Can you imagine Gabrielle Union as Olivia Pope? The Bring It On star recently revealed to The Associated Press that she was in the running for the Scandal lead, which ultimately went to Kerry Washington.
Characters we lost this season
But Union isn't bitter about losing the part to Washington. In fact, the very existence of a strong, likeable black female lead character on TV like Olivia was enough to inspire Union to keep searching for the perfect role. "I said to myself, 'Oh my God, these roles are out there,'" Union said. "It showed me that you don't have to settle. Luckily, the success of her and the show bred more work. Just from the audition process, I knew that I couldn't go backward."
Union is hoping to land Scandal success of her own with her new series Being Mary Jane. The BET show will premiere as a two-hour movie Tuesday night and will return in January for an eight-episode run. Union stars as Mary Jane, a TV news anchor who struggles to balance work, her love life and her family, and represents a very different direction from, as she puts it, her usual "good girl who meets the bad guy from the other side of the tracks" characters.
"If you loved me for one thing and may not have liked me in something else, this role gives the audience a chance to see that I can do more than one thing," said Union.
Cult shows that deserve a movie
"I didn't get Scandal, but I got something better — which is my own show," Union said. "It's all about building a legacy. This new opportunity is something I feel that can grow."
Being Mary Jane premieres Tuesday at 10:30/9:30 on BET.
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