If it’s been too long since you’ve seen a hot kiss between Scandal’s Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and Olivia (Kerry Washington), you’re welcome: We’ve got exclusive video of a deleted scene that includes one from the extras on the season 2 DVD, which is out today. You might recall the election night lip-lock from the montage played in the explosive episode “Nobody Likes Babies,” when, SPOILER ALERT, dying Verna (Debra Mooney) explained to Olivia why she’d hired an assassin to shoot Fitz.
The clip is an example of why Scandal, in some fans’ eyes, has finally earned Goldwyn a pardon for what his character did to Patrick Swayze’s in 1990’s Ghost. “I’ve gotten so many tweets about that, saying, ‘Finally, I’ve forgiven you for killing Sam Wheat.’ So I’m grateful, after 20 years,” Goldwyn says, laughing. “I was surprised that there were so many people who had yet to forgive me, because I’d forgiven myself a long time ago.” But the episode itself is one that shows why loving Fitz is … let’s call it “complicated”: This is also the hour in which our fictional president both killed Verna by removing her oxygen mask after she told him his election had been rigged and that she was going to come clean about it before she died, and, after learning Olivia’s involvement, delivered this cold line: “Don’t wait for me. I don’t know what I was thinking: Screwing your mistress is one thing, but marrying her? That’s political suicide, really. I mean, you believe that my presidency is more important than anything else, right? You must. You worked so hard to get me here.” Below, Goldwyn talks about those bombshells and looks ahead to season 3.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We’re speaking on Aug. 22, a day you’re spending promoting and signing the DVD. What’s been your favorite fan encounter?
TONY GOLDWYN: My favorite fan encounter was on an airplane last year. I came out of the bathroom, and the flight attendant grabbed me and pulled me into the kitchen galley and started giving me relationship advice. She said, “You have to forgive Olivia. This just can’t go on. You have to know that she loves you, and those other people – Mellie and Cyrus – are trying to hurt you. You can’t listen to them.” [Laughs] It was completely real for her. I said, “Okay, well, I have to talk to Shonda [Rhimes, Scandal’s creator] about that.”
Do you find that fan reaction to Fitz is consistent – they’ve chosen a side, and they will always love him or hate him – or does it change from episode to episode?
It’s pretty constant. I guess I feel the love more than the hate. Although the haters might not come up to me. [Laughs] Apparently I got a piece of hate mail yesterday. My assistant told me I got a piece of hate mail for misbehaving. Last year, when things were going so dark for Fitz and I mistreated Olivia, when I was cruel to her, I got a lot of people upset by that. But they would say, “I still love him, BUT…” And then as skillful as Shonda is, she pushed him right to the edge and then turned him right around again. People are really gratified by that.
What’s been the best crew reaction after “Cut!” has been called on a bombshell moment?
It’s more that the big reactions come when we do our table reads. That’s when we first see the scripts or read them out loud together. It’s a great communal experience we have. When any of those moments happen, people stand and cheer, or burst out laughing, or applaud. [Laughs] We leapt to our feet when we found out at the end of season 2 that Joe Morton’s character was Olivia’s father, when she said, “Dad?” The biggest one for me was in the scene at Verna’s funeral. It was after I killed her, but it was before you actually realized I’d killed her. Olivia comes up to me and says, “I’ll wait for you, Fitz,” and I turn to her and say, “No, I’ve changed my mind on that. Don’t.” That really shocked me. I almost couldn’t get the words out, I was so surprised. I’d been so insistent that we were meant to be together, that was a difficult turn.
That was more difficult than reading that Fitz essentially suffocates Verna?
The way it was structured, it was out of time sequence: You saw me say that to Liv at the funeral, and then you flash back to the murder scene. So in a way, when I murdered Verna, I was relieved ‘cause I realized I had a reason – I understood why I’d said that to Olivia. Whereas when I said that in the scene, you don’t understand at all why Fitz is doing that. And then I thought, “Oh, I see. It’s because I murdered Verna. Okay. Well, she deserved it.” [Laughs]
We will see Fitz and Olivia in scenes together in the season 3 premiere, now that her name’s been leaked to the press as the woman with whom Fitz was having an affair?
Yes. Fitz and Olivia are forced to deal with one another. It’s very much in the context of crisis management.
You’ve said Fitz has a line in the season’s second episode that will break Twitter. Is it another one of those shockingly cold, awesome lines?
No, I wouldn’t say “cold” would be the description of the line. But awesome, yes.
Can you tell us to whom you’re speaking?
No. But it’s good. It’s really good. You’ll know it when you hear it.
There’s also been a death teased in episode 4 – someone close to Fitz, but not a main character – that will rock him because he feels guilty and has something to hide.
There are some really dark threads to this season. It’s also funny and entertaining as ever, but Shonda’s pushin’ it. She’s going to some pretty dark places, and it’s just more complex I think than last season was – if that’s possible.
A lighter question then: You’re InStyle’s Man of Style in its September issue, and you posed in a bathtub. I feel like that gives me the right to ask whether we’ll see more Fitz shower scenes in season 3.
Um, I don’t know. [Laughs] That’s a Shonda question. I can tell you we have none yet. Maybe there’s a bathtub scene, I don’t know. We’ll see.
Last question: You’re also exec producing The Divide, WE tv’s first scripted series premiering in 2014, about a case worker with The Innocence Initiative who believes a death-row inmate has been wrongly convicted. How will that work with your Scandal schedule?
I’m doing both right now. Scandal, obviously, is the first priority. But we’re gonna have a hiatus of Scandal. The way Scandal is gonna work this year is we’re gonna air 10 episodes straight through. Last year, it was very maddening that it would be on for two weeks, and then off for a week, and then on for three, and then off for two. No one ever knew when it was going to be on, which was very frustrating for us and for the fans. So this year, we’re doing 10 in a row, with the exception of Thanksgiving. Then we’ll take a little break, and then come back for 12 more in a row. So there’s gonna be a gap between those where I will direct the first episode of The Divide, which will actually be the second episode because we already did the pilot. Beyond that, I’ll be involved as a producer – in the editing room, in the scripts, and going back and forth to the location as much as I can. I like multitasking, so it will be good.