We Hung Out With Olivia Pope’s Dad — And He Wasn’t Scary At All

joemortonembedPhoto: Courtesy of PMK*BNC.
Your favorite go-to snack is a glass of red wine and some popcorn. You instinctively turn down any plans proposed for Thursday night. You use phrases like "Consider it handled," "I'm your gladiator," and, "If you want me, earn me" in your everyday life.
If you identify with one or more of the above, chances are you're addicted to Scandal. And, with the show's three-month hiatus (which feels more like an eternity, really), you are probably going through some serious withdrawals. Guess what? You're not alone. We are right there with you, aching for some new Fitz and Olivia drama, some Cyrus Bean plotting, and ANY information on Oliva's mom.
Luckily, we caught up with Joe Morton (a.k.a Olivia Pope's dad and recent NAACP Image Award nominee) at Audi's Golden Globes pre-party, where he gave us the 411 on what it's like working with Kerry, how he prepares for his intense scenes, and what the cast does to lighten the mood when the show gets dark.

How is working with Kerry?

"She's wonderful. She’s very smart, very talented. She's extremely kind. We did a scene yesterday, and at the end of the scene, she turned to the extras and told them how good they were. So, she's terrific."

How is she taking the success?

"I think she owns it in that it belongs to all of us. She doesn’t feel like she does this all by herself."

Does the cast spend a lot of time together after shooting?

"Well, you know with anything else, when you finish your work, you go home. Depending on what’s going on. But, everyone really sort of hangs out while were working. A lot of talk, especially in the makeup trailer. So, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a very comfortable atmosphere to work in."

What's it like when you read the script and find out what's going to happen for the first time?
"It’s a lot fun. People start yelling and screaming and laughing. Pointing at each other. Embarrassed because this, that, or the other thing might happen. So, we have as much fun when we read the script, I hope, as you guys have when you actually watch it on TV. It's just a good time. And, I think Shonda sets it up that way, so that we sort of don’t deal with expectations because we don’t know what’s going to happen."

The show can get pretty deep and dark. How does the cast lighten the mood? Any on-set pranks or funny stories?
"Well, I’m sure you know that Josh Malina is sort of the prankster on the set. So, he’s the one that does a lot of that. I’ll kind of walk away and get myself, because usually if I have those big monologues, I have to sort of know what I’m talking about."

How do you prepare for those big scenes?
"It takes time. Fortunately, she gives us time to work on those kind of things. So, I spend a lot of time dealing with it. There are two questions that are important to every actor in every scene and every line: What do you want, and to what extent are you willing to go to get it? So, I spend a lot of time with those two questions. Finding as many answers to those questions as I can."