Could Olivia Pope’s Mother Be White? “Scandal” Star Joe Morton Answers

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Here comes the hell and high water! Last week’s season premiere of “Scandal” broke records with 10.3 million viewers and over 700,000 tweets.  Scandaholics were glued to their television screens as they  witnessed the epic showdown between Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and newly revealed daddy, Rowan Pope.

RELATED: “Scandal” Review: Daddy Knows Best [Season 3, Ep. 1]

We caught up with actor Joe Morton, who plays the domineering Pope patriarch to get the behind the scenes scoop on last week’s game changing episode and if it’s at all possible Olivia Pope is the result of an interracial marriage.

TUD: Congrats on last week’s episode! Did you ever think you would see the day when a primetime network series starring a Black actress (Kerry Washington), created by a Black woman (Shonda Rhimes), based on a real-life Black woman (Judy Smith) would have such mainstream success? 

Joe Morton: You always think that maybe, sometime in the future it might possibly happen, but it’s glorious when it actually happens. Same thing when Obama was elected President;  it was something I always thought could happen.

One of the most talked about scenes was Rowan’s confrontation with Olivia, where he reminded her she had to be “twice as good to have half of what they had.” Did it seem like Shonda let out the secret of the “Black Tax” to the American public?

Well not exactly.  Certainly since the Civil Rights movement, we’ve heard over and over again that in order to achieve as a Black person in America, you have to work twice as hard to get what any White person has.  I don’t feel it’s a new statement, but probably the first time it was said on a primetime network television show.  Seeing a high powered father saying that to his high powered daughter, that image we’ve never seen before in terms of that dialogue.

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READ: 5 Celebrities That Need Rowan Pope’s Help [OPINION]

How long did it take to shoot that particular scene? 

We shot that all day.  It took us all morning into lunchtime, so I’d say about 6-7 hours.

How is it working with Kerry?

Oh she’s great.  She works very hard and she’s very clear about what she wants.  She does a lot of research and talks to Judy Smith for every script. It’s been an incredible experience to work with her.

We finally got a mention of Olivia’s mom last week. You told Essence Magazine you’d love Phylicia Rashad in the role, but seeing as this is the Shonda Rhimes universe, is it possible that Olivia’s mother is White? 

It could be possible, except that when you look at Rowan and Olivia, it looks like a Black mother is how it went.  So it’s all together possible, but highly improbable.


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It’s clear that Rowan Pope is not a fan of Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) for very obvious reasons.  Can we expect a showdown between the two in the near future?   

I wouldn’t be surprised. Again, this is Shondaland. I think what these writers do which is so wonderful,  is that they don’t leave IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) in the road of “Scandal,” but CEDs (Calculated Explosive Devices).

You recently joined Twitter (@JoeTheMorton), how are you enjoying the experience?

I’ve been having a great time on Twitter.  It’s a lot more fun than I thought it would be.  I was thinking it would be overwhelming but the way I’ve been approaching it is through humor, through Rowan Pope’s voice.  And the fans have been responding to it very strongly.

So what can we expect from tonight’s episode of “Scandal”?

Without giving too much away, we get a little more history with Rowan and Olivia.

“Scandal” airs tonight on ABC 10PM EST!

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