Khandi Alexander hasn’t had more than 100 lines on ABC’s Scandal, but she’s already has the internet buzzing.
Alexander plays Maya Pope; the mother of Olivia Pope and wife to Eli/Rowan. Momma Pope (#MommaPope) has been trending on-and-off for the past two weeks on Twitter. Fans are anxious to learn more about Olivia Pope’s mom.
This week’s episode, we saw Maya Pope gnawing at her wrists until they were bloody, much like a wild animal. She was brought to a hospital, where the doctor thought she was losing it. But was she really ‘losing her mind?’ Or was it all a part of her master plan to escape? The end of the episode showed that it might have been the latter, when Maya Pope escaped from the hospital that her husband, Eli, was holding her captive in.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Alexander, to get a better sense of just who Maya Pope is.
How early did you know what Maya Pope’s arc was going to be? Did you know all along that Maya was alive?
I got a call from executive producer Mark Wilding,who said, “You’re Mama Pope, and we can’t tell you anything and you can’t tell anybody!” I didn’t know anything about her.
Rowan is keeping Maya in a maximum-security prison. What can you say about the why of it all? What kind of glimpse into their relationship will we get?
We’re going to learn more about Maya’s past. The hope is we get to see Joe with that mustache and Afro from the 1970s! (Laughs.)
What lengths will Maya go to in order to see her daughter?
Rowan is a very dangerous man and that’s always a force to be reckoned with. You can’t underestimate him. So someone who has been incarcerated as long as she has, doesn’t have a lot of options. So we’ll see.
What kind of marriage did they have? Our theory is that they were both intelligence officers.
Sometimes in relationships like that, there can only be one star. Sometimes there’s not room for both. You see how he pushes everyone around, and I think Rowan’s ego would be too big to have room for all that.