The Scandal Season 2 winter finale is upon us... and Fitz' life hangs in the balance.
Who knows what to expect on the installment, but it's safe to assume we'll at least get the answer to the new question on everyone's lips: What the Huck?!
I had the chance to catch up with Guillermo Diaz about Huck's role in the shooting and more. He promises tonight's episode of Scandal does not disappoint. But don't just take my word for it. Read on for excerpts from our exclusive Q&A...
TV Fanatic: What's been the biggest change in going from a show like Weeds to a show like Scandal?
Guillermo Diaz: The biggest thing for me has been they're two completely different characters, which I couldn't be happier about. I mean, I love playing Guillermo on Weeds, but you always try to make the characters really different and each character his own person, so that's been the hardest thing not to fall into the same mannerisms and speech as I've done in other characters like Guillermo. But with Huck, he's just a strange guy and I feel like he is quite different from Guillermo from Weeds, so that's pretty nice. And the writing helps with that so much because the writing is so lovely and easy to get caught up in.
TVF: Is anybody a big cut-up on set?
GD: Joshua Malina! He's the biggest prankster. I can tell a funny little story. Him and Darby Stanchfield were shooting one of their sex scenes and while they were shooting the scene, Josh kept saying to Darby "All I can think about is 'don't fart! don't fart!'" So he was trying to hold it in while they were doing this intense love scene.
TVF: Jumping into Huck's character, "Crash and Burn" from season 1 was a monumental episode in the character's development. People love him even though he's capable of doing very bad things. Have you been shocked by the fan reaction to the character?
GD: I've been a little bit shocked. You know what's so great, Huck is doing all these things in that episode, Crash and Burn, he tortures Charlie to get information about Amanda Tanner. The things that he's done have been pretty bad, but the reasons he's done them have been not that bad, so I think that's what's making people accept that's just the way he is. He's not doing this to innocent people that he's just randomly finding on the street. He's doing it to people who are pretty dark and have done some bad things. So that's why people are accepting Huck and I think they feel his struggle with doing these things but he really doesn't want to keep doing them and it's almost like an addiction and that's why he's started to go to these AA meetings to try to sort of stop his unhealthy ways of torturing people. So I've been shocked, but at the same time I haven't been shocked at people's love for Huck.
TVF: It's a testament to both the writing and your portrayal that Huck is a fan favorite. How do you prepare to play a character like Huck? Are there any movies/tv shows you watched or drew from for inspiration?
GD: I just recently started trying to listen to music before I do certain scenes, music that will put me in that dark place that gets me kind of sad. I've been listening to Marilyn Manson a lot when I've done some sort of intense Huck scene and that's kind of helped me. And you know, it's funny, because I feel like Huck is a character who is so far from who I am, but I feel like I tap into him really, really quickly, sometimes easier than other times, but really easy. So it's been so much fun to go there I think because he's so different from who I am, it's really kind of easy for me and take risks and not be afraid. It's harder to play characters who are more similar to me because I feel like I'm more vulnerable and it's more me and with Huck I feel like I get into this person's skin and it's somebody completely different from who I am so it's easier to play and get lost in the character. And I do, sometimes. Sometimes I'll shoot a scene and I'll feel really dizzy and lightheaded because I go there so deeply that it just leaves me feeling dizzy.
TVF: After "Hunting Season" you talked about it being difficult to leave the character on set and how intense the role has been for you. Has it become more difficult for you to shake the character off set as the season progresses?
GD: Huck is such a tortured guy and lately we've been doing a lot of intense stuff and it's hard because you want to stay in that state from episode to episode so even coming home and being around friends and loved ones, they sense that something's a little bit off, that maybe I'm becoming a little more quite and introverted because I want to stay in that space. It's a good and a bad thing because it keeps me in the character but it's bad because then I'm just kind of like this freak around my friends and they're like "what are you doing? You're just sitting there in the corner!" and I'm just like "I'm sorry! I've got to shoot tomorrow."
TVF: Has there been another role you've played where you dealt with the same type of thing?
GD: I was in a movie called Stonewall where I played a character based on an actual person. I was playing a transvestite in the 60s during the Stonewall Riots and I had to have my eyebrows plucked so I had these two little thin lines for eyebrows and they had to shave my whole body so that was kind of a difficult role because I was looking like the character. It was tough. And I was playing an actual person so I wanted to do it justice. It was a very emotional, kind of a grueling shoot for me. But it was fun and rewarding and I love the movie and I'm proud of it.
TVF: Do you as a viewer want to see Huck be a bad ass who saves the day or do you welcome him possibly being a tormented quasi-villain?
GD: It's funny. Everybody calls him a bad ass, but I don't see him as a bad ass. I see him as a guy who is working for Olivia Pope & Associates and he's just doing his job and sometimes the job requires him to do some stuff that is painful for him, that kind of brings up the past for him. So I don't see him as a bad ass. If anything, I see him as a sad dude, just trying to move on with his life and not think about the past. And the great thing about Scandal is we do a lot of flashback stuff, so in the future we'll see more and more flashbacks into Huck's life and see what exactly he went through and who is out there that he can't talk to anymore, like if there's a family member or a significant other. That'd be really exciting to see for him.
TVF: He's definitely a tortured soul, but when he snaps into Huck mode and he's getting the job done, he's very in charge in that moment.
GD: For sure. It's almost like an adrenaline rush. I remember episode 3 with Artie Hornbacher when he has to shoot him with the tranquilizer gun, he doesn't really want to do that stuff, but, like you said, he snaps into it and the adrenaline is going and he just gets through it and he does it, but I think afterwards, that's why he's going to meetings. This is tough to do, this is a tough thing. It's hard.
TVF: On a scale of 1 to 10, how shocked were you to read the end of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" for the first time? Or did you know in advance that Huck's involvement in the shooting was coming?
GD: Wow. 10 for sure. I had no idea. They don't tell us what's happening beforehand at all. Recently we've been doing table reads of our scripts and they haven't been giving us the scripts before table reads because they're still working on them so we literally get our scripts at the table read and we read them cold. It was completely shocking. I was like "Oh my God, what is Huck doing?" I had the same reaction that everybody's having now, like "What is Huck doing? Why did he do this? I can't believe he shot the President!" So I had all those same reactions. But it was exhilarating and exciting and I was like "Oh man! I'm going to get to play this! and what a great script and storyline it is for Huck." I'm so grateful and happy to get it.
TVF: Huck is incredibly devoted to Olivia and some fans are calling this a betrayal of their friendship. Do you see it that way, either as the character or as a viewer?
GD: I don't see it that way. And the good thing is that tomorrow night people will find out exactly what the whole story is. Huck is so loyal to Olivia, he owes her so much, and he would never do anything that would betray that. At least I don't think he ever would. So I didn't feel that. My first thought was "Wow, did he do this for Olivia?" My first reaction was that maybe she put him up to it. And you guys will find out tomorrow, but it's definitely a possibility.
TVF: How shocked do you think the audience will be by what we'll learn in "Blown Away"?
GD: You know, you thought "Happy Birthday" was shocking, the next episode, "Blown Away," is just...the words that everyone kept saying among the cast and the crew is that Scandal is going some place that we haven't seen on TV before, or that we didn't think our show would go there. Those are the things that people were saying as we read the "Blown Away" script. So I'll leave you with that. It's pretty exciting and different. It's going to be a fun night to be watching television.
Scandal airs tonight at 10/9c. Be sure to watch and then head back here right after to discuss the mid-season finale.
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.