Actor Tony Goldwyn, perhaps best known for his current role as President Fitzgerald (“Fitz”) Grant on ABC’s “Scandal,” was the Kennedy Political Union’s All American Weekend speaker on Saturday, October 22.
American Studies professor Stef Woods, who teaches a class about “Scandal” creator and show runner Shonda Rhimes and the cultural impact of her work, interviewed Goldwyn in front of a packed audience in Bender Arena.
Below, 12 interesting things Goldwyn said at AU, including what he said about his work on “Scandal,” The Innocence Project, the 2016 election, and working with Kerry Washington.
1. On prepping for the role of President Fitz Grant: “For ‘Scandal’ in particular, I spent a lot of time reading about and studying both President Obama and President Clinton.”
2. On working with “Scandal” creator, writer, and show runner, Shonda Rhimes: “Hollywood is really a fun place to work. What's incredible about it is you can have an idea and no one can tell you that you can't do it. But it's very difficult to get a straight answer out of people. I imagine politics is the same way. Shonda Rhimes is the exact opposite.” (This after praising Rhimes for being straightforward.)
3. About his magical on-screen chemistry with “Scandal” co-star, Kerry Washington, who plays his character’s love interest, Olivia Pope: “We just really hit it off, and it turned out our working style was very similar and that is not always the case.”
4. And when things on-screen aren’t so magical: “I feel like we are always at odds. She’s always yelling at me about something.”
5. But then more admiration for Kerry: “To steal a line from ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘she’s my person.’” (After which the audience collectively sighed, “Awwwwwww.")
6. On Fitz’s future: “I honestly don’t know. We never know anything about what’s going to happen, which is not typical for an actor.”
7. And how he adjusted to that challenge: “I thought, ‘How am I going to make decisions as an actor [about the character] if I don’t know where I’m going?’ And then I thought, ‘Isn’t life like that?’”
8. On working with The Innocence Project: “I cannot imagine me spending one night in prison, even for a crime I did commit, so to spend years and often decades behind bars as an innocent man is incomprehensible to me.”
9. On the 2016 presidential election and the importance of voting: “I have always felt as an American, that because I have the right to vote, because I have the right to use my voice, that right is a responsibility.”
10. On why every vote matters: “I have felt this in the past… ‘What does one vote matter?’ Cynicism is a very, very destructive force and an anti-democratic force.” (He continued, emphasizing that individuals can accomplish a great deal when they join together.)
11. On Millennials: “When I was in my 20s, all anyone cared about was, ‘How am I going to get ahead?’ This generation is different.”
12. On which real-life politician he would most like to portray on stage or on screen: “I would want to play somebody like Alexander Hamilton. A politician of the past.”