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Sandra Oh Wanted to Play Olivia Pope on ‘Scandal’

Sandra Oh and Kerry Washington discuss working with Shonda Rhimes.

Both of their iconic TV roles came from working with Shonda Rhimes. Although, Sandra Oh revealed that she wanted to play the role of Olivia Pope in ‘Scandal’. The role of Olivia Pope was played by Kerry Washington eventually.

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The two talented actressed talked about a lot of things when they came together for Variety’s Actors on Actors issue. It includes actors taing interviews of each other while at home quarantining amid the pandemic.

Sandra Oh, however, reveals that she wanted to really play the role of Olivia Pope, that Kerry Washington landed, after reading the script. Sandra says that she can still recall where she was when she read the script.

She went on to elaborate her story saying she was in stage five while shooting Greys Anatomy. Someone handed her the script and she thought to herself, ‘How could I play Olivia Pope?’

Sandra recalls going to Shonda Rhimes and asking her how can she do this. She asked the producer if she could do this as well. Shonda responded saying, “No, you’ve got to play Cristina Yang!”‘

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Kerry chimed in jokingly, “You’ve got a job girl!” Sandra went on saying it was so wonderful to get her hands on something she knew was electric. She says she is glad that it was Kerry.

‘But I also feel like it’s so wonderful and rare when you get in your hands something that you know is electric, that you can feel,’ Oh continued. ‘I’m so glad it was you.’

During their conversation, Sandra expressed her curiosity on knowing how she ended up with Reese Witherspoon on the series, Little Fires Everywhere. Kerry said that Reese read the novel by Celeste Ng. She explained that both of them were casual friends, so Reese emailed her and said, “I found the thing for us.”

Kerry recalled that when she read it she instantly loved it. She said it went into the depths of many paths of motherhood.

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Kerry said, ‘I think we tend to think in such a duality of good mothers and bad mothers, and we ignore the beautiful spectrum of the ways that we mother. All of that was so ripe for exploration.’

Kerry asked Sandra if she ever knew that her and her costar, Jodie Comer, will become the queer icons on their show, Killing Eve. Sandra denied it and explained that they were in their own bubble while doing it.

Sandra later on described shooting in the UK and feeling disconnected from all that has happened. She went on to say that she feels people are ready for something new and here it is.

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The actresses also discussed about the distress they feel in preparing for their work. Kerry recalls a time where she had to bring her lines everywhere she goes to memorize them, while she was pregnant.

‘I remember when I was pregnant, it took me twice as long to memorize. I actually remember being with you at a Producers Guild Award event, and we were both maybe presenting to Shonda,’ she said.

She recalled that they were together at a table and Sandra had to film tomorrow. So, Sandra brought her scene to dinner because she had to work on her lines too. And Kerry was like, “She’s my people. That’s me!”

Kerry continued, ‘I go to every award show with a monologue in my purse because I didn’t have time to not be doing that. I didn’t have the luxury of not working.’

Their whole interview can be found on Variety’s website.

Christy Mathew

Christy likes to use her great writing skills to curate articles on the Hollywood film industry, multichannel commerce, and online business strategies. She loves to share her ideas on Hollywood here at Clout News.

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