In celebration of the Season 2 finale of Scandal, Kerry Washington and the entire cast performed a live table read of the season-ending episode, “White Hat’s Back On” at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood, California. It was the first time the cast had ever read their lines in front of a live audience (who had yet to see the finale airing on TV later that same night), and Olivia Pope & Associates made the most out of it, running the gamut from delivering intense line readings to breaking the fourth wall to ham it up with the audience.
Executive Producer/Creator Shonda Rhimes and the cast also revealed some behind-the-scenes shockers. Here are a few highlights.
Shonda Initially Didn't Want to Create Scandal
When Executive Producer Betsy Beers tried to persuade Shonda to make a show based on real-life fixer, Judy Smith (who's worked with George Bush, Sr., Monica Lewinsky and Michael Vick), Shonda's first reaction was, "I don't need another show. I'm good." When their 15-minute meeting with Judy turned into an engrossing four-hour meeting, Shonda knew this had to be her new show. It took a year of Shonda thinking about the concept before she finally wrote the pilot.
Who Was the Celebrity in the Audience?
Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actress, choreographer, director and producer Debbie Allen (Fame, Dr. Catherine Avery in Grey's Anatomy), was in the audience and the first to ask a question during the Q&A session.
Huck Was Originally Supposed to Kill Verna Thornton
Shonda revealed that they came up with the idea of Fitz killing Verna a little late in the planning of Season 2, because the Supreme Court Justice was intended to die at the hands of Huck. A lot of the events in the story are written so that it feels "logical and human" for that character's journey, and the culmination of Fitz's emotions at that point in the season made it right for him to be Verna's killer. The presidential assassination idea was also a plotline that came up late in the planning process.
What Was the Inspiration to Write Huck's Character?
"I have no idea where it came from," Shonda explained. "It just came from watching Guillermo work. A lot of it grows from that."
Joshua Malina Pranks the Cast
Joshua is known as the practical joker on set and he pulled some pranks on the cast during the table read. Katie Lowes revealed that Josh had ripped out a page from her script featuring her dialogue. "But I felt bad," Josh replied, explaining that he ended up folding up the page and slipping it back into her script so she could deliver her lines.
Joshua also pranked Tony Goldwyn by scribbling in some extra dialogue for the President. Fitz's speech ends with him saying, "I want us to be a dynasty. I want to help you join me as a living, breathing monument to redemption and second chances and the America we all hope still exists," and Josh capped it off with the line, "I'm the @$*#ing President!" Tony admitted he almost read it out loud.
Abby Putting Her Fingers in David's Mouth - The Full Story
Was Abby putting her fingers into David's mouth written in the script?
Joshua Malina: "Pure improv."
Darby Stanchfield: "The way I prepared for that scene was I just read it enough times to get all of those beats in my head."
Joshua Malina: "...and then washed her hands. I was hoping that was part of your..."
Darby Stanchfield: "I've actually never washed my hands."
Joshua Malina: "Since."
Joe Morton knew all along that he was cast as Olivia's dad, Rowan, while the rest of the actors found out the news when they got to the final line of the script during their first table read of "White Hat's Back On." Kerry admitted Joe was the first guest star she excitedly called home about (sorry, Scott Foley) because she grew up watching and admiring his work on stage and screen.
The Cast Is Like a Bunch of Girl Scouts
The cast is known for its great chemistry, and Matt Letscher said that he always felt welcome and part of the group, which isn't always the case for guest stars. Jeff Perry more colorfully described the cast as having "the chemistry of an 11-year-old Girl Scout troop." He also thanked Shonda for writing so many great lines for Cyrus and boasted that his highlight reel would be seven hours long.