‘Scandal’ Interview: Katie Lowes On Quinn Perkins, More Twists To Come, And Reveals Plans For A Cast Dance

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What’s better than finding out who Quinn Perkins is on tonight’s season two premiere of Scandal? Finding out just a little more about the actor who plays her—Katie Lowes. Seriously, could she be more likeable? Quinn was caught in quite the cliffhanger last season, but don’t fret fans! She will soon be revealed and then some. According to Katie, viewers of the ABC series will be happy to find out her true identity, but soon realize that we’ll be introduced to whole lot more soon.

So with not too many spoilers (we swear!) here’s our exclusive with Katie about all things Scandal. She not only touches on Fitz and Olivia’s relationship and her favorite episodes, but also what its like to film a political series during election year.

Bonus: There’s a chance the cast will tape a dancing video after they complete all 13 episodes. Apparently, the crew at Olivia Pope and Associates like to choreograph a dance when the cameras stop rolling.

 

Quinn came in as quite the newbie lawyer. What do you love most about playing her?
KATIE LOWES:
 I love that she’s the newbie. I can definitely relate to that! Not that I feel new to acting – I mean, I’ve been an actor since I came out of my mom’s belly, is what I always say – I’ve been doing it forever! But in a way, this is an ensemble show, and everybody in the cast has worked a ton, and I just haven’t worked as much as [they have.] So, I can relate in that I sort of feel like the newbie on set. And sometimes to get into the scenes, we definitely like to act like our characters with each other. So I can relate to her in that way, and I love playing that part about her.

I also love playing roles where they’re just placed in terrible situations, and your job is to react honestly. And that is so Quinn! Being the new person in this crazy crisis management firm, where every day, you know, some horrible, crazy scandal walks into your office. Whether it [is] a murderer thing, or a sex scandal, if it’s a political figure, or an athletic figure, or a celebrity – or whatever it is – Quinn gets to really see it for the first time. She’s the audience’s eyes and ears. I like to say you guys are seeing this world for the first time, and so is Quinn. I take on that responsibility to show the world of Olivia Pope and Associates to you guys and I take it seriously – and I love it!

This season is going to be really interesting for Quinn, because she’s not the newbie anymore – she’s been around for a little bit, and even though she’s definitely functioning as the audience’s eyes and ears, she definitely knows more. She definitely has secrets. She’s definitely hiding some stuff. There’s a lot of conflict going on for her this season, which is so fun to play!

Quinn left season one with quite the cliffhanger!
Well, definitely in the first episode back, you find out who Quinn Perkins is right off the gate. You find out who she is and where she comes from. But, of course – as only the brilliant Shonda Rhymes can do – it leads you to SO many more questions. I think the viewers will be satisfied for like, a minute, and it’ll just be like, ‘Oh my God! This is part of something so much bigger, and much higher stakes.’ We’re only on episode six of the season and I only learn as I get each script. Shonda keeps everything secretive.

So much about Scandal is about the twist and the turns, and all of these cliffhangers, and who is really who, and who can you trust, and nothing is as it seems. So, if it was leaked, I just don’t think it would be as exciting. I spent all summer with people asking me on the streets – strangers stopping me – asking, ‘Who is Quinn Perkins?’ And that’s all because Shonda Rhymes is amazing at her job.

That must be a favorite characteristic of yours about her. Does she always keep it tight-lipped? You’ve worked on Grey’s.

Yes, it is one of my favorite parts now, even though at first it’s SO challenging. Because you just have to trust her, and you just have to trust the process. Clearly, she has quite the wonderful track record, so you’re like, ‘obviously she knows better than me. What the hell do I know?’ So you trust her, and you’re just along for this ride, and in a way it’s really freeing, and I’ve just been absolutely loving it!

Have people been begging you to find out what Quinn’s real name is?
Oh my God! Begging! It’s a really good name! I like it. Yeah, people are begging to know the name.

It must be so exciting because it’s difficult to keep loyal viewers today in television with so many shows out there. But Scandal’sdone a great job at that. Do you get a sense of success on the set?
We are so fortunate in that yes, I can say that. I can say that honestly, yes, we are so excited, and genuinely, 100%, all get along and hold each other up in the best way an ensemble can do. And I don’t think that that’s the case. I don’t have a ton of experience with this, but I have heard horror stories where that is definitely not the case. Where people work on a show that they don’t believe in, or they don’t like the material, or they don’t like each other. And this show, the stars aligned or something. We love the material and everybody really loves their part. Whenever somebody else in the cast gets really meaty scenes, we’re calling and texting like, ‘I can’t wait to watch that!’ We are really excited, and we all feel incredibly indebted to our fans for getting us a second season and staying loyal to the show. It is hard. There are so many other shows, and there are so many other networks and stations and it is really hard to get a following of a show. Our fans are kick-ass!

Do you have a favorite episode?
Last season, episode one was obviously one of my top favorites, just because it’s where everything started. It was my audition scenes, so it will always have a special place in my heart. But my favorite episode of the season last year was actually episode six, which was the flashback episode. Quinn was very light in the episode, but it was the flashback episode where you see how Olivia and the president first meet, and what their relationship was two years ago. I just thought it was the coolest episode ever directed by Tom Verica, who is working with us a bunch this season, and he’s an actor as well. And that’s just such a gift to work with a director who is an also an actor, because he just gets it. And then, this season, Episode 1 is clearly my favorite because it’s all about ‘Who is Quinn Perkins?’ But so far, another favorite of mine is this episode that we read today, that I can’t tell you anything about, but it’s episode six. When you watch it, you’re going to flip your s-h-i-t.

Can’t wait! What are your thoughts on Olivia’s relationship with Fitz?
It’s so weird. This is why Shonda Rhymes and all of the writers are so good. Nothing is black or white, and you can’t – as much as you want to judge Fitz for cheating on his wife, or sleeping with the little White House aide – as much as you want to judge him, you realize that all of these characters are human, and they are all very conflicted. And so, as much as you want to hate the president, you just love him because he loves Olivia so much, and he just married the wrong woman at a very young age, and people make mistakes. I think that’s what’s awesome about this show too. You can’t really judge anyone! Nobody’s evil. Nobody’s right. Nobody’s wrong. Nobody’s evil, and nobody’s good. Everyone is really messed up and human, in the best of ways.

Is it exciting having the political election going on right now?
Oh, yes! Unreal! It is so cool! We are a political show, during an election year, and I think that that is only good for the show. It definitely keeps us heated on the set. In no way, shape, or form does anyone try to tell anyone how to vote, but our show is especially passionate about voting, and having an opinion, and making sure that you know it’s your duty to have your opinion heard. I don’t know if you know, but Kerry Washington spoke at the Democratic National Convention.

Yes, she did!
And she was awesome! She was the first person to come back on set and be like, ‘that was extracurricular! Just please make sure everyone vote. This is so important to be a responsible citizen of this country.’

And lastly, are there any behind-the-scenes jokes on set?
Oh God. We’re ridiculous because it’s such a dramatic show, and we’re a group of such idiots. Just silliness goes on set. We all love to dance, and right now we’re in the middle of choreographing a Scandal dance with the cast. About every other day we add on another move, and the move will usually be inspired by some sort of blocking that somebody else does. So we have that going on!

Is there a certain song that goes with that?
We haven’t picked a song yet! We’re going to make the whole thing over 13 episodes, and then we’re going to pick a song, and we’re going to try to tape it or something. What else do we like to do? We like to do these little things called “eye hugs” where we’ll look at each other from across the room, and as slow as we can, blink our eyes and give each other a nice little “eye hug.”

This must be the most unique inside joke on a television set ever.
If you or anyone else were to come to set, they would be shocked at how skilled at everyone is at making a fart noise and then jumping into the most serious life or death scene.

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