It’s hard to keep up with Kerry Washington these days. If she’s not solving crimes on ABC’s hit drama Scandal, she’s lighting up the silver screen one film at a time. Today, Washington takes a break from the dramatic roles and returns to comedy.
Her latest film, Peeples, co-stars comedy legend David Alan Grier and The Office’s Craig Robinson. Together, the trio create a number of hilarious and memorable situations audiences won’t soon forget. Washington plays Grace Peeples, who’s tasked with the challenge of introducing her secret boyfriend (Robinson) to her father (Grier) and family.
ESSENCE.com caught up with Washington to chat about everything Peeples. Check out what she had to say about doing comedies, working with Grier and more.
ESSENCE.com: You’ve been all over the map lately with Scandal, Django Unchained and more. Why did you decide to do a romantic comedy?
KERRY WASHINGTON: I just love doing comedies. It’s just really fun. I’m drawn to diversity in my work. I like to work in different things. I like to do different genres. I like to change it up. I don’t want to get bored. I like to challenge myself.
ESSENCE.com: There’s a scene in the film where Wade, played by Craig Robinson, spanks you and you’re totally dressed in a sexy school-girl outfit. Do you get nervous doing those kinds of scenes?
WASHINGTON: All the time! laughs It’s the most uncomfortable part of my job. It’s my least favorite part of my job. It’s like anything else, I just try to be in the character and that’s it. It’s like doing stunt work. laughs You sort of have to figure out where to stand and where to be. It’s all very choreographed.
ESSENCE.com: What was it like to work with David Alan Grier and Craig Robinson?
WASHINGTON: Amazing! I did a play on Broadway, Race, with David for almost a year. We’ve been friends for a long time. I actually read the script for Peeples while we were on Broadway and they started asking for suggestions for the dad character. I said, ‘What about David?!’ I really do love working with him. Working with those two guys was like being paid to be in comedy school. They are both such comedic power houses. It was really a blast for me.
ESSENCE.com: There are several legends in the movie—Mario Van Peebles and Diahann Carroll.
WASHINGTON: We had a few scenes with them. The one when we’re standing outside and S. Epatha [Merkerson] performs, that was actually our very first day of filming. It was great because we got to start with these two legends. Diahann gave a speech on the way to set that was very gracious, elegant and encouraging. We basically spent the rest of the shoot trying to make them proud.
ESSENCE.com: This movie is all about love, family and growth. What do you think is the number one message audiences will walk away with?
WASHINGTON: I think the message of this film is to really be yourself and to love other people for who they really are.