“Scandal” season three presented some unique challenges for Kerry Washington, who was pregnant during shooting, that took her way outside of her comfort zone!
Fans of the show may have noticed a huge difference in Kerry’s performance last cycle — and we’re not just talking about her very obvious baby bump. Something seemed just a wee bit off about how she was playing the fabulous “Oliva Pope,” but it was hard to identify what the problem was. Then Gladiators found out that she pregnant, and it started to make sense.
While Kerry went through great lengths to hide her pregnancy until she couldn’t anymore, the last thing on her character’s mind was having babies (could you imagine the shocker if she was carrying President Fitz’s baby, or even crazier, Jake’s!?). That meant that the actress had to occupy two very different mental spaces for months at a time when her physical state was constantly shifting.
“All of last season was a challenge for me, on a few levels,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “For one thing, I was going through this amazing physical transition, this physical journey of having a baby, that my character was not going through.”
Kerry has never been one to require that her life parallel that of a given character. However, carrying a baby did mean that she had to change her approach to acting. “I work very physically. What I do is often grounded in the body. That meant I had to figure out how to be this woman while my instrument was changing and evolving every day,” the actress explained. “It was like seeing the keys on a piano jump around on a daily basis. It was tough for me to even maintain Olivia’s walk because of the changes.” (We knew we noticed a “power waddle!”)
Between her real-life growth and Olivia’s evolution, it was almost too much for Kerry to handle.
“Everything I understood about Olivia unraveled because of the storylines. The season really broke me,” she confessed. “I’m a Type A actor who likes to have it all figured out going in, but suddenly I had no idea where this woman was going to go next. I had to jump in without everything being perfect.”
As tough as the season was, Kerry she ultimately believes that it helped her improve her craft because she was required to step up her level of skill. “I felt like I had been in control playing the character, but it all got taken away from me last season,” she said. “That meant my acting toolbox had to be upgraded. I had to trade in my screwdriver and hammer for a Black and Decker power tool.”
Well now that baby Isabelle has made her way into the world, hopefully we can get that old thing back with Oliva! Fans will get to see how Kerry put her upgraded acting tools to use when season 4 of”Scandal” debuts September 25 at 9 p.m. EST on ABC!