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

  • 'Roseanne' revival aims to keep it real, Trump included

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Roseanne Barr looks more glamorous, John Goodman slimmer. But the mass-market plaid couch is a giveaway that ABC's "Roseanne" revival hasn't ditched its roots. The blue-collar Conner family and the times in which they live are at the heart of the sitcom debuting at 8 p.m. Source
  • Jim Parsons says he's fortunate to have worked with Hawking

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Jim Parsons cherished the opportunity to work with Stephen Hawking, but admitted he was a bit intimidated to meet the celebrated theoretical physicist. Hawking or his voice appeared in seven episodes of Parsons' hit series "The Big Bang Theory. Source
  • Cosby wants judge ousted over wife's sex-assault advocacy

    Entertainment CTV News
    PHILADELPHIA -- Bill Cosby's lawyers are asking the judge in his upcoming sexual assault retrial to step aside, arguing he could be seen as biased because his wife is a social worker who's described herself as an "advocate for assault victims. Source
  • 'My luck hasn't been very good lately:' Céline Dion cancels more shows over health issues

    Entertainment CBC News
    ?Céline Dion has cancelled a string of shows between March 27 and April 18 due to a hearing condition that she says will require a "minimally invasive surgical procedure." A new statement on the singer's Facebook page says she has been dealing with an ear condition, described as Patulous Eustachian tube, which "causes hearing irregularities, and makes it extremely difficult to sing. Source
  • Fred Savage denies abuse on set of 'The Grinder'

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Fred Savage says allegations in a lawsuit that he was abusive to a woman on the set of the Fox series "The Grinder" are "absolutely untrue." Costumer Youngjoo Hwang claims in the suit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles, that Savage berated her, struck her arm and behaved aggressively toward female employees. Source
  • Celine Dion cancels more shows, says she needs 'minimally invasive' ear surgery

    Entertainment CTV News
    Celine Dion has cancelled a string of shows between March 27 and April 18 due to a hearing condition called Patulous Eustachian tube that she says will require a "minimally invasive surgical procedure." The Quebec pop star had to cancel numerous shows at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in January due to what she then described as "congestion and irritation of the vocal chords due to a lingering cold. Source
  • Officials to turn over Prince investigative files to family

    Entertainment CTV News
    MINNEAPOLIS -- Prosecutors in the county where Prince was found dead have agreed to provide his siblings with investigative documents so the family can determine whether civil litigation is warranted, according to a stipulation filed in court Wednesday. Source
  • RIP, Bozo the Clown: Entertainer Frank Avruch dies at 89

    Entertainment CTV News
    BOSTON -- Longtime Boston television personality and entertainer Frank Avruch, who was the star of the popular children's TV program "Bozo the Clown," has died. He was 89. Avruch died Tuesday at his Boston home from heart disease, his family said in a statement to WCVB-TV . Source
  • Queen Latifah's mom, Rita Owens, has died

    Entertainment CTV News
    In this May 3, 2016, file photo, Queen Latifah, left, and her mother Rita Owens attend VH1's 'Dear Mama' Mother's Day Special taping at St. Bartholomew's Church in New York. In a statement, Latifah said Owens died Wednesday, March 21, 2018, after struggling with a heart condition for many years. Source
  • Ex-Miss Kentucky gets probation for bringing pot into prison

    Entertainment CTV News
    LIMA, Ohio - A former Miss Kentucky who tried to smuggle a small amount of marijuana into an Ohio prison for her boyfriend won't have to spend time behind bars. The Lima News reports 28-year-old Kia Hampton, of Louisville, Kentucky, received probation Wednesday during a hearing in Allen County in western Ohio. Source