As Scandal gears up to celebrate its 100th episode on ABC, the show’s creator and writer, Shonda Rhimes, and some of the major hitters from the cast, have revealed some big secrets about the series.
From the truth behind Olivia Pope’s (Kerry Washington) abortion to how Donald Trump is integrated into some of the most-talked about episodes, Rhimes, who is also the mastermind behind other ABC juggernaut series like Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder, didn’t hold back when spilling tea about Scandal.
We Almost Didn’t See Olivia Pope’s Abortion
While the show frequently pushes the envelope, there was some concern that Olivia’s abortion in season 5 was going too far.
The 100th Episode of Scandal Will Explore a ‘What If’ Timeline>>>
Bellamy Young, who plays Mellie Fitzgerald, revealed in the interview with The Hollywood Reporter, “I remember we showed up for the table read the day the filibuster episode was about to air. [ABC’s] Standard and Practices wanted to cut Olivia’s abortion.”
But it looks like it was Rhimes who wanted to tell that story and share that side of Olivia that viewers had never seen before.
“I said, ‘Go ahead, alter the scene. We’ll just have a lot of articles about how you altered the scene.’ We had done an abortion on a military woman who had been raped earlier on, and we were doing nothing different than we did in that scene — they just didn’t like that it was happening to Olivia. It was a Christmas episode, and we played Christmas music.”
Young reminded viewers that Silent Night rang out during the scene.
“The balls to pick that song,” she said.
Rhimes revealed that she did check with singer Aretha Franklin’s team to make sure they were okay with using her rendition of the song in the scene. She said she had a huge sigh of relief when they gave her the green light.
Donald Trump Moments Make for Good TV
The team also opened up about how the real-life transition from the Barack Obama era to Donald Trump has impacted the series.
“We had a Democratic president [when Scandal premiered], so I wanted to take a Republican president and make him human,” Rhimes said. “Then our stories would be about what would happen if the wheels came off the bus and nobody was driving the bus. The problem now is the wheels have come off the bus, and nobody’s driving. ”
Young also chimed in with details on how taping certain scenes mirrored reality.
“We’d shoot stuff with Greg Henry playing [a Trump-like candidate], and the next day something exactly like it only crazier would happen in the election between Trump and Hillary.”
Washington added, “Now, we have a hard time competing with reality.”
Rhimes went on to say that it has become more difficult to plan story lines for Scandal because of what is going on in actuality.
“…In a world in which all of the things that we would write on Scandal are happening in real life. It’s very hard to write Scandal the way we used to, when it was like, ‘Let’s make Washington the most outrageous, horrifying place it could ever be.'”
More Scandal Secrets Exposed
Another fun Scandal secret is that actor Dan Bucaktinsky originally auditioned to play Huck, which he quickly figured out was not a good fit for him. He then read for David Rosen before landing the part as James. The role of Huck was originally supposed to be a 50-year-old man but actor Guillermo Diaz won the role instead. Katie Lowes landed her role as Quinn right away but Mellie was supposed to only stick around for three episodes. It’s clear Young won over the writers long after Mellie’s relationship with Fitz fizzled.
The 100th episode of Scandal airs Thursday April 13 at 9/8c on ABC. Want more news? Like our Scandal page on Facebook!
(Image courtesy of ABC)