Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni
If you're somebody in Hollywood, chances are you've worked with Bellamy Young.
The actress, seen this season as the furious first lady on ABC's "Scandal," has made her mark both in film and on television. She's costarred in features with Tom Cruise ("Mission: Impossible III"), Mel Gibson and Donald Sutherland ("We Were Soldiers"), while working on weekly series alongside David Caruso ("CSI: Miami"), Thomas Gibson and Joe Mantegna ("Criminal Minds"), and Zach Braff and John C. McGinley ("Scrubs").
"It's an incredible gift because I've gotten to learn from so many different people, and see so many different styles," Bellamy says.
"You learn so much when you're working with truly gifted people," she observes.
The North Carolina native's résumé also includes appearances on many of television's biggest hits of the past two decades, including "Law & Order," "The X-Files," "ER," "Frasier," "The West Wing," "Grey's Anatomy," "The Mentalist," "Castle" and "NCIS."
"Each television show is its own microcosm," Bellamy says. "It really has its own breath and life and vibe. It's been so interesting to come and go with great frequency, and have the benefit, a little bit, of being an observer. As a guest star, you always get the juicy part to act, and you get to sort of learn from a bit of a distance about how the machine works."
These experiences have made Bellamy "so appreciative" of her current job. She can be seen each Thursday as Mellie Grant on Shonda Rhimes' saucy political skein "Scandal" (10 p.m., ABC).
"This is my first time as a series regular," she says. "(That) would be good news on any day, but this is such a special situation. I'm just incredibly appreciative of where I am."
About her series, Bellamy says, "Shonda writes so well. Just when you think you've found one factoid out, it begs so many more questions."
"It's all drama all the time over at our delicious 'Scandal,' " she adds.
Writing notwithstanding, "Scandal" boasts one of TV's most diverse starting lineups, lead by actors Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn and Joshua Malina.
"The cast is incredible - it's like a dream, from our No. 1 (on down)," Bellamy says. "Kerry is an incredible leader. So kind, so gifted and indefatigable. She can be on set for 17 hours and still be everyone's best cheerleader.
"It feels like a big family. We email these giant-threaded emails to each other whenever we get the scripts. 'Did you see what you get to do? Did you see on Page 45?' When we go to the table reads, it's like a kegger - everyone is so happy, because the work is so good and we're all so glad to be there."
"It's really a dream come," she says. "It's, top to bottom, solid, gifted people that also, top to bottom, (are) beautiful human beings. It's a rare, rare, wonderful thing."
"I'm like the luckiest girl on the block," she notes.
In addition to acting, Bellamy recently served as executive producer on a thriller called "The Cottage" (now on DVD).
"I'm really proud of it," she says. "I'm not about blood and guts and gore. ... This is much more about it's happening in your head, instead of it's happening right in your eyeballs, all gooey and gory."
Follow Bellamy Young on Twitter @BellamyYoung.