Coffee Talk: Khandi Alexander Cast as Olivia Pope’s Mom

See why we’re having instant coffee:

• Olivia Pope’s mom, Maya Lewis, will make her first appearance in this week’s Scandal and the role will be played by Treme star Khandi Alexander. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Alexander will appear in several episodes this season. If Gladiators recall, last week it was revealed that President Fitzgerald Grant shot down an airplane carrying civilians under Rowan’s (Olivia’s dad) orders. Little did Grant know, Olivia’s mom was a passenger on that same aircraft. Olivia just may find out the details this week. So much for Sunday dinners… [Hollywood Reporter]

• Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack are teaming up for a new thriller. The two will star in the film adaptation of Stephen King’s Cell. The storyline follows a horrible “apocalypse” caused by a cell phone signal that turns humans into monsters. Cusack is set to play an artist, who is trying to find his son in the midst of chaos.  Jackson will play Tom McCourt, a former soldier and engineer, who joins forces with Clay. [Slash Film]

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• Sunday night’s premiere episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta not only ruffled some feathers, it caused a bit of controversy. In the episode, Phaedra Parks mentioned how she had been working like a “Hebrew slave” to take care of her newborn son, Dylan. She took to her blog the day after to clear the air. She claims she didn’t mean it in a derogatory manner. She also apologized for her comments. “I most certainly do not take lightly our history of slavery and the battles that were fought, and won, to gain the freedoms that we now enjoy,” she wrote. “In fact, much of that history fuels my passion for law and social justice. Nevertheless, I regret any discomfort my use of that description might have caused.” [Bravo TV]

• President Barack Obama is proud of Illinois for legalizing gay marriage on Tuesday. Illinois became the 15th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage. “Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours—and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law,” he said. [USA Today]