’m more influenced right now by [the stage musical] Hamilton than I am by that. I’m a little bit obsessed because it’s interesting and exciting.  The election right now, it’s its own thing.  You can’t make that stuff up.”

Shonda Rhimes on how she’s adjusted Scandal’s presidential debate dialogue to be almost as absurd as the real presidential debates…

“We did have some moments where I would run back to the writer’s room the next day and go ‘there’s some dialogue we need to cross out’ because it already [actually] happened.”

Kerry Washington on the cast’s decision to endorse Hillary Clinton.

“The thing we all wanted to be really clear about was that we were making this decision as individuals.  This wasn’t some sort of order from above for us. This wasn’t Shonda telling us to do something. This was each of us making a decision to do this together and it felt really special to make that decision as a group.”

Shonda Rhimes on how she balances the story she wants to tell versus the story the fans want to hear…

“I only know how to do one thing and that’s how to tell a story. I’m not thinking of it as what do the fans want to hear? What do I want to tell? I’m just telling the story that comes out and I really don’t know how to do anything else. It’s really about where these characters are going and what story are they telling me to tell.  Literally, I’m just telling the story that’s there for me. I don’t know how to do it any other way.”

Kerry Washington on her thoughts about Olivia Pope’s final days…

“The question feels so foreign to me because at no point in these five years has any decision that Olivia made has been because of something that I wanted.  It has always been because of who Olivia is in the brains of these writers. So I don’t feel like I have that control over her. She’s very real to me, which will make me sound crazy, and I feel like my job is to witness her and hold a very non-judgmental space for her while allowing her to be who she is.  I want her to fully be on her journey and somewhere down the line, I’d like for her to be whole– not too soon, but I want her to be whole and yet, I don’t have an attachment of what that looks like.” 

Cornelius Smith Jr. on transforming his character, Marcus Walker into a gladiator…

“You see how Marcus is fighting to set the bar and they’re fighting to remove it. And so it’s just really great to see a crack in the armor, even if it’s a tiny crack. Marcus will keep fighting I imagine and we’ll start to see even more cracks.”

Shonda Rhimes on what we can expect happening with actor Guillermo Díaz’s character, Huck…

“I think he’s coming around to being a different person. He’s evolving this season and there’s been a lot of darkness for him but I think he’s trying to be a better person. 

Shonda Rhimes on who inspires her writing…

“It’s the people you work with and the ideas you hear. Sometimes, it’s songs on the radio or a phrase someone may say on the elevator.  It’s everything.”

Shonda Rhimes on whether or not Fitz ever finds out about Olivia’s abortion…

“My question is does he need to?”

Shonda Rhimes on if she could play any role on Scandal, who would it be?

“I can’t pick anybody because I’m already everybody.”

Scandal airs Thursday nights at 9:00PM EDT on ABC 



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