Kerry Washington on the Importance of Her New Teen Drama 'Five Points' (Exclusive)
By Latifah Muhammad
Kerry Washington wants to tell "meaningful" stories.
TheScandal star's latest role is as executive producer of the new Facebook Watch dramatic series Five Points, which she premiered at an intimate screening and cast Q&A session at Boulevard3 in Los Angeles on Monday.
The 10-episode series starring Hayley Kiyoko, Madison Pettis, Ray Cham Jr., Spence Moore II and Nathaniel Potvin follows five students at a Southside Chicago high school. Each episode is told from the perspective of a different character, while the series' plot highlights how daily pressures that teens face can result in difficult and sometimes life-altering choices.
Washington was attracted to the project because it offered an opportunity to tackle issues that teens are currently facing. The series also reunites her with Save the Last Dance director Thomas Carter.
“The writing was so good and then the opportunity to work with people that I love,” the 41-year-old actress told ET of why she signed on to produce the show. "Thomas Carter, who put me in my first big feature, Save the Last Dance, and Rodrigo Garcia, from Indigenous Media, he directed a movie that I [was] in called Mother and Child. So it was a reunion to work with artists that I really admire and the possibility to create content that’s about really important issues: drug abuse, LGBTQIA identity, gun safety, self-esteem…all of it."
The first episode is told from the viewpoint of CJ (played by Cham) a charismatic teen whose mother is having trouble making ends meet. With the family facing eviction, CJ hatches a plan to bring in some quick cash, but the decision triggers a domino effect that could end up costing someone their life.
Unlike network and Netflix shows, Five Points not only depends on social media as a streaming platform, but to spread the word about the show. As Washington explained during Monday's screening, the success of Scandal was spearheaded by its popularity on social media.
"These are issues that have been around for a really long time, and that young people are dealing with because they’re at the turning point of becoming adults,” Washington told ET. “I think any time that we can give them the space to have those conversations to create an inspiring platform and space for that, that’s meaningful.”
“It’s so special, I love them so much!” she gushed. “I’m so grateful that they’re here and I was proud to share it with them. We’re all doing exciting new things!”
Besides reuniting for the debut of Five Points, the Scandal crew was recently in Mexico together, where they screened Foley’s new pilot, Whiskey Cavalier.
"I was, like, tearing up because I loved it so much and I’m so happy for him. We really do support each other, and this [Five Points] cast reminds me of us," she shared. "I was texting my Scandal family, I was like, ‘They’re like the younger, greener [version of] us!'"
Five Points airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.