Veteran actor Joe Morton is now best known for his role on the hit television show, Scandal, but he’s also a big proponent on diversity in Hollywood.
As Papa Pope, Morton is experiencing a career renaissance, although he has credits going back three decades. Morton says that despite the, shall we say, enthusiasm with which he has approached the role, he doesn’t do any ad-libbing of the lines written for him and doesn’t have input on the scripts.
“My input is to show up and know the words,” says Morton.
This season has involved the kidnapping of a main character, if you haven’t been keeping up, which many thought included Papa Pope’s involvement in some way. But as things have played out, he’s not as involved as it may have been speculated.
“As I’ve said in the past, when Papa Pope says something, that’s usually what’s going on,” Morton says, so he wasn’t surprised about how things worked out.
As for his ever-growing fan base, Morton says he hasn’t had too many crazy encounters with rabid Scandal fans.
“The beauty of the character is that people love to hate Papa Pope,” he says. “So usually, I get things like I hate you on the show but we love you. Or I’ll get stuff like ‘you should be better to your daughter.’
Morton has other creative talents as well. He’s just penned an op-ed piece about the Oscars and racism, just ahead of the big show on Sunday night.
“It’s about the history of what’s going on with the Oscars and how people view film,” Morton says. “It’s probably not racist that Ava DuVernay wasn’t nominated. If we went down the annals of the Oscars, there’s probably a lot of directors that didn’t get nominated. But on the other hand, Hollywood in general deals with so-called Black film somewhat like a mistress. Some time, some attention, some money but never enough.”
Morton says that though filmmakers have achieved some success with films about slavery, struggle and resistance like Selma, he’d like to see more movies about Black life that deals with everyday, contemporary issues.
“I’d like to see Black films that just talk about life, not just the struggle for equality. I’d like to see Hollywood help Black filmmakers talk about Black life as opposed to equality. That’s part of what we are, that’s not all of what we are.”
Click HERE for Morton’s take on Hollywood, The Oscars, DuVernay’s Oscar snub and racism in the movie industry.
Listen to the entire interview for more on Morton’s thoughts about Black movies above!