Tony Goldwyn has spent the better part of his three-decade career playing the bad guy. His first high-profile role, the murderous yuppie in 1990’s Ghost, is a typical example of the actor’s oeuvre. So he’s understandably amused by his recent mid-career upgrade to romantic lead, courtesy of ABC’s much-loved political drama Scandal, now back for Season 3. “I’ve had women chase me in airports,” he says, laughing. “It’s not like the Beatles. They’re not screaming. A lot of times they’ll just say, ‘Hi, Mr. President!'” Clearly, his frequently smoldering portrayal of Fitzgerald Grant III—the devilishly handsome, if conflicted, commander in chief who’s engaged in an on-again/off-again affair with his former communications director, Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington)—has won him plenty of new fans. Read an excerpt of the exclusive interview below, and for more, turn to page 272 of the September issue, now available on newsstands, or download it for your tablet.
I’ve got a friend who works in the Department of Justice, and she says that your show is very popular over there.
We actually have a lot of fans in Washington. It’s fun to see all these really smart and interesting people who are obsessed with Scandal. Valerie Jarrett, one of the president’s senior advisers, has told me that she loves it, and so did the head of the National Economic Council. I’m like, “But you guys do this for real!”
It’s an addictive show—I was surprised to read that your wife doesn’t watch it. Is that because she can’t stand your love scenes?
No, though I once made a joke about that, and it ended up everywhere. My wife is very supportive. If I direct a movie, she’ll watch that, and she did see the Scandal pilot. But she just doesn’t watch a lot of television. My daughters, who are college-age, love it, though.
You’ve been married a long time …
Twenty-six years. We’ve been together since we met at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, which was my very first acting job, when I was 21.
That’s really impressive. Especially, it seems, for Hollywood.
It’s true. People look at me like I’m a freak. They’re like, “What’s wrong? Are you OK?”
Click for some steamy Tony Goldwyn pictures (plus, outtakes and behind-the-scenes shots), and three things you might not have known about him.
— Lauren Waterman