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Jeff Perry of ‘Scandal’ was ‘really uneducated’ about politics

JEFF PERRY

JEFF PERRY

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LEAGUE OF CHICAGO THEATRES GALA

When: 5:30 p.m. Monday

Where: InterContinental Chicago, 505 N. Michigan

Tickets: $300

Info: (312) 554-9800; www.chicagoplays.com

Updated: June 21, 2013 6:02AM



When I got the news I had to be naked [on “Scandal”], I thought, “I’m embracing one of my very favorite actors in the world, James Gandolfini.” He walked around in his boxers as Tony Soprano, and by God, it never hurt his acting.

I don’t know what it is with me. Stupidity. Lack of any sense of reality. But it just doesn’t bug me.

“No” is really handy, because I’ll have really stupid ideas.

[“Scandal” co-star] Kerry Washington was on a plane ride with Bill Clinton where she found out that Bill loves the show. … We can tweet that stuff.

Our live tweeting during the show is this connection to hundreds of thousands of people. We get 10,000 Twitter hits a minute these days.

I was tremendously apolitical and really uneducated. So I get the [“Scandal”] gig and I’ve got C-Span running, I’m reading whatever I can read — from Robert Caro to Hunter Thompson to books about RFK, just because I wanted to start soaking it up.

The machinations of how to use political power are fairly contrary to my wiring. I’m kind of wired like a hippie wanting to be in a commune.

[At Steppenwolf] we have a giant soft spot — a soft ravine, a soft glacier — for dysfunction and conflict, everything from pettiness to hatred. But we kind of love it.

There are ways in which we have such a common history. [But] there are obstacles and barriers to a present-tense understanding of each other. There are real ups and downs with that, as life circumstances change for each other.

My old Steppenwolf crowd will tell you that I reminded them of that character with the black cloud from “Charlie Brown,” Pigpen. It was one of John Malkovich’s favorite nicknames for me.

My wife has a funny nickname for me: Mahatma Patton. She says I’m usually Gandhi, but once in a while we get General George.

Everybody has their little vanities. I probably didn’t get enough of that quotient, because I’ll go out at [events] and my wife has to lasso me: “Honey, get back in here! There’s bruschetta stains all over the front of that shirt!”

Gary Sinise was never vain. Well, that’s not true. I remember him teasing his hair and being so pleased about how he looked in a production of “Fifth of July.” John Malkovich and I were saying, “Stop it. God. Will you stop? Someone tell Gary it’s curtain time.”

I’ve had the nicest, sweetest level of celebrity, where it’s just a couple people here and there saying, “Hey!” But it never stopped me from going anywhere or traveling or eating a meal. It’s pretty great.

“Scandal” has just been a blast on every level. People have asked me if the cast gets along. I said, “Get along is an understatement.” I’m sorry to say that we are more gushing than an 11-year-old girl at a sleepover.

I adore these people and vice versa. Or maybe they say s--- behind my back.



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