Tony Goldwyn is reasonably sure what he’s doing as “president” has only the loosest connection to actual Oval Office activities.
The actor-director — who helps set social media ablaze with each Thursday airing of ABC’s “Scandal” — soon may find out what his real-life counterpart thinks of his portrayal of power-minded, philandering President Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant. Along with leading lady Kerry Washington and executive producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, Goldwyn will attend Saturday’s (April 27) White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington, D.C., as a guest of ABC News.
“I am so excited,” he tells Zap2it a day after “Scandal” matched its series-high rating. “I have wanted to go to this event for years, and to be invited at a time when I’m actually playing the president is just surreal. To be there with Kerry and Shonda and Betsy, it’s going to be such a fun party, because it’s a way for us to celebrate what we’re doing together. For us to be among the real people will be pretty mind-blowing.”
Having never met President Barack Obama, Goldwyn says he’s “hoping to get a chance to” at the dinner, “but I’m kind of nervous thinking about any comments he might have about Fitz. My guess is that the president is a little too busy to worry about what’s going on on ‘Scandal,’ although I gather we have a lot of fans in the White House.” (C-SPAN and CNN will be among networks televising the dinner.)
Goldwyn does double duty on the next episode of “Scandal” Thursday, May 2, since he directs it and also has considerable acting time in it. Now making the movie version of the Veronica Roth best seller “Divergent,” he’s hugely aware of the social-media explosion that regularly greets “Scandal.”
The latest telecast gave shout-outs to five of the show’s Twitter “super-fans,” which Goldwyn says “we’re going to do again, I think. I was so grateful to be able to show our appreciation, and I saw the impact.
“I was really afraid of social media,” admits Goldwyn. “I’m older, that’s part of my kids’ thing, and I was very skeptical about it. I understood that Twitter was a big thing, but I didn’t see my place in it at all. Shonda asked us to tweet when we started this, so all the cast members did … particularly Kerry and Josh Malina. They were already deep into Twitter, and we just took our lead from them.
“And instantaneously, the power of it was apparent. Twitter has been a big part of our success. From the beginning, our ratings were good, but the grassroots fan base just exploded — and in a very short period of time, in a way that never could have happened in the past. A couple of episodes into Season 2, we caught on like wildfire.”
The tweets give Goldwyn a clear picture of where the “Scandal” faithful stand on the ever-shifting status of Fitz’s involvement with crisis-management expert Olivia Pope (Washington).
“It’s really fun to read,” he reflects, “and it’s hard to respond to. I try to interact with people; some are so deeply into the show, I have to remind them, ‘Guys, it’s not real.’ I’ve had people come up and give me relationship information based on the show, and I have to give Shonda credit for creating such a sexy, interesting character. It’s been great.”