Scandal: Joshua Malina, Scott Foley blog 'Dog-Whistle Politics'
Consider it handled. Each week, Scandal fan favorites Josh Malina and Scott Foley, who play David Rosen and Jake Ballard, respectively, join forces to bring you behind-the-scenes scoop. Here, they revisit episode 4 of season 5. Check back each week for more — and of course, send feedback to us at @EW and to the guys at @JoshMalina and @scottkfoley.
Joshua Malina: SWF, baby.
RELATED: Scandal‘s 10 most shocking twists
Scott Foley: Single White Female? The 1992 thriller starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bridget Fonda?
JM: And a memorable turn from the underrated Steven Weber. No, Scott, I’m talking about SWF, the call sheet terminology for “Start-Work-Finish,” indicating that an actor begins and completes his or her work on a single day of shooting. I had just the one scene in this episode, and so I was able to complete my part of 504 during a couple heady hours on Aug. 21. People often ask whether I’m disappointed when I have just a little to do in an episode, and the honest answer is, “No.” I love what the writers give me to do on the show. I like David’s dogged — if sometimes misguided — pursuit of justice, and his dry and biting wit. The character is a blast to play, and I understand that he’ll come in and out of prominence on the show, depending on the storyline. I stopped counting the number of lines I have in a script back in elementary school. That is, coincidentally, also when I stopped listening to the other actors’ lines.
SF: It’s apparent in your work. I’m also not really sure that you stopped counting lines. I think that maybe you stopped caring about how many lines you have, but if memory serves you counted my line(s) in 501 with glee, no?
JM: It was just jealousy; I’m sorry it read otherwise. The fact is that we get paid the same amount no matter how much we work on a given episode of Scandal, and that is a great succor. Like yours in 501, my per-word rate really went through the roof on this one. I guess now I should hand the Folina reins back to you. You had a lot to do in 504. You got to play spy games again with George Newbern. Let me add that your performance was on point in this ep., as was your pronunciation of “Yevgeny Valenkov,” whose character name I choose to believe is a nod to the classic Sports Night episode “Kafelnikov.”
SF: Having three kids with a woman born in Poland with a last name like Dominczyk definitely helped me with the pronunciation of some of the names in this episode. This was an interesting episode for Jake and a major detail of his past was revealed…he was/is married! Crazy! And she was/is also B613! Crazy! I always like when the writers give up some info on our characters. For me it’s the chance to add another layer to Jake in every scene going forward, and I really think that the deeper they go and the more that’s revealed about each of these complex characters’ backstory, the better it is for the show. The lovely and talented Mia Maestro was cast as my wife and we’ve really been able to sink our teeth into this story. Throw Charlie into the mix and I think that it made a compelling storyline. I really got a kick out of this script and thought that the fallout from the Liv truth bomb from a few episodes back was dealt with nicely. Fitz’s dilemma of how to handle not just his feelings about Abby’s actions but also dealing with his fellow politicians really rang true with me. Also, anytime I can watch Cyrus and Mellie go at it, I’m all for it. Cyrus on the warpath is one of my favorite Cyruses.
JM: One of my favorite parts of “Dog-Whistle Politics” is the re-introduction of Cornelius Smith Jr., as Marcus, to the show. I love the scene that mirrored the Harrison/Quinn interview from the pilot, and that it was actually shot in the same bar is a fantastic detail. It was terrific to see Cornelius finally get back up to the plate.
SF: I know! We’ve been a Gladiator short for a while, and it looks like Quinn took care of that for everyone. I like how she took control and made the decision to bring Marcus to OPA even after Liv told her not to. One of my all-time favorite moments of this script happened at the table read when Guillermo delivered his deadpan reading of Dog-Whistle Politics. It’s such a great Huck moment and for G to have nailed it in the table read like that really showed both his chops and the humor that can be found in these tense moments.
JM: Fans should know that Cornelius is a true Gladiator, which he proved by coming to the first three table reads even though he wasn’t in those episodes!
SF: It was a great way for him to not only see how the table reads go and get comfortable in what can be an intimidating room, but it also showed his excitement to be a part of this cast, so yes, unlike you, a true Gladiator.
JM: I feel like there’s a pattern developing to our blog, where you always have to insult me and have the last word.