A conspiracy, a presidential shooting, an election-rigging, and illicit affairs – you name it and SCANDAL’s got it. SCANDAL has become the “water cooler” show of the season and nobody can predict what crazy thing is going to happen next. Fortunately, during the recent TCA set visit, cast of SCANDAL took a few minutes to share a few teasers about what Fitz, Mellie, Cyrus, David and Huck and what may lie ahead in their collective futures.
In this last episode, we saw Fitz trying to prove that his mental faculties were intact, and then when asked by Millie about the one thing he wants, he asked for a divorce. He’s probably not going to get that, but what else would he really want at this point? Now that he’s had this “wake-up call” in his life.
TONY: Olivia Pope, obviously. He’s kind of achieved a kind of clarity with almost losing his life and he’s done playing games. He sees there’s like an opening and he uses it to just speak the truth. I think Fitz is going to become very insistent on that in every department. He’ll approach work in the same way, leadership, everything. It just going to be very straight-lines and not accepting all the political compromises, machinations, and all that.
So he will be still pursuing his one true love. But will he ever be able to forgive Olivia if he ever finds out how she got him in office?
TONY: I don’t know that answer to that.
You’re probably terrified to find that out.
TONY: Yeah, but that’s an important question.
Because everyone around him has kind of conspired to put him into office, when he though he had earned it.
TONY: It’s like Cyrus says, as a human being, no one is perfect and least of all Fitz. But his moral compass is really important to him and particularly in this office. And Olivia, he puts her on a real pedestal in that regard.
So he’s hoping he never finds out then.
TONY: I’m hoping! (Laughs)
GUILLERMO: I think he’s completely scared away from love right now. I mean, wouldn’t you be if the person you thought you loved shot the president? I think he was taking all the right steps forward in his life trying to get sober from his lifestyle, his addiction, and now that this happened. I think he’s taken 10 steps back.
Is it going to send him back into his shell again?
GUILLERMO: Yeah, which sucks for Huck. But it’s going to make for interesting storylines for the show.
Have they given you a glimpse of where those storylines may go for the rest of the season?
GUILLERMO: No, it’s a total surprise. I remember when I read the script about Huck disassembling the gun and I really thought, “Oh wow, I guess I just shot the president.” They didn’t tell me that Huck didn’t really shoot him.
As an actor, did that scare you? Like you were thinking, “I would have never done that!”
GUILLERMO: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It makes me think, “Who is this guy?” Who the character is. ‘Cause I would have never thought that he’d do that.
Like his loyalty for his country would have prohibited him from even conceiving of such an idea.
GUILLERMO: Exactly. I had a crazy theory that he may have shot the President because Olivia was getting too wrapped up and being too emotionally hurt by Fitz. So his way of severing those ties and saving her was to shoot him.
Save her by killing her true love? That would have been twisted!
GUILLERMO: Right! But it wasn’t that, thankfully.
We did get a glimpse into Huck’s personal world a little bit, which was fascinating. Yet now it seems like they slammed the door closed again because, even as he let someone into his life, maybe he doesn’t want anyone seeing that either. It puts him back in a closed world. But is Huck ready to be back in a closed world? He looked like he really wanted to be a part of the normalcy of everyone else’s lives.
GUILLERMO: I keep comparing him to a stray dog. Olivia took him in and he’s loyal to her. But for that stray dog, if the owner treats him well, then his demeanor changes and he turns into a different dog, and he’s turning into a different man now, even more than before.
Like he’s experiencing more emotions, he’s caring about people, he feels welcomed and loved.
GUILLERMO: And on top of that, the person that he loved has betrayed him. So that’s making him even more tormented in his head.
Is Huck going to seek Becky out and find out what’s going on with her even though she’s locked up and held secretly away?
GUILLERMO: You’re definitely going to see Becky again. Huck does have more scenes with Becky.
That love doesn’t go away over night, even though she did something horrendous and even set him up. He can’t just erase that.
GUILLERMO: We’ve all been in relationships where we know the person is not good for you but when it’s over you still want to be with them. In real life, you’re still drawn to those people you shouldn’t be with.
Has the show closed the door on the murder investigation of that family Huck loved and Becky set him up?
GUILLERMO: As far as I know, they have. But who knows what’s going through Shonda’s mind. It might come sneaking back.
What do you love about working on SCANDAL?
We just recently found out that from the creator of 1600 PENN that there’s an actual fake phone in the real White House outside the Situation Room that is used to prank visitors and new staff. Is that something you would like to see incorporated into the SCANDAL storylines? Like Cyrus could totally prank somebody.
JEFF: (Laughs) Is there really? Oh, that would fun. It’s filed. You need to tell that to Shonda.
How soon will the show dig back up the storyline where Cyrus’ husband James has been sneaking around investigation of the election rigging?
JEFF: That is really eminent. It will rear its ugly head again. You’ve seen that episode where Cyrus tells him, “I’m going to get fired, if you keep doing this” and he thinks he has gotten James off the hunt. But that’s another lovely thing I love about the characters, Cyrus finds James incredibly sexy and loves him because James is a journalistic animal, like Cyrus is a political animal. He just won’t take “no” for an answer. So part of Cyrus wants to just throttle him, and part of him is like, “I know he’s going to be like this and that’s why I fell in love with him, so I’ll just have to figure out how to head him off at the pass.”
There’s so many layers to SCANDAL: the stories, the characters, the emotional levels that they are playing on each other. It’s fascinating.
JEFF: And you’re not asked to be a simple type. Only a ruthless, strategizer. Shonda encourages and writes characters that breathe. Cyrus really loves his husband; and he really loves the president.
Since we’ve now seen as of this last episode exactly how far entrenched in the conspiracy Cyrus has gone for the election-rigging, having to cover up Hollis’ blowing up of the lab that killed all those people and affected Quinn, where is the line for him? What is Cyrus’ line? How far will he go before he cuts the cord with Hollis?
JEFF: (Laughs) I don’t know if the character knows the answer to that.
So he’s kind of treading water politically and trying to figure out where he goes?
JEFF: I think so. Once you sort of commit to the premise of “I believe in this man. I believe he can do really good things,” it is kind of based on a certain idealism and love. But then it’s “by any means necessary,” and once you make that deal with the devil, how far do you go? When you go a certain distance, you have to go more distance, just like in most criminal behavior.
Josh Malina, Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young
Did you have an inkling when you first accepted your roles that you would become the ambiguous bad guys in the show?
JEFF: No, no. I thought for about two episodes, “I think I’m the moral center.” Then with great rapidity, it was like, “Nope, you might be a Iago or Richard the Third, but moral center has gone by the wayside.”
JOSH: I would argue that I’m the only true hero, both as a person and as a character. There’s a lot of talk about the “white hat” early on in the first season and I think now I’m the only “white hat.” Everything else is fifth-shades-of-grey. But my hat remains white. I believe.
BELLAMY: (Laughs) Hey, I only had two lines in the pilot so I’m just happy to still be standing. I was recurring last year and started very small. I thought it may be a three-episode arc, but they just kept writing me more complicated stuff. Nobody gets off easy. Everyone is so nuanced and so difficult. It is just so thrilling to play. My part has escalated and escalated, and I’m happy I get to be a part of it.
BELLAMY: Mellie is very devoted, both to her man and to her life. I think for her identity, the two things are very intertwined. So she has a very specific idea of how things should be run and how things should be done, and she’s coming from a very honest place about it. She’s never comported herself to be anything else. She’s been very clear with Fitz and she’s been very clear with everyone. Everyone’s aware of Mellie’s agenda. So I think she’s told herself that she’s doing the best she can.
There has been some debate whether Mellie is actually in love with her husband at this point in her life. Is she really in love with Fitz?
BELLAMY: I don’t have any doubt. Shonda could tell you something different, but I’d say to any depths she’d take a bullet — but she didn’t, did she? (Laughs) It’s just hard to see the person you truly love find his true love with a different person, years into your marriage. We’re meeting them at such a sad, difficult moment, but there’s years and decades of marriage where they worked so well as partners before he discovered it wasn’t love. I think for her it really, really is.
How do you think Mellie will react to Fitz’s suggestion of divorce?
BELLAMY: Mellie is not going to go down without a fight. He can think he want a divorce, but she will fight tooth and nail to pull that idea out of his head.
Does Mellie see either Cyrus or David Rosen as a natural ally at this point?
BELLAMY: Between Mellie and Cyrus, there is a long history of fraught allegiance and betrayals, but certainly we know that we can work well together and that when the steamroller has to move, we can really lay some pavement over bodies, over issues, or whatever. But, as to David, who knows.
With those teasers in mind, and with everything rising to another boiling point in the Olivia-Fitz-Mellie love triangle, be sure to tune in for an all new episode of SCANDAL entitled “Truth or Consequences” on Thursday, January 31st at 10:00 p.m. on ABC.
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