KW: I was really inspired by some of my co-stars on Scandal to start directing. The show was so historic in so many ways in terms of breaking ground, and changing the face of television—but the only two actors on the show who ever directed at first were our two white male leads, Tony Goldwyn and Scott Foley. Shonda [Rhimes] asked me early on—I guess she was watching dailies and heard me talking to some of the actors—she said, “You know, I’d love for you to direct an episode.” But it took me a few seasons to have the guts to do it. I didn’t want the show to end without taking that leap and making sure that our legacy of actor-directors included a more diverse pool.
E!: Do you relate to the feeling of being content about your accomplishments for about six minutes and then it’s onto the next thing?
KW: I think so. Part of it is, I’ve never been drawn to this work for accolades. And I’m not saying that in an arrogant way, I think the accolades are incredible and I probably should celebrate them more than I do. But the thing that brings me the most joy is the magic of the process, discovering a story, figuring out a way to have the story reveal itself. For me I more feel like, “Look at us, we’re doing it!” when I’m on set at 6 a.m. on a Monday morning and planning my shot while the sun is rising, trying to make sure we’re there just at the right moment. That for me is, “Wow, look at where we are, this is so exciting!”
(This interview was edited for length and clarity.)