‘Scandal’ cast at PaleyFest: 13 things you didn’t know about the show

Actors Guillermo Diaz, left, Scott Foley and Kerry Washington field questions on stage in Hollywood during a PaleyFest panel discussion about "Scandal."
(Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

Hundreds of “Scandal” fans packed the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood for a chance to take selfies with lead actress Kerry Washington and to hear her castmates in a panel discussion moderated by Jimmy Kimmel.

The event was part of the weeklong PaleyFest, sponsored by the Paley Center for Media, where fans can meet the actors and creators of some of television’s most popular shows.

From the “Scandal” talk Sunday night, here are 13 bits of trivia that any gladiator will want to know:

  1. The term “gladiator,” used to describe a fan of the show, was coined by a viewer after the first episode. It’s derived from the now-infamous scene between Harrison and Quinn when he asks her if she wants to be “a gladiator in a suit.”

  2. In true Hollywood fashion, Jeff Perry (who plays Cyrus) slept with the casting director to get the job. The casting director happens to be his wife, Linda Lowy.

  3. Those fast-talking monologues just about every character has? The speed with which they are done is called “Scandal pace.”

  4. Kerry Washington and Katie Lowes (who plays Quinn) watch “Game of Thrones” together.

  5. Celebrities can be gladiators too. The “Scandal” cast said those who have pledged their allegiance to Olivia Pope include former President Bill Clinton, ex-NBA star Magic Johnson, Justin Bieber and fashion icon Iman.

  6. How can the cast not know what’s next for their characters? They are not allowed in the writers room (except when directing, as cast member Tony Goldwyn has done). They don’t see scripts until the table read. Sometimes they can get subtle hints through questions series creator Shonda Rhimes asks. For example, Washington was asked if she would mind running barefoot — weeks before Olivia was kidnapped and infamously ran toward the red door in hopes of escaping.

  7. Guillermo Díaz (who plays Huck) has been licked by a fan while posing for a selfie.

  8. On Harrison’s death (and actor Columbus Short’s dismissal from the cast): “Everybody that’s in this family, is in this family whether they work or not,” Washington said. “I don’t celebrate the laughter.”

  9. The fried chicken that Mellie (Bellamy Young) devoured throughout her depression stage was actually vegan fried chicken — and she took the leftovers home: “It was so good,” Young said.

  10. When Olivia was kidnapped, that was Rhimes’ way of highlighting the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign, Washington said. This campaign, characterized by an outpouring of demonstrations and protest via social media, was related to 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who had been kidnapped by extremist group Boko Haram last year. “Rather than war for hundreds of black women missing, she made a president go to war for this one woman,” Washington said. “It became the epitome of ‘black lives matter.’ What a wonderful, poignant choice for hers.”

  11. In case you didn’t know, West Angola is not a real country. Neither is East Sudan.

  12. Though Olivia is a black woman, race is not an ever-present theme of the show. But with the most recent episode, inspired by the killing of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., Washington said it was like a “coming of age, coming of race” for her character. “I was really moved that Shonda had a lot of feelings about what’s been going on. Her form of protest, expression, way to contribute is to write.”

  13. When the show ends, cast members have their eyes on props they would like to take with them. Lowes wants Quinn’s whole apartment. Diaz is eyeing the shake weight in Huck’s office. Young wants the massive table from the Pope and Associates office (Don’t we all?).

Follow the reporter on Twitter: @TrevellAnderson.