Bellamy Young Opens Up About The Final Season of Scandal
I still can’t believe I sat and shared space with Bellamy Young. Words never came out my mouth and none of my thought aligned to ask her anything. I just sat in awe of her awesomeness for over half an hour. I listened as she talked about the final season of Scandal. I nodded my head and smiled the whole time, with words at the time of my tongue but none managing to come out. I’ve been a fan of the Scandal from season one. I watched it explode into the huge fan hit that it is today and I’m sad about it coming to an end.
While we were sitting interviewing Bellamy I realized why I loved her so much and her character First Lady Mellie Grant/President Mellie Grant. When I was an avid Scandal watcher I would always end up on social media talking about the show. Bellamy was so active with the fans of the show. So during our interview when one of the bloggers asked a question from a fan, Bellamy immediately asked for the person’s name/twitter handle. We were shocked when she knew exactly who the question was from and she even talked about how much she adores her. That’s why I loved her in this role and beyond as an actress.
What Has Mellie Grant Taught Her
When you’ve played a character for a while it’s hard to believe that they don’t leave some sort of imprint on the actor/actress. We wanted to know what things have Bellamy learned while portraying the role of Mellie Grant.
Like, everything, right? ‘Cause, I was only supposed to be there five minutes. So, she has taught me, first of all, you show up and you do your best work, even when it’s two lines, and you might not be there for a minute. You never know what’s going to turn into your dream. You never know which lottery ticket might pay, so always showing up for yourself, and doing your best work, regardless. But, Mellie, man, she does not care if people are comfortable.
Like, I want everybody to be happy all of the time. I would make you all coffee if I could. I would do some back rubbing. I really do. Mellie could care less. So, spending 16 hours a day as sort of like, my way or the highway, has been very informative. I don’t think I will ever lean that direction, but it does remind me that there are many ways to be. And many acceptable ways to walk through this life. And it has been a deep privilege, an enduring privilege, to get to have been her.
She’s so flawed. But she has such big dreams, and she’s doggedly loyal, and will fall on her face, but she will stand up and walk forward, like the Terminator. I marvel at her. It’s been a great, great gift.
On The Last Episode of Scandal
I can’t believe it’s the final season of Scandal. We wanted to get all the scoop from Bellamy about the final season and the final episode, but there wasn’t much she could share and here’s why:
I’m going to have a table read Thursday, for the last ever episode of Scandal, which is awful. I have no idea how the show is going to end. Like, I cannot see what is coming. I have no idea. I just don’t know. So we sit down every time and we just read it to each other, and it’s always crazy. But they always manage to ground it down somehow, you know why you’re acting crazy, and I know, honey, I’m acting crazy. For the last reason that Mellie’s had often. So it’s always in there.
On Being an Actor and Playing Different Characters
We talked a bit with Bellamy about how she feels about being able to play so many diverse roles. She’s been on several ends of the spectrum.
I feel like getting to be an actor is like getting to live a million lifetimes in one little lifetime. Like if you get great writing, which I’ve been so lucky — especially as a woman. Like usually, it’s real thin, and unsupported, and you have no agency, and you’re sort of on the sideline, and you’re, “Oh, so good, my husband.” So that’s why it’s nice to be evil. Because if you’re evil, you’re like, running the generator, right? You’re the fuel for the story light the match, and it all burns.
When it’s good writing, just getting to be somebody else, I didn’t love my childhood, entirely. And so acting was always a great dream, ’cause I got to be somebody else for a minute. But I really, really love it, and it just like, works your empathy bone, right?
It really does. I guess it would work your muscle, empathy muscle, because you get to see that people, even when they’re acting horribly, it’s always out of fear or sadness, like, pain, or regret, or anger, there’s so much even below anger that you can find compassion about. And when you get to be those characters, you have to start there. You can’t go on judging them or anything. You have to really just know why. And it makes you love people more.
On Cast Dynamic On The Set of Scandal
I can’t imagine how awesome it must be to work on with the amazing actors on Scandal. We wondered what it’s like working with that cast and how things are behind the scenes.
The good thing is Bellamy, loves Kerry, and she loves Kerry, and she loves Kerry, and so it’s easy. I used to have to always apologize to Tony after I’d have to yell at him. I’d be like, “I’m so sorry.” And then about year three, I was like, “Oh, no, this is okay.” P.S., he loves it all along, right? But we get a lot of rewrites, and sometimes handed to you at rehearsal, and you’re just like, “Blah, okay, yeah, yeah,” and Shanda’s last edit is her last draft. So sometimes, people live that died.
I can’t. When we Tweet East Coast, I answer, like, “What’s your favorite color?” Because I have not seen it and I don’t know what happens. Like, things change dramatically, and whole storylines get lifted, and maybe they don’t come back, or they come back three episodes later. It’s just usually all different. So, we spend a lot of time in rehearsals going, “Now, when was the last time I was with you? Now, did the part air when I like, shot the gun at you? Did that air?” We always have a writer on set, and they’re always really good archive of what has aired.
Because you shoot so much, and, you have all of these memories that didn’t really happen, so we’ll be like, “Nick, where are we now with this?” So, we really do have to have good, solid conversations before we do especially pivotal scenes or fights. Like “Why are we fighting? We were just having drinks.” But the good news is, they’ve all thought about it already in the writers’ room, so we’re safe. There’s never been a time where they’re like, “Oh. Shit, we missed that entirely.
On Mellie Finding Love
We’ve all witnessed the ups and downs of Mellie’s love life. It hasn’t been easy to watch at times. We wanted to know how Bellamy felt about Mellie finding love before the series wraps.
Oh. “Deserves” is difficult. We have actually talked about that word a lot at work, like, “happy ending,” and “deserve,” and like, what that would even mean to them, what that would even look like. “Deserves” is tricky. Do I want it for her? I do. Just because I have a deep fondness for her, I sit in the oval sometimes and I light that fire, and I’m just so proud of her, she got her dream. But do I see her putting in the deep and honest work to have a reciprocating relationship? No, I don’t.
You know. But the closest she gets is with Marcus. Like, they are honest with each other. They really are, right? Yeah. It’s a little like Kryptonite. They just can’t not be honest with each other in each other’s presence, and I love that. But I also don’t see her making him a priority, and I think that’s part of a relationship too.
The Scandal/How To Get Away With Murder Crossover
We asked about epic crossover happening between Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. Bellamy had been talking to us about all the different ideas they have pitched Shonda, including a Scandal Musical (she said no), so they were quite surprised when they learned about the crossover.
I mean, we never dreamed, because we were all the time, Scandal movie, Scandal musical! So then they were like, Scandal crossover! And we’re like really, what? Is that really true? We don’t even know anything really far enough in advance to get excited about it. I didn’t know about it, until I walked in the room for the table read of the script, and they were like, “P.S….How to Get Away with Scandal.”
I got to act with Viola Davis, ya’ll. That was so amazing — and there was like other stuff happening that day, and it was right before Christmas, and I was trying to plan to get out to North Carolina, and it was like, “I cannot focus on this, because I have a day with Viola Davis.” I can’t wait to see how it turned out. Tony directed ours.
“SCANDAL” (Thursdays from 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET)
As a staple in the Shonda Rhimes programming block known as “TGIT,” the Washington, D.C. drama follows a political fixer named Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her team of associates who sacrifice their time, and often their morals, to “handle” unimaginable crises affecting the nation’s elite. Throughout the last six seasons, “Scandal” has used OMG storytelling to explore political culture, gender disparities, sexual politics and race in America.
The seventh and monumental final season of “Scandal” will return with a brand new White House administration that includes Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) as the first female president of the United States, Cyrus Beane (Jeff Perry) as the vice president, and Olivia Pope as Mellie’s chief of staff. Olivia also doubles as the head of the newly reinstated top-secret government agency B6-13, with Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) working by her side. Expectant mother Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes) is now head of the newly inherited crisis management firm QPA (Quinn Perkins and Associates), with Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield) as her right-hand woman, and Huck (Guillermo Diaz) and Charlie (George Newbern) as her dedicated gladiators. Meanwhile, former POTUS Fitzgerald Grant III (Tony Goldwyn) is focused on maintaining his legacy by building his library and foundation with the help of Marcus Walker (Cornelius Smith Jr.). And although Rowan Pope’s (Joe Morton) role reversal with Olivia initially proves to be a struggle, he always has something up his sleeve. David Rosen (Josh Malina) remains the attorney general of the United States.
Remember to Tune In
#HowToGetAwayWithScandal crossover episodes airing Thursday, March 1 on ABC (Scandal at 9|8c and HTGAWM at 10|9c)