×
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

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

  • Roman Polanski extradition

    Academy Responds to Roman Polanski: 'Procedures Were Fair and Reasonable'

    UPDATE: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has responded to a lawsuit from director Roman Polanski that claimed he was unfairly expelled from the organization behind the Oscars. “The procedures taken to expel Mr. Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate,” a spokesperson said. The Academy’s statement [...]

  • Lorraine Warren dead

    Lorraine Warren, Paranormal Investigator Who Inspired 'The Conjuring,' Dies at 92

    Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigator and demonologist whose life inspired franchises like “The Conjuring” and “The Amityville Horror,” has died. She was 92. Warren’s son-in-law Tony Spera confirmed the news. Spera said on Facebook, “She died peacefully in her sleep at home.” He continued, “She was a remarkable, loving, compassionate and giving soul. To quote Will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content