Tuesday 27 September 2016

Scandal's Kerry Washington was fired from two TV shows because she wasn't 'black enough'

Published 08/06/2016 | 09:46

Kerry Washington
Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington was fired from two TV dramas because producers didn't think she was black enough.

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The Scandal star reveals she was cast in the pilots and then let go because TV bosses decided she didn't fit the "urban" stereotype they were looking for.

"Before Scandal, I was actually cast in two other pilots," she told comedian Aziz Ansari during a Variety Studio: Actors on Actors interview, which will air in the U.S. later this month. "Both went to series, but I was fired and (the part was) recast.

"For both, it was because they wanted me to sound more 'girlfriend', more, like, 'hood', more 'urban'."

Smouldering: Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in Scandal.
Smouldering: Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in Scandal.

Aziz sympathised with the actress, revealing he has experienced typecasting in Hollywood too.

"A lot of other minority actors have told me 'Oh, this so rings a bell' when you go into an audition room and you see a bunch of people that look like you," the Ice Age: Continental Drift star told Kerry, "and you just start feeling like, 'Oh, I'm not here (for me); I’m here because I fit what looks like the person they want in here."

Washington then noted that they are both now successful enough to no longer have to even consider taking roles that are stereotypical of their race, colour or perceived background - and they're not exactly short of acting options.

"I definitely feel like I’m at that point where it’s nice to not have to sit at home and wait to be invited to the party, but to be creating work for yourself," she said.

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