Kerry Washington is taking a radical departure from Olivia Pope in her new movie, “American Son”.
Washington, 42, spoke with Entertainment Weekly and People TV while in Toronto for TIFF 2019, where the actress declared her latest role is “the un-Olivia Pope,” referencing her famed “Scandal” character.
“She’s about as different from Olivia Pope as you can possibly get, and I think that’s probably why I was drawn to her,” Washington said. “She was such a huge challenge for me as an actress to spend seven or eight years playing somebody and then try to have the pendulum swing in the total opposite direction. She is not — there is no Prada in this one folks, sorry.”
Washington originated the role of Kendra Ellis-Connor on Broadway alongside co-stars Steven Pasquale (“Doubt”), Jeremy Jordan (“Supergirl”) and theatre veteran Eugene Lee. The story takes place entirely within a South Florida police station waiting room on a stormy night as Kendra, a psychology professor, shows up looking for her missing teenage son. The tale is infused with three other points of view — that of her estranged husband (Pasquale) and two police officers (Jordan and Lee).
“I love playing Kendra because she’s a mom and she is a wife although she is separated and she’s really accessible,” Washington explained. “She’s a working class, really smart… she’s grappling with relationships in a really different way. She’s super open and vulnerable and we meet her at a point in her life where she’s really changing who she is.”
“American Son” debuts Nov. 1 on Netflix.