It’s hard to imagine a version of Scandal without Kerry Washington leading the charge as Olivia Pope, but the truth of the matter is, she wasn’t the first choice to bring everyone’s favorite capitol crisis manager to life.
Series creator Shonda Rhimes recently took part in an oral history of Scandal event put on by The Hollywood Reporter where she revealed that originally, ABC was really interested in having Friday Night Lights alum Connie Britton take on the role.
The network might have been pushing for Britton, but Rhimes herself had a very important reason for putting her foot down and insisting on casting a black woman in the role of Olivia.
According to Vulture, it was important for Rhimes to cast a black woman in the role because she wanted to invoke a “sense of outsiderness.”
“When the show got picked up, I got a phone call from somebody who said, ‘This would be the perfect show for Connie Britton.’ I said, ‘It would be, except Olivia Pope is black,’” recalled Rhimes.
As much as we can totally see why Britton would have been at the top of the casting list, we’re definitely glad the role ended up going to Kerry Washington in the end!