Bellamy Young of 'Scandal' on challenging Shonda Rhimes: 'I lost'
ABC NEWS -
It’s tough to imagine anyone challenging the creative ideas of Shonda Rhimes, queen of ABC’s Thursday night primetime dramas. But Bellamy Young, who stars as Mellie Grant on Rhimes’ drama series "Scandal" told ABC News she tried.
Young said she changed her lines while rehearsing an episode where she was gearing up for a nasty divorce.
"I will go on record saying the only time I’ve ever challenged Shonda in my life ever, and ever will, is the speech in the divorce. (It) was, 'If it wasn’t for you, I would have done this. If it wasn’t for you, I would have done that. If it wasn’t for you,' and I was just in his face with my finger, nasty," Young said.
But, being the daughter of an English teacher, she decided to phrase her dramatic moment differently.
"So I was like, 'If it weren’t for you, blah, blah blah. If it weren’t for you,' Young recalled. But then she received a production note telling her to stick with the lines as written.
"I’m like, 'But Mellie gets smarter when she’s angry,'" Young joked. Despite her efforts, Rhimes ultimately instructed Young to keep the lines as written.
“That’s the only thing I’ve ever pushed back on, is for grammar because I knew my mother would be dying inside. And I lost. I pushed back and lost,” said Young.
Young, 47, told Peter Travers she was initially only scheduled for a short appearance on the series. But the plan quickly changed and she became a series regular.
"I had two lines in the pilot. I was supposed to be there for three episodes. I had no idea I was going to get to be a part of this family, which is the gift of a lifetime," she said, comparing the experience to winning the lottery.
Travers noted that Young has appeared in more than 30 TV shows. He asked how she discovered her love of acting.
"I’m adopted and we got a page on my birth parents. And I’ve since met them and they’re incredible. But it turned out all the information was wrong," Young explained.
"On this page part of it said that my birth mother loved to sing. So the mother who raised me found any opportunity that she could in western North Carolina, to let out any talent that might be genetic," she said. "Singing was my first love -- and acting. I just loved it instantly,"
Later, Young learned that the information was incorrect.
"But I feel like the greatest blessings in my life were hung in the balance of this piece of misinformation," she said. "I’m lucky that the information that we got was bogus because I love my life and I love what I get to do."