Columbus Short is conscious about the items he brings into his home. "I use a lot of hemp products — lotion and shampoo and detergents — and biodegradable plates and cups. We're trying to do as much as we can. We need everybody doing it," says the actor, who plays Harrison Wright in "Scandal," the ABC Thursday night series set in a crisis management firm in Washington, D.C. Short, best known for his roles in "Stomp the Yard" and its sequel, was happy to step up to a more mature and sophisticated role, though he didn't think he'd find it on TV, and in fact was reluctant to meet with creator Shonda Rhimes until he read the script. "It taught me something: don't cut yourself off from what the universe has for you. This is the best thing that's happened to me in my career."
Harrison's wit, charm, intelligence, ambition, sharp style and flaws "were exactly what I was looking for" in a provocative vehicle likely to showcase him in a leading man light, says Short, who sees a lot of himself in the character. As a "political junkie," he didn't have to do much research about the Beltway milieu. "Everything about this world was so appetizing to me because of all the behind-the-scenes things. It's such an insider show in a way and we can bring those stories to life." Going forward, "You'll see why Harrison was chosen and what are his skill sets. You'll see where he came from and hints at the romance that could ensue. It's going to be a ride."
Next on the big screen in "The Girl is in Trouble," a dark drama set on New York's Lower East Side. Short doesn't miss doing dance flicks (though he's glad for the career boost they gave him) but would love to re-team with "Stomp the Yard" co-star Meagan Good, whom he's known since they were childhood next-door neighbor. "But I'm taking things as they come. All in good time," says the father of two, a 7-year-old boy and a infant daughter. His son goes to an eco-conscious school that teaches the kids all about the environment, he reports, noting that the lessons have made an impression on the boy: "He wants to change the world."