Inside The Brain, Belly of Scandal's First Lady
There's nothing I love more than a duplicitous dame, and Scandal's Mellie Grant fits in perfectly with ABC's amazing assemblage of wicked women (Revenge's Victoria Grayson, Nashville's Juliet Barnes, 666 Park's Olivia Doran, Once Upon A Time's Regina Mills). But unlike more of those listed ladies, I routinely feel empathy for Scandal's First Lady. And much of that has to do with the humanity actress Bellamy Young infuses her small screen creation with. I caught up with Bellamy to find out what's next for The First Lady, what it's like playing an unloved lady and if there really is a baby in her belly!
TheInsider.com: OK, so last season Mellie was lying about being pregnant, but now she's full bump. Can you say with 100 percent certainty whether there's a baby?
Bellamy Young: It's a baby! It's not, like, foam, you know. There's a real boy in there. But it's funny because I didn't think she was [laughs]. When they so kindly made me a series regular this year, I'd been on a trip to India and the first thing I said yes, "Am I pregnant? Because I am fat from India!" You know, as a lady you gotta worry about the size of your bottom on television [laughs]
Insider.com: So Fitz and Mellie spent hiatus months aggressively trying to become pregnant in order to make this lie true?
Bellamy: That's definitely what Tony [Goldwyn, who plays President Grant] and I have surmised for ourselves. We spent a lot of time with our ideas about the different ways that could've happened and we've certainly picked the one that we think is the most plausible. But then we'll get episode ten, and find out something out of left field that Shonda's known all along. Who really knows when this baby is coming? Who knows what kind of baby it is? All I can tell you is there will be a drama.
Insider.com: Mellie wasn't the warmest character in season one. Will we get to see another side of her this year?
Bellamy: The thing about Mellie is that I think we were just meeting her at a tough moment in her life, you know? Bless her heart, but right now she is in a world of pain and none of us are wearing our prettiest color when we are that hurt. She's a very capable, smart, intelligent woman, but when you're in pain, you can veer towards any weapon you have in your arsenal. And she has a serious arsenal [laughs]. You'll see some softness in the next few episodes, which is so nice to play. The audience will start to get a sense of why they would be together in the first place.
Insider.com: Right. I loved the flashback episodes where we saw them at an earlier phase of their relationship, so in sync.
Bellamy: I feel like Fitz and Mellie are in sync eighty percent of the time. But that twenty percent, that heart percent, is in such discord that it's sort of laying fallow every other fertile field. It's hard to watch the man you love find true love aside from you ... especially when he's married to you [laughs].
Insider.com: The last episode saw Mellie and Olivia come face-to-face for the first time since they concocted the pregnancy plan. Will we see more of those two together?
Bellamy: You will. It's interesting because they are so totally and completely different, but yet, so similar. Two capable women, able to get their way in a variety of situations, who love the same man. There's a lot of common ground there, and when there's an agenda that we agree upon, there's no stopping us. But there's no greater pain than a love triangle.
Insider.com: Don't take this the wrong way, but what is it like to be the corner of a love triangle that a majority of fans don't feel is worthy of the guy?
Bellamy: I have to say, it's interesting. God knows I've played a lot of villains. When you have an All-American face, they're gonna make you kill everybody on T.V. [laughs]. But I'm blessed, because they write the pain under the cruelty. It really allows people to, at least, be able to empathize with her even if she doesn't resonate completely. Everybody's been hurt. Everyone knows that they were at their ugliest in that moment.
Scandal airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.