NEW YORK — When it comes to playing the girlfriend or wife in a Hollywood role, Kerry Washington has been there, done that.
Not that she’s complaining. She’s played the love interest of some noteworthy characters.
“I’ve been pretty lucky,” Washington said in a recent interview. “I’ve played the wife of some pretty incredible people. Two men who have Oscars.” (She was Forest Whitaker’s spouse in The Last King of Scotland and the wife of Jamie Foxx in Ray, the life of Ray Charles.)
Washington moves front and center as the star of the ABC series Scandal. Or, as Washington puts it: “not the love interest but has a love interest.”
She plays Olivia Pope, a professional “fixer” in Washington, who helps people in crisis.
Think the premise is contrived? The role is based on one of the show’s executive producers, Judy Smith, who is a professional problem solver.
“When some scandal unfolds, if I hear that it’s in another state or another country, I’m like, ‘Where are you, Judy? Are you in Italy?’ She’s like, ‘I cannot say.’ I’m like, ‘Come on! Are you in Texas?’ ‘I can’t tell you!’ So it’s fun to play ‘Where in the world is Judy Smith’ sometimes,” said Washington, with a laugh.
“Scandal,” which premieres its second season Thursday, debuted on ABC last April as a midseason show.
Washington, 35, spent the time between production on the show’s first and second seasons shooting the slavery movie “Django Unchained,” which opens Christmas Day. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, the film reunites Washington with her “Ray” co-star Foxx in the role of (you guessed it) his wife.
That irony isn’t lost on Washington.
“It’s been a really fascinating year because in the film I play a woman who according to our Constitution is described as only being three-fifths a human being and she’s property. She can’t own property because she is someone’s property. And on Scandal, I play somebody who is arguably the most powerful woman in the country. ... It’s been pretty phenomenal to jump two centuries back and forth and play these two black women on complete opposite ends of the spectrum,” she said.
Bynes pleads innocent in hit-and-run cases
LOS ANGELES — An attorney for Amanda Bynes has entered a not guilty plea in a misdemeanor case that accuses the actress of two hit-and-runs.
Attorney Richard Hutton entered the plea on Bynes’ behalf during a brief court hearing Thursday in Los Angeles. The actress’ case is due back in court Oct. 19 and Bynes must be booked on the charges within two days of that hearing.
Los Angeles prosecutors accuse Bynes of leaving the scene of two accidents, one on April 10 and another on Aug. 4, without providing proper information. The first incident occurred just days after Bynes was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after grazing a sheriff’s patrol car. She has pleaded not guilty in that case.
Hutton declined comment on Bynes’ cases.
Reese Witherspoon has her third child
LOS ANGELES — Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon gave birth to a baby boy Thursday, her first child with husband Jim Toth, and has named him Tennessee James, her representative said.
Witherspoon has two older children — daughter Ava, 12, and son Deacon, 9 — with first husband Ryan Phillippe. The couple divorced in 2007.
“Reese Witherspoon and husband Jim Toth welcomed Tennessee James into their family today. Both mom and baby are healthy and the entire family is thrilled,” Witherspoon’s spokesman, Meredith O’Sullivan Wasson, said in a statement.
Witherspoon, 36, who married talent agent Toth at her ranch inOjai, Calif., in March, grew up in Nashville.