×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Kerry Washington Remembers Her First Feature Role in ‘Our Song’

These days, Kerry Washington has her hands full juggling Olivia Pope’s messy personal and professional lives on ABC’s “Scandal.” But given her own personal commitment to arts education, she finds it fitting that her first feature — and Variety credit — was “Our Song,” about how resources can transform the lives of young people, much as this early part transformed her own.

How did you get the part?

When I read that script, I really wanted that role — I loved everything about it. The director, Jim McKay, was concerned because my character has her 16th birthday in the movie, but I had just graduated from college, so I was 21. He wanted the film to feel very authentic. He said, “I want you to think about living in your body as a 15-year-old.” So I worked really hard on that, and I got the part.

Who were your heroes?

This was a period when I was trying to (establish) my independence in New York. But my mom was incredibly supportive. This was a low-budget, independent film, so our transportation budget was 30 Metrocards. So she would drive from the Bronx down to Brooklyn and take all three of us girls (who were starring in the movie) home. Which was so huge.

What was the best thing about that time in your life?

I was doing what I loved to do, I was doing it for the first time, and with a real actor’s director … a phenomenal collaborator. There’s a moment before most movies where it says “a film by,” and it says the name of the director. Jim McKay is the kind of director where it says “a film by,” and it lists the name of every single member of the cast and crew. I’m really grateful to this day that my first job was with him.

Did you read the review when it came out?

I’ve never read reviews. I don’t find that they are helpful for me as an artist. It just increases the amount of time I need in a therapist’s office.

What did you learn from this experience?

To never forget that filmmaking is a collaborative experience. When I’m at work on “Scandal,” I know that without a crew, we’re a bunch of actors in a black box; we don’t get to share it with the world if we don’t have technical capability and genius around us. I enjoy being part of a community of artists and artisans, and I respect the artists I work with.

If you could go back, is there anything you would do differently?

I would have taken more pictures. I had a cellphone, but that was before every cellphone had a camera in it.

More Film

  • Judi Dench

    ‘Blithe Spirit’ With Judi Dench, Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher Scores International Sales

    Filming has started on “Blithe Spirit,” an adaptation of Noel Coward’s classic comedy about love that just won’t die. Judi Dench, Isla Fisher and Dan Stevens are among the cast in the picture, which is helmed by Edward Hall (“Downton Abbey”). Protagonist has closed a raft of pre-sales on the project, which was previously adapted [...]

  • Edward Cheng, Tencent Pictures CEO

    Tencent Pictures Line-Up Mixes Hollywood Content and China Propaganda

    A slate of Chinese propaganda films rubs shoulders with high-profile Hollywood movies on Tencent Pictures upcoming line-up.  The firm confirmed its investment in U.S. projects including: TriStar Pictures’ “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a film about beloved TV host Mr. Rogers, starring Tom Hanks; “Monster Hunter,” Paul W.S. Anderson’s next film adaptation of a [...]

  • Night scenery of the Bund in

    Shanghai: Festivals Grapple With How to Stay Relevant in the Digital Era

    Festival organizers from around the world on Tuesday discussed the challenges of remaining relevant in a digital era at a Shanghai International Film Festival forum. The Festival do Rio’s executive director Ilda Santiago noted that online platforms are now an unavoidable part of the film business and creative process, and that “of course not all [...]

  • Kiernan Shipka and Ross LynchMTV Movie

    MTV Movie & TV Awards: What You Didn't See on TV

    Many of the biggest stars in movies and television — including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kiernan Shipka, Sandra Bullock, Tessa Thompson and Brie Larson — came together to present and receive honors at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards, hosted by “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi. And while non-attendees are able to enjoy [...]

  • Johnny BananasMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    'The Challenge' Veteran Crashes MTV Awards Acceptance Speech; Cut From Broadcast

    Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio pulled a Kanye West at Saturday’s taping of the MTV Movie & TV awards when “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” won over “The Challenge” in the Reality Royalty category. However, viewers didn’t get to see it. Producers of the show cut out Devenanzio’s speech from Monday’s airing, after the reality star took [...]

  • Zachary LeviMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    MTV Movie & TV Awards Winners: The Complete List

    The MTV Movie & TV Awards returned to television Monday, with host Zachary Levi and a number of pop culture favorites. Dominating this year’s nominations with four apiece were front runners “Avengers: Endgame,” which took home the evening’s best movie award, and “Game of Thrones,” which won best show. The Oscar-nominated documentary “RBG” also scored [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content