Praise the Lord, #TGIT is back! To prepare, we spoke with Scandal's Tony Goldwyn, A.K.A. President Fitzgerald Grant, about what it's like portraying the President of the United States of America, where Fitz is at emotionally after the loss of his son, and of course, we discussed Olivia Pope.
We’re curious, do people have a hard time differentiating you as an actor because you play such an huge figure on TV as President Grant? Have fans ever called you the President?
I’m not sure if it has to do with being the President. I guess I do get a certain type of respect that I wouldn’t get if it was just me. People seem to get a real kick out of that. People tend to call me “The President” a lot.
What do you have to do to get into the mentality of such as powerful character?
Now it’s pretty natural because I’ve been doing it for a while. But in the first and second season, the thing I had to remind myself all the time, the degree of pressure the president is always under, every single second of every single day, there is so much stress, and so much weighing on every single moment. You have to have a sort of grace under that pressure. That kind of informs everything and to find grace under that pressure and a way of being cool in the face of that. The stakes were always really high and once I internalized that, it was extremely helpful.
Where would you say Fitz is at emotionally/mentally over the loss of his oldest son Jerry?
Oh god, the loss of his son Jerry almost killed him. Then there was the loss of Olivia that happened at the end of last season. But then Olivia returned and even though they’re not together, she’s back in his life in a way. But there’s hope, as he discovered. But the death of Jerry focused Fitz in a way that he’s determined. When he then lost Olivia, he was lost and utterly destroyed inside, but he was determined to be as effective a president as he can be. Now Olivia’s back and, as of the last episode in the mid-season finale, which I directed, Olivia’s been kidnapped. Fitz is being blackmailed now, that if he doesn’t go into this war in West Angola, that she will be killed and he’ll never see her again. Now Fitz has a terrible problem, because that completely undermines everything he intended to do in the wake of his son’s death to honor that memory and his job. But also the loss of Olivia is something that he can’t tolerate because he’s so desperately in love with her and so dependent on her.
How far do you think he would go to save Olivia?
I don’t know. We’ll have to see where everything goes, I can’t give any spoilers. But it’s sort of an existential crisis for Fitz. He has a responsibility to his job, the country, and everything he sees himself being about. But at the same time Olivia means more to him than anything in the world. It’s just an impossible quantity of situations.
Can you explain what it’s like to portray that relationship? What Olivia and Fitz have is nothing like anything else on TV.
You know what it is, these two people connect on a very, very deep level – emotionally, sexually, intellectually – everything. And at the same time, it’s an impossible relationship. The circumstances of their lives make it impossible. They keep making it more impossible. But it’s one of those relationships, that no matter what happens, once they’re in proximity of each other, all bets are off. They can’t deny the connection that they have. They can be enraged with each other, whatever their opinions are of what they should think; it just evaporates when they’re in each other’s presence. It’s an undeniable baseline reality of who they are to each other. It’s a very extreme kind of thing that happens.
Do you think there is something very specific about that relationship that has so many fans rooting for them, despite the fact that Fitz is married?
Well look, Fitz and Olivia it’s not just any infidelity. The truth is, yes they had an affair but you know Fitz has been in a very dysfunctional marriage and has stood up forthrightly and asked his wife for a divorce. He told Olivia he was leaving his wife. He said to Olivia 2 years ago, “I’m done, I’m choosing you.” He’s not some man who just wont leave his wife. He’s tried everything to be with the woman he loves, and Olivia, in collusion with Mellie, has blocked it. She’s forced him to wait. I know people have an issue with the infidelity but it’s not like his wife doesn’t know and he hasn’t been honest about it. And for that, I have no moral judgment about that as far as Fitz, he’s not trying to have his cake and eat it too. He’s transgressed and sinned, but so has Mellie and so has Olivia, they’re all human.
What’s different about Olivia’s relationship with Jake versus Fitz?
I think that Jake and Olivia’s relationship is one thing, but Fitz and Olivia, I believe separate from these insane circumstances of him being the President and all the pressures that come to bear and all of Olivia’s fears about intimacy and giving herself over to someone. I think Fitz believes and I believe, in his advocacy, that if she would do what he said, they would be able to begin something substantial and powerful. They could have a family together. Hell, they’re not going to move to Vermont and he’s not going to be the mayor, that’s a fantasy but they could, as a couple, build a life together and it would be so much more powerful than they are separate. They could have a very ideal relationship, I believe. I think her relationship with Jake is something different. It’s an escape for all that. Maybe they would have a successful relationship. I do believe Olivia loves both men. But I also think that she and Fitz have a very deep connection on so many levels, professionally, and in so many ways. I think there is more heft to it.. Then there is their chemistry, while she and Jake have good chemistry, Fitz and Olivia have a chemistry that is so beyond a sexual connection, it’s that plus so much else.
Do you think that’s what fans really see? When Fitz and Olivia are in a room together, it’s very obvious their feelings and emotions for each other.
It’s super charged. They see each other and know each other in a deep, almost historic way. That was Fitz’s big point in the past, “you know me,” they connect and see the best of each other. They see the true person. I think Jake and Olivia, in a relationship, would be creating a whole new thing. They’d be leaving their life and running away and it would be a whole big thing. Maybe they can start all over and Jake can leave behind his life and start with Olivia. I think with Fitz and Olivia, they could work, if they make their way through his gauntlet. They’ve always known where they’ve been. We don’t know Jake’s past. He’s a mystery figure. He’s been a soldier his whole life. And then a B613 operative.
Switching to Fitz’s other relationship, can you tell us if you think things between Fitz and Mellie will ever recover, not the marriage but just as Fitz and Mellie, after all that’s happened, Jerry’s death on top of it all?
I think it goes back and forth with Mellie. I don’t see Mellie and Fitz recovering their romantic relationship, ever. But at the same time, as much as Fitz was disgusted and offended and to his core just cut Mellie off, when she sort of betrayed him, he still understands Mellie. He knows that’s not who Mellie really is. That’s not who the true Mellie is. That’s the desperate, damaged, wounded Mellie. He’s got the love-hate relationship with Mellie. He has real contempt for what Mellie stands for, but he has intense guilt over his neglect of Mellie. His father raped his wife and he’s got all this guilt. He’s got this complicated thing. But at the same time he respects and loves and admires Mellie for all of her best qualities and he’s also not willing to give up on that. Like so many marriages, it keeps flipping from one to the other, but they have a partnership there. They have a mutual kind of respect in some way. They both know each other’s attributes as each other’s failings.
You directed that crazy mid-season finale. Can we look forward to you directing any more episodes in this season?
No sadly, I don’t have any more for this season.
What was it like directing yourself and then your co-workers, given you’ve been working with them so much and you’re so invested in this storyline?
It’s such an experience to work from inside of it. It’s also a great privilege to be able to work with all these great actors in a different way than when I am acting with them. It’s exciting for all of us. I get to work with people I don’t usually have scenes with, like Guillermo (Huck) and Katie (Quinn), who I don’t ever act with much on screen if at all. It’s wonderful. It’s a great experience.
So, can you give us an unbiased response on whether you’re Team Jake or Team Fitz?
I endorse God fully, but I have to admit that I’m Team Fitz. I say that with full appreciation of the Jake-Olivia relationship. But I think for me, that’s a fantasy relationship, at least now, its not grounded in anything real, it’s an erotically charged escape relationship for both of those people. I think Fitz and Olivia is a relationship based on two people who could be the answer for each other, they may never find their way there, but it’s very real and the facts are established in reality.
Scandal returns to ABC Thursday, January 29th at 9 P.M.
Rocker Tom Petty has insisted he had no intention of launching legal action against Sam Smith after it emerged that they were locked in a financial dispute over similarities in their music. Smith has agreed to give Petty and Jeff Lynne co-writing credits on his hit song Stay With Me due to similarities with the rockers' 1989 hit I Won't Back Down, which they co-wrote.
Britain's The Sun newspaper reported that the trio settled the copyright case out of court in October last year (14), but Petty is adamant there was no chance of it reaching the levels of a full-on legal battle and insists the whole clash was amicable.
In a statement, Petty says, "About the Sam Smith thing. Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam. All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen. Most times you catch it before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by.
"Sam's people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement. The word lawsuit was never even said and was never my intention. And no more was to be said about it.
"How it got out to the press is beyond Sam or myself. Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this. A musical accident no more no less. In these times we live in this is hardly news. I wish Sam all the best for his ongoing career. Peace and love to all."
The head of a volunteer group in London where Lindsay Lohan carried out her community service has spoken out to defend the actress after her work with the group was called into question amid a row over her hours. The Mean Girls actress was ordered to complete 240 hours of community service, stemming from a previous court case, before the end of the month (Jan15), and she carried out much of the work in London while she was appearing in a West End play.
Prosecutors in the U.S. are now examining her log amid reports she clocked up 80 hours in just nine days and counted meet-and-greets with fans as part her requirement, and she could face jail if she is deemed to have broken the rules.
Lohan teamed up with a charity group called Community Service Volunteers (CSV) during her time in London, and the head of the organisation has now spoken out to defend the star, insisting she worked hard and made a valid contribution.
CSV's Chief Executive, Oonagh Aitken, tells WENN, "We are delighted that Lindsay is volunteering for CSV in Hackney (east London), particularly the work she's doing with our young volunteers on the Positive Futures program. She has also helped to promote the Red Route Cafe; our community cafe which is run with the help of volunteers on Lower Clapton road in Hackney. She has shown interest in the benefits volunteering can bring to people of all ages across the U.K."
It has also been revealed to WENN that Lohan carried out a number of activities during her time with CSV, including writing resumes with youngsters, contributing to a community radio show, and helping out with the charity's cafe.
A statement from CSV to WENN, reads, "As the UK's leading volunteering charity CSV (was) delighted to be able to offer Lindsay Lohan the chance to volunteer on our Positive Futures program... Lindsay has been volunteering with Positive Futures in Hackney (east London) working alongside young volunteers as they gain new skills, boost their CV and gain confidence through volunteering. She has buddied up with a young volunteer and has built strong relationships with volunteers and CSV staff, contributing to a community radio show, CSV's Red Route Cafe and planning future events."
Lindsay Lohan is facing a possible jail term for counting meet-and-greets with fans as part of her community service work.
The Mean Girls actress raced to finish her 240-hour volunteering before a court deadline on Wednesday (26Jan15) but officials have called into question the legitimacy of work she carried out in London. It is alleged she volunteered 80 hours in just nine days, counted 18 hours of meet-and-greets with fans outside her London play as part her requirement, and also included 70 hours of being "shadowed" by young people on internships.
Prosecutor Terry White was given extra time to verify the work she carried out with London organization Community Service Volunteers (CSV), and he wants a judge to punish the actress for copping out of her community service requirements, according to TMZ.com. White has accused Lohan of manipulating the system to reach her target hours and wants her sent to jail for not completing her community order legitimately.
Lohan's lawyer Shawn Holley told a Los Angeles judge that CSV bosses had approved the volunteering tasks Lohan undertook in London. A decision will be taken once White has investigated further with CSV bosses.
Blythe Danner has implored the public not to mock her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow for describing her divorce from Chris Martin as "conscious uncoupling". Paltrow and Martin left fans baffled last year (14) when they announced they had decided to "consciously uncouple" after 10 years of marriage, and many critics mocked the Iron Man star for using such convoluted language to describe a divorce.
The actress' mother Danner has now spoken out in defence of her daughter, insisting she is proud of Paltrow and Martin for staying friendly for the sake of their two kids.
She tells the New York Post's gossip column Page Six, "People make fun of this... (But) they are so smart... Both incredibly brilliant. They're making it work, they're great friends and the kids are in wonderful shape. So I have to take my hat off to both of them."
British singer Sam Smith is unexpectedly rooting against himself at the upcoming Grammy Awards, because he cannot imagine beating BEYONCE for a music honour. The breakout star's debut record, In The Lonely Hour, is nominated for Album of the Year at the upcoming prizegiving, and Beyonce's self-titled hit album is also up for the prize.
Smith, who is tied with the R&B star for six nominations, admits that he's is eager to give credit where credit is due - especially when it comes to Beyonce.
He tells Rolling Stone, "She deserves it way more than I do. I'd be embarrassed if I got it over her. If I got it, I'd give it to her."
Smith and Beyonce are up against Beck, Ed Sheeran and Pharrell Williams. The Grammys will be handed out on 8 February (15).
Icelandic singer Bjork is thankful her new album Vulnicura was "mastered and ready" when the whole project leaked online earlier this month (Jan15), because she was able to minimise the damage by rush-releasing the disc. The It's Oh So Quiet hitmaker hadn't planned to share the new material with fans until March (15), but she moved swiftly to make the music available to purchase after falling victim to hackers, and she is convinced the 24-hour turn-around essentially saved her project from disaster.
She tells BBC Radio One, "There is no way to say how you should react. In my situation, I had one thing going for me - the album was mastered and ready. I don't know how I would have reacted if it was four months before (its scheduled release). It might have been messier...."
Bjork confesses she was relieved to unveil the songs of heartbreak earlier than planned, because the whole album reminded her of her painful 2013 split from longtime boyfriend Matthew Barney.
She adds, "I think also, because of the nature of the album for me emotionally, it's the sort of subject matter where I really wanted to just get it out of the way, over and done with it. My gut reaction was immediately like that. It was an immediate album and I did it so quickly and it was like 'Oh, it's leaked, let's just put it out.'"
Rockers Fall Out Boy have scored their third number one U.S. album thanks to sales of American Beauty/american Psycho. Over 218,000 copies of the album were sold last week, taking the release straight to the top of the Billboard 200 and toppling Meghan Trainor's Title, which drops to three on the new countdown, behind another former number one, Taylor Swift's 1989.
Ed Sheeran's X and Joey Bada$$' B4.Da.$$ round out the new top five, while The Decemberists and Marilyn Manson also debut new albums in the top 10.
Meanwhile, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' Uptown Funk hit has landed a fourth week atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The popular dance tune keeps Ed Sheeran's Thinking Out Loud off the top, while Hozier's Take Me To Church returns to the top three at three.
R&B veteran Kevin Thornton is taking his original Color Me Badd bandmates to court in a bid to ban former frontman Bryan Abrams from returning to the line-up. Thornton claims the singer, who voluntarily quit the I Wanna Sex You Up group in 2013 to deal with a series of personal issues, recently managed to convince fellow member Mark Calderon to "allow him back into the band" in place of new vocalist Martin Kember, who has been performing with Color Me Badd in Abrams' absence.
The plaintiff alleges Abrams and Calderon have since been trying to exclude him from the group and its company, CMB Entertainment LLC, which was formed upon the three stars' reunion in 2010.
Thornton is asking an Indiana judge to dissolve the firm, arguing it was created under false pretences as he believes Abrams was not sober, as he stated at the time, when he signed the agreement.
In addition, he is requesting damages for emotional distress, allegedly caused by Abrams' extreme conduct as he reportedly attempted to push Thornton out of the band.
Thornton is hoping to resolve the issue before Color Me Badd hit the road for a number of shows in 2015, with Kember still billed as part of the trio's line-up.
Fallen pop star Gary Glitter has told a court he was sexually abused as a child. The glam rock legend is on trial in London for allegedly molesting three girls at the height of his fame in the 1970s, and on Wednesday (28Jan15) he was quizzed by prosecutors about his 1999 conviction for possessing child porn.
Glitter - real name Paul Gadd - insisted he is not a paedophile before suggesting he might have been viewing the depraved images to "work out" his feelings over his own childhood.
He told a jury at London's Southwark Crown Court, "I was abused as a child so maybe I was trying to work my own feelings out. Today it would not happen, I have no interest in looking at that awful porn now. (I have) absolutely no interest at all, it has destroyed my life, it has destroyed my family's life and it has most likely destroyed all those poor victims' lives. I have total empathy for those poor children."
Glitter, 70, denies 10 charges of sexually abusing three girls between 1975 and 1980.
The trial continues.