Kerry Washington has so much going on right now, with one of the hottest shows on television (Scandal!), and a major role in the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film, Django Unchained. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– I could lit’rally look at this woman’s face all day, which is why I’m so glad that she’s got this amazing spread in Uptown magazine. Click inside to check out the pics and some excerpts from the interview. Kerry talks about her unique upbringing in a black middle class family, and some of the controversy surrounding her new movie.
Kerry Washington for Uptown Magazine:
Kerry Washington likes to say careers aren’t made overnight in Hollywood; “they’re built over long periods of time, and there are waves of progress.” Well, she’s certainly riding atop a mammoth one right now, playing not one but two roles of a lifetime that bookend the African-American experience.
On ABC’s Scandal, Washington is a BlackBerry-wielding, Armani-draped crisis expert who leads a team of dedicated associates that save clients from public embarrassment or possible jail time. At the other end of the spectrum is Quentin Tarantino’s new film, Django Unchained, for which Washington’s brave performance as a slave trapped in an antebellum South hellhole awaiting rescue by Jamie Foxx’s title character is already getting Oscar buzz. The two projects, emblematic of Washington’s elevated status in Hollywood, will overlap this month. (Scandal will be in midseason when Django opens on Christmas Day.)
Foxx, her two-time costar, says she’s the real deal. “I can’t say enough about the brilliance and toughness of her, especially in Django, where she’s amazingly vulnerable playing this damsel in distress throwback character. And then you look at the strength of what she’s doing on Scandal, where she’s in control and doing her thing.” He adds: “A lot of actresses only get to play one note. Kerry’s able to play a symphony.”…
After years spent seesawing between commercial and independent films, Washington made the leap to television in 2011, becoming the first black actress in nearly 40 years to have her own major network drama. (The first was Teresa Graves in 1974’s Get Christie Love!, which ran for a season.)… The character, loosely based on consultant Judy Smith, whose clients included Monica Lewinsky, is in a lot of ways the most complicated she has ever played. “Usually I go into my actor’s toolbox and say, “Okay, I need this tool and this tool and this tool,” states Washington, pretending to grab some hardware. “Everything else I’ll put away and go to work. With Olivia, every day I have both toolboxes! Every tool. She requires all of me: my brain, my body, my heart, all of it.
Growing up, Washington was a pretty active kid—ballet, gymnastics, acting lessons. In elementary school, she started getting into Meet the Press andLike It Is. She still remembers the lively, sometimes heated, discussions on race and society around the dinner table. “My family’s very multiethnic,” she says. “When we get together for the holidays, it is the U.N., across the board.” Her mother, who holds a doctorate in education, and her father, a real estate broker, lived in opposition to the belief that children should be seen and not heard. They pushed their daughter academically, enrolling her in The Spence School, an exclusive private institution on the Upper East Side. She was in for a big culture shock…
Washington is aware of the [Django Unchained] controversy, which she attributes more to the film having a white director than anything else. She’s also glad more movies are focusing on the slave experience. “We should have a plethora of visions and interpretations of who we are as a nation.” But she admits, “This is not necessarily the film I would make about slavery. I’m not a violent person. I often watch Tarantino movies through what he calls ‘chick-vision.’” She covers her eyes and peeks through her fingers.
Check the rest of the interview at Uptown. Kerry talks about going to school with kids who lived in the Hamptons, how she came into acting, and the difficulties (emotional and practical) of shooting Scandal and Django at the same time.
Love this woman, love everything about her, and I can’t wait to finish this interview! Between this and that Anne Hathaway cover story, I’m quite pleased with the write-ups on some of my favorite actresses.
Oh, and the BEST part of this interview was finding out that in a week or two ABC will announce that it’s extending this season of Scandal from 13 to 22 episodes! Aghhhh!!! I’m so glad this show is getting the props it deserves!