Kerry Washington was 'terrified' by responsibility of playing Anita Hill

PASADENA, Calif. -- Kerry Washington says she was acutely aware of the challenge of playing Anita Hill in a miniseries dramatizing Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

See Full Article

"I was terrified. Portraying somebody who's real is a different kind of responsibility, especially when they're alive. That significance was not lost on me," Washington told a TV critics' meeting Thursday.

Washington, who is also an executive producer on HBO's "Confirmation," debuting in April, said she was 14 in 1991 when Hill emerged as a witness against Thomas, accusing him of workplace sexual harassment a decade before.

The actress recalled her parents' passionate and contrasting reactions to the hearings, which she said made her determined that the miniseries avoid any "one-note" approach to the event and the people involved.

Thomas is played by Wendell Pierce ("Treme," "Ray Donovan"), who said he searched "for the humanity of the character" as actors typically do.

"I had to check my own prejudice about who I thought he was, and then I had this wonderful epiphany studying the man and realizing how much we had in common," Pierce said, including family roots in the South and influential grandfathers.

"I didn't think of him as a political figure. I thought of him as a man about to lose the greatest opportunity he ever had," Pierce said.

Thomas, who denied Hill's allegations, remains a Supreme Court justice.

Washington, who stars as a political crisis manager in "Scandal," was asked if her ABC series and "Confirmation" made her more or less cynical about Washington.

"I'm really inspired by the difference a person can make in Washington and the kind of cultural shift" that followed the hearings, she said, with new attention to issues including harassment, victim's rights, race and power.

Neither Washington nor others who involved in the project, including Greg Kinnear as U.S. Sen. Joe Biden, expressed an opinion during the Q&A session about Hill's or Thomas' version of events.


Latest Entertainment News

  • Tom Hanks sees U.S. election warning in thriller 'Inferno'

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- Embedded within the manic action of "Inferno," the latest big-screen adaptation of a Dan Brown thriller, is a warning about the dangers of seeking simple solutions to complex problems. Star Tom Hanks says it's a theme with echoes in the current U.S. Source
  • John K. Samson, Tanya Tagaq and Colin James top this week's new music

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Colin James Blue Highways All roads lead to the blues. Or in James’ case, back to the blues. The veteran singer-guitarist pays homage to his favourite 12-bar classics on his unvarnished umpteenth release, authentically covering everyone from Muddy and Wolf to Robert and Tommy Johnson — while cutting loose with plenty of fretboard fireworks. Source
  • New Prince music to be released next year

    Entertainment CTV News
    Prince's label on Friday announced it will release the first posthumous music from the pop icon including an entire second album to accompany "Purple Rain." The announcement, made a week after a tribute concert in Prince's native Minnesota meant to offer closure after his sudden death on April 21, comes as his estate steadily moves forward on a business plan for his vast holdings. Source
  • Giant nude statue in California is stirring controversy

    Entertainment CTV News
    SAN LEANDRO, Calif. - There have long been complaints about the lack of women in the tech industry. Now there's a towering female figure, in a tech park across the bay from San Francisco, although not quite what some people had in mind. Source
  • Hugh Jackman is back as Wolverine in the first trailer for 'Logan'

    Entertainment CTV News
    The official trailer has been released for upcoming Wolverine movie, "Logan." Set in the future after the loss of the X-Men, the film sees Hugh Jackman return for the third time as Wolverine, also known as Logan, while Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Professor Charles Xavier. Source
  • Movie reviews: Latest 'Jack Reacher' action-packed, with dose of sentimentality

    Entertainment CTV News
    JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK: 3 STARS Who exactly is Jack Reacher? If you are a reader, he’s the protagonist of 20 books by British author Lee Child. If you’re a moviegoer, he’s a bone-crunching former major in the U.S. Source
  • Lady Gaga returns to bar where she launched career

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Lady Gaga returned to the New York City bar where she performed years ago as an unsigned act on the eve of her new album's release, singing rock and pop songs for an audience including Robert De Niro, Helen Mirren, die-hard fans and music industry insiders. Source
  • Kanye West blasts Jay-Z for not reaching out after Kim Kardashian robbery

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Kanye West has taken aim at his mentor Jay Z for failing to personally visit him and wife Kim Kardashian following her terrifying armed robbery ordeal. The Stronger hitmaker got his start as a producer for Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records before embarking on his own rap career, but relations between the longtime pals have been particularly strained in recent years after Jay and his wife Beyonce decided against attending Kanye’s European wedding to reality star Kim in 2014. Source
  • Lady Gaga: 'I'm nothing like Madonna, I write my own songs'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Lady Gaga’s ongoing feud with Madonna has stirred up again after the Poker Face singer accused the veteran of not writing her own tunes or playing her instruments. The divas first fell out when critics compared Gaga’s Born This Way to Madonna’s Express Yourself and the pop icon accused the younger star of ripping off her tune. Source
  • 'I saw an obnoxious erratic individual:' RZA breaks silence on Azealia Banks-Russell Crowe drama

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Hip hop legend RZA has publicly addressed the scandalous fall-out between Azealia Banks and Russell Crowe for the first time. The Wu-Tang Clan star broke his silence on the matter in a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday, dismissing Banks’ claims she was the victim of the Gladiator star’s unprovoked violent and racist attack at a party he threw at the Beverly Hills Hotel last weekend. Source