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Interview with Noah Emmerich of "The
Americans" on FX 4/3/13
"The Americans" is a great drama on FX that I enjoy every
week. It has everything: romance, tragedy, political
intrigue, and humor. Emmerich plays the stalwart FBI
agent Stan, who is not without his flaws. He gave us a
really great interview here.
FX NETWORK: The Americans
April 3, 2013/10:00 a.m. PDT
Moderator Welcome to The Americans Conference Call. At this
time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we
will conduct a question and answer session, and instructions
will be given at that time. Please keep all your questions
to a follow-up.
I would now like to turn the conference call over to our
first speaker, Ms. Roslyn Bibby. Please go ahead.
R. Bibby Hello, everyone. Thanks for being with us today.
The episodes for The Americans have been just spectacular,
and a real thrill to watch. Today we are fortunate enough to
have with us Mr. Noah Emmerich, who has been turning an
incredible performance as Agent Stan Beeman. Welcome, Noah,
and thanks for this opportunity.
N. Emmerich Sure. Thanks for having me. Thanks for having
Moderator Our first question today comes from the line of
Earl Dittman with Digital Journal.
E. Dittman Noah, how are you today?
N. Emmerich Good thanks. How are you doing?
E. Dittman Doing great. Doing great. I have to say, from the
beginning the series has been fantastic and you canít miss a
single episode of it and your character in particular it
just keeps growing and growing. What kind of research did
you have to do to find out more about what these guys really
did, or did at that time?
N. Emmerich I spoke to a couple of ex-FBI agents, one of
whom had been in counterintelligence, one of them had just
been with the bureau in a more domestic situation. I read a
couple of books about the foundation of the FBI and the
history of the FBI, sort of the evolution of the FBI through
time, and that was sort of the center foundation of my
research. And then sort of reading a little bit also about
the Cold War, about the shifting dynamics between the Soviet
Union and the United States and the different periods and
the different phases of the Cold War, and, obviously, most
importantly, the dynamic in the early Ď80s, which I actually
was alive for. I was a young boy but I remember very well,
but I was just curious to get an adultís point-of-view,
which I had never really studied on the political dynamics
of the Cold War. Just too sort of get a sense of the Ö of
the time and our understanding of each other.
E. Dittman Well what surprised you or shocked you the most
about some of the things you found out?
N. Emmerich I guess, in hindsight, the most shocking thing
of all was the sort of wild overestimation of the Sovietís
capabilities. I think the Soviet economy was weak, and our
fear of the threat of the Soviet Union was exaggerated and
overblown. I feel like itís actually probably not dissimilar
to whatís happening right now with North Korea in some ways.
I think the unknown enemy, the unknown boogeyman, can always
take on quite intimidating proportions if we donít know the
reality. And, in fact, I think at the time the Soviet Union
was not capable of the sort of world domination, militarily
or economically, that we were afraid of. So I think it was a
Cold War that we were destined to win with such a stronger
economy and military industrial complex. But at the time we
didnít know that, and I guess that, to me, is the most.
And then you think about the number of lives lost, the
number of lives, the time, the man hours, the energy, the
money, the resources committed to fighting a Cold War, which
perhaps in hindsight was not entirely necessary and an
overuse of our resources and our time.
E. Dittman Yes, I think your character is starting to
realize that, too, and almost during the time. Well itísó
N. Emmerich Iím not sure about that, butó
E. Dittman Well, itís a great performance. Thank you so much
for your time, and just keep doing a great job.
N. Emmerich Thanks so much.
Moderator (Operatorís Instructions) Our next question comes
from the line of Oriana Schwindt from TV Guide Magazine.
Please go ahead.
O. Schwindt Hello. Yes, I have been loving the show so much.
Iím super psyched to be able to talk to you about this. One
of the most interesting, I mean all of the relationships on
that show are utterly fascinating, but the relationship with
Nina has been really compelling and complex. The events of
tonight, obviously, are going to complicate that
relationship further. Is there anything you can tell us
about how exactly it will impact that relationship?
N. Emmerich Well I think weíll have to wait and see how that
manifests in their relationship, but certainly itís a
dramatic sort of turning point in Stanís new career in
counterintelligence and probably will have some significant
repercussions in his relation with Nina. But how that will
play out I think weíll have to wait and see.
O. Schwindt I understand.
N. Emmerich But it certainly complicates things.
O. Schwindt Yes. You canít blame a girl for trying.
N. Emmerich No, you canít. Iím sorry. But Iím glad youíre
curious, Iím glad you want to know, so come back and youíll
O. Schwindt Oh, I will. Thank you.
N. Emmerich Okay.
Moderator And our next question comes from the line of Carla
Day with TV Fanatic. Please go ahead.
C. Day Hello. Kind of off of the question that she had
asked, in tonightís episode when Stan meets with Nina more
specifically can you talk about what his motivations were
kind of for pushing her away, and then in that moment was he
starting to see her as the enemy again or was it more just
about his single focus on finding his partner?
N. Emmerich I think itís sort of a combination of those two.
I think Stan feels certain that the Soviets are behind the
missing partner, that somehow theyíre involved, theyíre
connected, and Nina is an employee of the residenteur. Nina
is a Russian spy, so I think Stan rightly assumes that she
would be privy to some of the events that are taking place,
would have information about what operations theyíre
executing. And when it comes so close to home and his
partner is missing I think he assumes that she must have
some information, or at least access to some information
that would help him find his partner.
And in that moment, although I think he has obviously
sincere feelings for her, she is, and although heís been
able to turn her and have her help him on the FBI side, she
is, itís easy to forget because of this charming, beautiful,
young woman, but sheís a Russian spy living in America
working on behalf of the KGB. So his sort of dogged
determination and the tonal shift that happens when he goes
to see her after Amador is missing is about the reality of
the fact that whatever his feelings for her are personally
they are outweighed dramatically by the fact that his
partner and fellow American is in dire jeopardy, and heíll
do anything he can at that point to ensure the safe recovery
C. Day As a follow-up, we find out more about Amador during
the episode that heís kind of a jerk in a way and he hasnít
necessarily treated people, especially women, particularly
well, so I was a little surprised that Stan never considered
that maybe that had something to do with his disappearance.
Is that something that maybe he will come to or at some
point think about, or will he kind of just stick with that
it was the KGB and that that was the motivation and who kind
ofówho took him and killed him.
N. Emmerich Yes, I donít think--I mean I think Stan
recognizes that Amador is a womanizer to some degree. I
donít think he has any evidence that he treated women badly
per se, that he was abusive or in any way antagonistic
towards the women in his life that it would be enough to
instigate some sort of retaliation, some sort of physical,
violent retaliation from an ex-lover or partner. So I donít
think thatís in the realm of Stanís thinking about what
could have happened to Amador. I donít think his
relationship to women is foremost in Stanís mind in terms of
something this dire and this critical and this dangerous. It
seems more likely and probable that counterintelligence is a
quite dangerous field, lots of shadows, lots of dangers
unknown and known, I think in all likelihood, and Stan has
quite a bit of certainty, that it must be connected to his
work with the Bureau and not his personal life.
C. Day Okay. Thank you so much. I love the show.
N. Emmerich Thanks. Thanks so much, Carla.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Tom
Patterson with CNN. Please go ahead.
T. Patterson Hey, Noah, thanks a lot for taking my question.
Really great to meet you over the phone.
N. Emmerich Nice to meet you. Itís a pleasure.
T. Patterson Clearly, loyalty is number one with Stan Beeman
and it drives most of his dramatic themes in this episode,
yet heís being disloyal to his wife. So how do you think he
justifies that conflict?
N. Emmerich Good question. I think the question of loyalty
itís quite an onion in this world. I think Stan is a
ferociously loyal human being, but thereís a conflict
sometimes in life between loyalty and emotional need and
survival, the things that we need to survive in life. I
think Stan is an incredibly isolated and lonely character,
mostly due to the nature of his work, both in his near
history spending so many years away from his family, living
in deep undercover world away from himself and away from his
life as he knows it, his real life, and then he finally has
a moment. So I think the three years he was undercover
clearly created a distance and a space between himself and
those closest to him whom he was out of contact with and out
of touch with and unable to share his true self with.
I think in that isolation and in that loneliness itís hard
to survive, itís hard to be an island; he comes home from
the undercover world and heís trying to reintegrate into his
family and into his life, and he gets thrust into this world
of counterintelligence, which is sort of a repeat in a weird
way. Although heís not undercover anymore, heís living in a
world with many people who are undercover. Heís unable to
share many of the details of his daily life with his wife; a
lot of it is because of national security, a lot of it is
because of, I think, fear of protecting her or keeping her
safe and insulated from the dangerous world that he inhabits
when he goes to work in the morning. But I think one of the
casualties of that isolation, both for protective and
security purposes, is that he ends up alone again.
I think in his relationship with Nina heís found sort of a
counterpoint to himself, someone else whoís isolated and
alone, sheís removed from her family, sheís in a foreign
country, sheís living in a world of shadows where you donít
know who to trust, and thereís a simpatico resonance between
the two of them in that world, thereís a recognition of each
other, I think, in their isolated, lonely positions in the
universe. I think that the human need for connection, the
human need for reflection, for being seen and understood, is
quite powerful, and although superficially itís a conflict
with the loyalty of his fidelity to his wife, I think the
need that he has for connection and reflection and
understanding trumps, somehow in his soul in that moment,
the notion that itís a betrayal. I donít think Stan thinks
of it consciously, analytically as a betrayal, itís just
itís a human need that emerges and to which he surrenders to
But it doesnít bleed into the realm of loyalty in terms of
nationalism, in terms of fighting the fight for which heís
dedicating his life to, which is the protection of the
people and the philosophy of the United States and the
freedoms that come with that. I donít think he would clearly
ever betray something that he thought would affect his
ideology or his philosophy or his patriotism. But I think,
as happens in life, weíre complicated creatures and weíre
not white and black, as Nina tells him; thereís a lot of
gray in our lives. I think his surrender to desire and need
for human connection gets muddled in his own great
perception of self. But it is clearly something that
troubles him and disturbs him and I think he has very
complicated feelings about, and itís a difficult path heís
T. Patterson May I follow-up?
N. Emmerich Sure.
T. Patterson I wondered how the onion, as you mentioned it,
fed into your decision to accept this role, and I wondered
if you could describe that and maybe share an anecdote about
how you came to take this role.
N. Emmerich Well, briefly, Iíve never done a television
series before. I sort of feel like thereís a lot of
interesting work happening in television, a lot of great
writing and material being developed, in some ways more
risky and edgy and interesting than whatís happening in the
cinema. So I was open to the notion of doing a series; it
seems like where the good work is happening. But I sort of
had an idea in my head that I didnít want to be a guy who
carried a badge or a gun; Iíve done too much of that, and I
felt like maybe more interesting television is happening
where itís character driven.
So when I got this script originally I sort of dismissed it,
I thought, ďOh, a guy with a badge and a gun. I donít want
to do that.Ē And it was actually my friend, Gavin OíConnor,
the Director who directed the pilot, who Iíve worked with a
bunch of films, called me and said, ďI think you should read
this. Did you read it?Ē
I said, ďYes, you know the gun, the thing, the bad cop, and
He said, ďYou didnít read it carefully.Ē He said, ďYou
should read it again and talk to me about it.Ē
So I read it again, and we had a conversation, and I really
realized that the show is actually not about guns and badges
at all, itís really about characters, itís about
relationships, itís about identity and our understanding of
each other and ourselves and how we relate, and all those
delicious, interesting layers of the onion in life that we
have. And then I had a lunch with Joe Weisberg, who is the
Creator/Executive Producer, and I asked him what the show
was about for him, what Stan was about for him and how he
saw Stan developing. It became readily apparent quite
quickly that this really is, the ambition and the interest
of the show is about people, itís about relationships; itís
about character, which is always, I think, the most
interesting territory to be exploring as an actor.
And I thankfully took the leap. Itís an interesting leap you
take in television, because you only read one script. You
donít know who youíre going to be or what the storyís really
going to be; you only know what the ambition and the desire
and the interest lies, but you take a leap of faith. I
thought the people involved--Gavinís one of my great friends
and an incredible director and Joe Weisberg is clearly like
incredibly intelligent, interesting writer and person and I
think the cast is phenomenal, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys
are both extraordinary actors--and I thought well this is
going to be about human beings, and if itís about human
beings and you have it sort of laid in this incredibly
wonderful world of espionage and spies and duplicity and
lies, and it just creates a great environment for which you
can explore the characters present. So I took the leap, and
Iím ever so grateful that I did, because it has been
everything I sort of hoped and more than it would be. So
thatís the story of how I came to the show.
T. Patterson Thank you.
N. Emmerich Sure.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Ernie
Estrella with Buzzfocus.com. Please go ahead.
E. Estrella Hello, Noah. Thanks for speaking with us today.
N. Emmerich Sure.
E. Estrella My first question is we see how sex is merely a
part of the job for the Jennings or Ö navigate that, but
Stanís affair with Nina kind of feels like heís crossed a
line he didnít expect to or didnít want to cross. Does he
view sex as a part of his tactics or is he really getting
attached to Nina?
N. Emmerich I think yes. I think itís hard to parse exactly
what means what, but I think itís a complicated, messy ball.
I think there are clearly real feelings between the two of
them and there are clearly lots of other levels of relation
that are going on between the two of them. Itís a very
complex, messy, unclear world within which in the end weíre
all just people, no matter what our job is, no matter what
weíre doing. So the authentic human emotionality that is
present with us that we carry into our lives, despite the
task or whatever weíre supposed to be, whatever self weíre
supposed to be in that moment, thereís our true self and
thereís our prescribed self, and betwixt and between the two
thereís a lot of gray.
So I do think that clearly sex is a weapon in the world of
espionage. Sex is a soft weapon that is used by everyone to
different degrees for different tasks, and I think the
complications between the actually authentic human self and
the actions that we take can have impact on each other, can
have affect, even if theyíre not supposed to. So I think it
gets very confusing and complicated for everybody. I think
using ourselves in that way is rigorous and demanding on our
hold of ourselves, of our authentic selves, and I think for
Stan he is struggling with that.
E. Estrella Most definitely. We havenít seen much with you
and Daniel yet. Will we see that dynamic or will we see an
exploration of the lack of relationship that Stan has with
N. Emmerich Sorry, of Daniel Ö, my son.
E. Estrella Yes.
N. Emmerich What was your question?
E. Estrella We havenít seen much with you and Daniel
interacting, but will we see that dynamic explored, or maybe
the lack of relationship explored that he doesnít have with
N. Emmerich Yes, I hope so, I hope so. Itís certainly an
interesting area to go to. Certainly I think Stanís career
has been very hard on his relationship, both with his wife
and with his son, maybe more poignantly with his son, whoís
at a developmentally fragile age. I think that the distance
between them is something that provides lots of interesting
material to explore, and hopefully weíll have a chance to do
E. Estrella Great. Thanks.
N. Emmerich Sure.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Michael
Gallagher with Stayfamous.net. Please go ahead.
M. Gallagher Hello. Howís it going?
N. Emmerich Good thanks.
M. Gallagher I was watching Super 8 the other night and then
the episode of The Americans, and you do an awesome job in
that law enforcement, military type role. I was wondering if
you were ever interested in being an agent or a spy when you
were a kid.
N. Emmerich Thank you, first of all. I think there was maybe
some brief moment where I thought being in the FBI would be
cool. I was probably very young; it wasnít a long or
protracted fantasy. But I canít say it was a real
significant part of my adolescent fantasy.
And somehow Iíve ended up playing quite a few of these
military law enforcement, I think partially driven by the
material that weíre creating them in our culture. For actors
thereís a lot of cop shows, a lot of military stuff, thereís
a lot of-- Weíre interested in that world; itís dramatic and
exciting and makes for good pictures. But I never imagined I
would do it so often. As I said earlier to an earlier
question, when I first read this pilot I discounted in
immediately just because I didnít want to carry a gun
anymore. Although, like I said, again, this show isnít
really about guns in the end, but it does create a great
dramatic context in which to tell human stories.
But no, it wasnít really a very strong part of my fantasy as
a child to be an agent or a spy. Maybe more so a western; I
think I had a gun belt when I was nine or ten, one of those
western six shooters. That was my bigger fantasy with a gun
was to be Billy Jack, and thatís about the extent of it.
M. Gallagher Yes. And I was also looking at some of the
lists that people make on IMBD, and they had included you in
the list of the greatest supporting actors of all time, as
well as a list of often overlooked actors. What has it meant
to you to be in such a prominent supporting role not only in
this show, but in so many other great projects over the
N. Emmerich Oh Iím very flattered to hear that. Thatís very
nice. I donít know who makes those lists, but if you can get
me their number Iíll send them some flowers.
Iíve been very fortunate. Iím very grateful for a lot of the
roles and the people Iíve had the chance to work with. There
are a lot of really talented, incredible, people working in
this business, and Iíve been blessed to work with a good
number of them, and each time I learn more and I have a
wonderful time, and Iím glad people are appreciating it. One
thing thatís wonderful about this job, itís unprecedented
for me, is the time frame; thereís much more time, you get
to do so much more material, thereís so many scripts and so
many episodes, and you have sort of a sustained relationship
with an audience, which doesnít happen in film, itís a one
shot deal. So it creates room, I think, for a more intimate
relationship between the audience and the character. Itís
wonderful. It feels great to be seen and appreciated. Itís
really itís been fantastic, and Iím very grateful.
M. Gallagher Great. Thank you.
N. Emmerich Sure.
Moderator And we do have a question from the line of Brendan
Rowe with Spoiler TV. Please go ahead.
B. Rowe Hello, Noah. Before I ask my question I wanted to
thank you for being so nice as to pose for a picture when I
met you with my sister in Washington Square last summer.
N. Emmerich Oh, my gosh. Really? Wow. Sure.
B. Rowe My first question is Stanís relationship with
Philip; it grows more genuine by the day. How do you think
this changes his suspicions of the Jennings?
N. Emmerich I think thereís a real affection and
relationship evolving between Stan and Philip. I think they
like each other. How it impacts Stanís suspicions I think I
wonít touch that. I think itís better to let the audience
try and figure that out. I hate to deflate that balloon. But
I think, again, life is gray, so we have people in our lives
that we like, maybe even love, that maybe we donít
necessarily trust entirely, maybe we do trust entirely. That
changes over time with different experiences and different
events how well we really know each other and how much we
believe that we know each other. But I do think thereís an
authentic bond and amicability between the two of them that
hopefully weíll get to explore more as the season and the
series progresses. And how it impacts Stanís suspicions is
for you to answer more than me.
B. Rowe Well, like was said earlier, canít hurt to try.
N. Emmerich No.
B. Rowe Itís often been asked if Philip valued his country,
the USSR, over his family. If the roles were reversed do you
think Stan would value his country over his family or vice
N. Emmerich Well thatís a really good question. It sort of
gets to the crux of one of the dynamics thatís so
interesting, I think, in the series is where our values lie
and what the priorities are and what takes precedent over. I
think in a way itís a Sophieís Choice question: whatís more
important, which is first, are you a father first, are you
an American first, are you a husband first. I donít know if
you can actually hierarchal prioritize that sensibility for
I think heís a man whoís clearly given his life and a huge
chunk of himself to what he considers a noble endeavor,
which is protecting the security and safety of the United
States. I think how that impedes upon his ability to be a
good husband or father and how those two come into conflict
is an ever sort of revealing, ever unfolding dilemma that
heís desperately trying to navigate. I think a hard answer
as to which comes first or second is impossible to arrive
at, which child do you give up and which child do you keep,
how do you answer that question. But theyíre both of
fundamental, primary importance to him, and I think heís
trying to find his way through that conflict as we watch.
B. Rowe Well, I definitely look forward to the rest of the
season. Thank you for your time. Itís just a wonderful
N. Emmerich Thanks. Iíll see you in the park.
B. Rowe Oh yes.
N. Emmerich Okay.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Greg
Staffa with Your Entertainment Corner. Please go ahead.
G. Staffa Thank you for taking my call. You graduated from
Yale University where you majored in history. How important
is it to present a show that keeps with the majority of
authenticity, but yet is still entertaining for viewers?
N. Emmerich Iím sorry, I missed half of that, the first half
of that question. How important is it to what?
G. Staffa You graduated from Yale University where you
majored in history, and seeing the historical nature of this
show how important is it to you to keep that authenticity
with the characters you portray?
N. Emmerich Right. Well I think Iím very interested in
history in as much as it helps guide us towards the future.
History is, I think, an often-misunderstood field. Itís
really an all-encompassing field, it can mean so many
things, but itís our inherited knowledge of the past, itís
an opportunity to have a discussion. Nothing changes over
time, really; human beings are sort of persistently
themselves from the beginning of Babylonia to now. Itís the
context that changes and the specifics that change, but
really thereís universality to the dilemmas that human
beings face in trying to live with each other and to make a
productive, interesting world together.
So I think the authenticity is important, because itís the
actual navigation points that have brought us to where we
are today, and to blur that or obfuscate that or distort
that would be unnecessarily distracting and diminishing of
the lesson that weíre examining or the journey that weíve
taken together. So I think authenticity is always a plus and
always adds legitimacy to our understanding of ourselves,
and itís a great opportunity to have a conversation without
the pressure and the sort of adrenaline filled Ö or
aggressiveness that comes with a conversation about current
events, about things that are too immediately where our hair
is up too strong to have a reasoned, peaceful conversation
about, I donít know, red state, blue state, where America is
an incredibly divided place right now, sort of polarized and
contentious and partisan. But as you talk about the past
people calm down, they settle down, and you could have maybe
a more reasoned, calmer exploration of differing opinions,
of different approaches to society, family, culture,
politics. So the more authentic the environment the more
fertile the conversation will probably be in lending itself
to understanding of ourselves today.
G. Staffa Thank you.
N. Emmerich Sure.
Moderator And we do have a question from the line of Lucia
Giusti with The Televixen. Please go ahead.
L. Giusti Hello.
N. Emmerich Hello. Televixen, huh? Thatís a good one.
L. Giusti Yes, the Televixen. Yes. Iím really excited to
talk to you today. A couple of my questions were already
asked, so Iíll go for one that may be a little you might
have to pass the question. But Iím very curious about your
characterís background with his undercover work with the
white supremacists and how that affected him. Weíve had a
lot of flashbacks throughout the series so far. Can you let
us know if weíll get a flashback for your undercover work?
N. Emmerich I certainly hope that we will. Iím certain that
we will, actually. The question is when. But clearly Stanís
background and the three years he spent with the white
supremacists had a huge impact on his life and his
character, and itís something that weíre going to need to
find more out about. I feel keep watching the show and give
us time to get to that.
L. Giusti Yes. Awesome. And as a follow-up, one of the fun
parts about the show is the crazy wigs and the undercover
stuff, and with your character you donít really get to do
that. And so--
N. Emmerich I know. Itís very frustrating.
L. Giusti Yes.
N. Emmerich I want to wear a wig.
L. Giusti Maybe in the flashback episode you can do that.
N. Emmerich Yes, well certainly. I mean certainly, yes,
thereís lots of room for that to come into play.
L. Giusti Yes, and maybe like fake tattoos or some crazy
N. Emmerich Who said theyíre fake?
L. Giusti You can reveal the tattoos, you can reveal your
tattoos. So since your role is a little bit different,
youíre not playing the Russian spy, whatís your favorite
part of being Stan Beeman so far? If thatís too broad of a
question maybe you could point out one aspect that youíre
really enjoying that you havenít had a chance to speak about
N. Emmerich Well, I love the diversity of Stan. I love that
his relationship is so different. Stan is really sort of an
isolated character in a way; itís quite painful and lonely
somehow. Heís not fully himself or honest with anybody that
he relates to on the show. His wife, you clearly have quite
a distance between them. Nina and he are from opposite
teams, although theyíre meeting in the middle, but clearly
heís not fully open or forthcoming with her. His partner, I
think he had a huge connection with, but itís also sort of a
new relationship and not entirely trusting and cut from very
different cloth, the two men. So thereís something
interesting for Stan, for me as an actor, about playing
these different scenes and just different dynamics, so many
different, completely unrelated relationships.
And it never gets dull; every day I have a different, itís
almost like three or four different plot lines going at the
same time, which creates a lot of dynamic fun and
interesting colors, I think, for Stan to have in scenes with
the other characters. Although it is a little bit lonely.
L. Giusti Although you do get to have kind of your foot in
every story line, because you are the neighbor to the spies
at the same time as working.
N. Emmerich Right.
L. Giusti So, you do kind ofó
N. Emmerich Exactly. So thereís a lot of diversity. Thereís
like, you knowóexactly. Thereís the home life, thereís the
work life, thereís a betwixt and between, thereís the
secretive rendezvous in the safe house. Thereís a lot of
different tones to Stanís work in the show, so thatís fun
L. Giusti Well, thank you so much. Iím really enjoying the
N. Emmerich Oh good. Thank you.
Moderator (Operatorís Instructions) Our next question comes
from the line of Suzanne Lanoue from The TV Mega Site.
Please go ahead.
S. Lanoue Hello, Noah. Itís great to talk to you today.
N. Emmerich Hello. Thanks.
S. Lanoue I was wondering in this episode thatís coming out
tonight, ďSafe HouseĒ, can you tell us a little bit about
what you think was going through Stanís mind when he shot
N. Emmerich So this for after the airing, obviously, right.
I mean this isnító
S. Lanoue Yes. Right.
N. Emmerich Well I think Stan gets himself into a corner to
some degree. He contacts the residenteur and he says, ďI
know you have Amador, and if you donít give us Amador weíre
going to kill your man that we have.Ē And then Amador shows
up dead, and I feel, I think Stan feels, that if he doesnít
follow through with his threat then the U.S. will lose all
authenticity or reliability in terms of their threat. Once
Amador is killed I think Stan feels if Vlad is in fact a
member of the KGB, if Vlad is in fact a covert warrior in
this war, then he has to go, I think, which is why Stan
comes back. And once Vlad admits that he is fact a KGB
officer, in fact he is a spy whoís here in America trying to
bring down our country, heís fair game for the retaliation
for Amadorís death.
I donít think itís something StanóI donít think itís an
emotional, rash decision. I think itís a calculated chess
move that he feels must be made, otherwise thereís no-- Itís
a Cold War, and heís made it clear, heís drawn a line that
unless Amador is returned in health to his job there will
repercussions, and if you donít follow through with that
threat then you lose all credibility in the future. So I
think in some way I think thatís in fact what drives Stan to
S. Lanoue So you donít think there was a little bit of
pleasure and revenge for his friend?
N. Emmerich I donít think thereís any pleasure in it at all.
I think it is revenge. I donít think itís personal, though,
I think itís political.
S. Lanoue Okay. Well thank you very much, and I really enjoy
the show and Iím looking forward to seeing what happens.
N. Emmerich Sure. Thanks.
Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Lance
Carter with the Daily Actor. Please go ahead.
L. Carter Hey, nice talking to you.
N. Emmerich Thanks.
L. Carter So you always seem to do such interesting roles,
this one included. Iíve never seen you do like a role where
Iím not zoned into your performance. So when, and you kind
of answered this a little bit, but when youíre looking at
parts do you wait for the perfect role or is it luck or
N. Emmerich Itís, I think, a little bit of all of those. The
luck is that the right role comes along, the patience is
waiting for that role to come along, and the instinct is
knowing the different between a good role and a bad role.
For me I have been, I think in some ways as I look back, I
have been quite patient and careful to do jobs that I feel
will hold my interest, as well as the audienceís interest.
In the very beginning as an actor you take any job you can
possibly get, anybody willing to put you in anything youíre
grateful to. And then I had that experience quite young. One
of my first film pieces was a thing I did on film, and I
didnít really think it was a great piece of material; I
didnít think it was a great character, but I was excited to
have a job. And I did the job, and then I realized it wasnít
exciting for me at all, in fact I was humiliated. I had
fantasies of stealing the negative and destroying it so no
one would see it. I realized this is not just about the
obstacles of a career, but when you do a job youíre putting
yourself out there in the universe in a certain way and
youíre saying this is my work and people are going to see
it. And if youíre not proud of it and you donít feel itís
interesting or worthwhile then for me it was quite a painful
experience to have work be seen that I wasnít proud of, and
I promised myself in that moment that I would never do that
And you never know how things going to come out; some things
come out great, some things come out terrible, but the
ambition and the desire and the endeavor has to be at least
worthy for what I think my instinct and my interests lie. It
has to be in the right place in its ambition, and whether
thatís fulfilled or not is up to fate, but at least Iím
going to start in a place where I feel itís worthwhile.
So sometimes that does mean sitting on the bench for a while
waiting for the right job to come along, and sometimes that
can be quite painful, because I love working. But itís hard,
itís hard, itís very competitive and material itís mixed and
matched, and itís not always easy to find a role that I
think is interesting both for me and a project thatís
interesting for the audience.
So I appreciate youróhello?
L. Carter Yes, yes, Iím here.
N. Emmerich Oh, I heard some beeps. I appreciate your saying
that. And it is, like I say, I think itís a combination of
discernment, patience, instinct, and luck.
L. Carter Thank you. I appreciate it.
N. Emmerich Sure.
Moderator Our next question is from the line of Oriana
Schwindt with TV Guide Magazine. Please go ahead.
O. Schwindt Hello. Itís back again. Although one of the
questions I was going to ask actually was just asked like
two questions ago.
N. Emmerich Oh yes.
O. Schwindt Yes. But I was going to ask about like the
moment when Stan realizesówhat is the moment when Stan
realizes okay I have to follow through on this threat? I
mean did Stan consider the repercussions, like okay, yes, we
need to appear strong, but maybe Iím the one whoís going to
be sending this Cold War into hot territory?
N. Emmerich I donít think he would have apprehension about
escalating the Cold War to a more dangerous place in
retaliation for Amadorís death. I think Vlad is clearly not
a major player; although heís a KGB spy working to bring
down America, heís not high level enough that it would move
the DEFCON threat level anywhere. I think he sees it as a
justifiable and promised retaliation for the murder on
American soil of a federal agent. So I donít think he has
aóI think it would be more dangerous, from Stanís
point-of-view, to do nothing, to not retaliate, to therefore
give the KGB a green light, in saying you can
indiscriminately execute American citizens on American soil
would be a much more dangerous thing to do than-- In other
words, nothing is more dangerous at that point than
something, and I think he feels that the retaliation, the
eye for an eye, is probably safer, which is why he would go
forward with that. Itís actually to ensure the safety of
domestic safety for federal agents and for citizens, I
Things are getting quite out of control, the KGB seems to be
getting broader and broader in the license which they take
with which they can threaten and in fact harm U.S. citizens,
beginning with the scientists and coming all the way now to
actual federal agent. I think he feels itís critical that
something be done to halt that acceleration, and I think the
murder of Vlad is a step in that direction.
O. Schwindt That actually makes a lot of sense when you put
it that way. So what exactly will you miss most about
working with Max Hernandez? Anything at all?
N. Emmerich Oh, God, yes. Everything. Yes, itís really sad.
Max is a great person and a great presence on set and a
wonderful actor and fun to be with and incredibly
enthusiastic fellow. A great guy. And he was my new partner.
I touched upon Stanís sort of isolation in this world, and
the one tether that he had, at least the beginnings of one,
was his partnership with Amador. Now they were clearly
different types of people and I donít know if they were ever
going to be best friends, but it was a partner and it was
someone he went to work with every day and someone he
respected on the job for sure. Iím sorry; I got off in the
In the real world Max Iím just going to miss Max. Max is a
great guy and it was really fun working with him, and Iím
sad that heís gone. But Iíll see him again on something
else. We actually worked together on the Pride and Glory,
one of the films that Gavin OíConnor, who directed the
pilot, directed. Max was in that film. It was a cop drama
with Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, and John Voigt and
myself, and Max was in that. So we had met then, and I can
only hope and assume that weíll meet again.
O. Schwindt Aw. Thatís great. Thank you.
N. Emmerich Okay.
Moderator And we do have a question from the line of Ernie
Estrella with Buzzfocus.com. Please go ahead.
E. Estrella Hello, again, Noah.
N. Emmerich Hey.
E. Estrella I want to say that, well, one of the really
wonderful things about your performance as Stan is that
youíre constantly contrasting performances with Matthew and
Keri as well, who kind of perform with their emotions on
their sleeve. Itís easier to, I think, read them, but you
play such a very ambiguous and very pensive kind of
demeanor. Was that the intention, the design of the
character, to have so much maybe, or kind of thought and
reflection, or is that something that you just kind of came
up on your own as far as what you brought to the character?
N. Emmerich Interesting question. Yes, we actually talked in
great detail to the need for Stan to have inherent ambiguity
to him. From the pilot, from the first episode, we donít
know is Stan there on purpose, is it coincidence, does he
know, does he not know, is he suspicious, how suspicious is
he, is he still suspicious, has it dissipated. So to hold
the much ambiguity in a character, to hold and not really
know where he stands in relation to those characters around
him, is he suspicious, is he friendly, you know all those
things, you have to have, I think, a certain hidden ness in
your nature, otherwise it would be too clear, we would know
what he was thinking, we would know how he felt. And we
talked, both Joe Weisberg and Gavin OíConnor and myself,
talked at great length about having to ride that line where
some people might think he knows one thing, some people
might think he knows another thing, but it had to be on that
line of ambiguity.
So I appreciate your noticing that and reflecting that back.
But that is certainly something that we collectively decided
was necessary for the character, and is quite interesting
for me as an actor to explore that world, that space, but it
is something that we aim to do.
E. Estrella Okay. Cool. And then you said that this is kind
of your first kind of recurring role on television. I know
youíve done a lot of guest spots. But the show was renewed
for its second season early on. Was there like kind of a
freeing moment knowing that okay, we now know that we have
at least two seasons to kind of tell the story of these
characters? Was there kind of, I donít know, was there a
freeing moment on the set, did it feelówas there a change
once the renewal was announced?
N. Emmerich Yes, I think so. I think knowing you have that
much room in front of you it brings a lot of air into the
picture. Itís a very comfortable, incredibly exciting
reality that, okay, weíre going to be able to do this for at
least another 12 episodes, 13 episodes, and we have time, we
have space, we have room.
Television is such a precarious business. Like I said, itís
my first time doing a series, but it was quite dramatic that
every week theyíre saying are we coming back, did people
watch, are they not watching, do they like it or not like
it. And I sort of stayed out of it to some degree, because
itís quite intrusive and I think detrimental to the freedom
and the joy and the process that you need to have when
youíre in production.
But itís certainly in the ether, but fortunately we were
saved I think from that drama quite, as you mentioned,
early. We knew pretty quickly that we were going to come
back, and then it allowed us to completely, at least me, to
completely divorce myself from the reaction or the ratings
or the numbers or the demographics, and just weíre here, and
weíre going to be here for long enough to do some
interesting, hopefully, interesting work, and weíre going to
have time to explore these characters, and the rest is
beyond our control, so how people respond or whether they
watch or the numbers go up or down. It allows you to sort of
pull back your perspective, a little bit more birdís eye
view, and say we have time and weíll see, and either the
audience will find us or they wonít and theyíll appreciate
us or they wonít, but weíre going to be able to do this for
a couple of years, and thatís a wonderful feeling.
E. Estrella Great. And then one last quick one, whatís your
favorite spy tech thatís been shown on the show?
N. Emmerich My favorite spy tech shown on the show. Well,
itís a good question. What struck me sort of the most, what
startled me was the satellite radio transmission of Morse
code to communicate. Weíve come such a long way in so little
time. To think that weíve gone from everybody having
essentially a super computer in their pocket to Philip
having to go dig out a transmittal box and set up an antenna
and point it at the right place in the sky to get a message
across the world I thought that was just sort of somehow
very resonant for me in terms of encapsulating the
differential in technology between now and then.
And it actually makes, I think, it easier for tension-filled
storytelling, because cell phones kind of deflate a lot;
just call them and tell them, tell them to stop. You can get
a hold of anybody anywhere in the world sort of within
seconds now, and thatís not always the best thing for
storytelling. So that moment, to me, sort of encapsulated
that, and I found sort of titillating.
E. Estrella Great. Thank you, again.
N. Emmerich Sure.
R. Bibby Operator, we have time for two more questions, and
if you guys can please limit just to one follow-up so that
everyone can get their questions in before we retire. Thank
Moderator Of course. And the next question comes from the
line of Karen Moul with Scifivision.com. Please go ahead.
K. Moul Hello, Noah. Thanks so much for talking to us today.
N. Emmerich Sure.
K. Moul Iím new to the show. I tuned in when my editor asked
me to cover it, and I really had no trouble engaging and
being caught up on the story. What would you say to viewers
who are maybe curious but are concerned that having missed
the first end of the season it might be something that they
canít catch on easily? Or why is this the best show we
should be watching?
N. Emmerich Well I would say you can certainly, itís not a
long season, so catching up doesnít take that much time. I
think it is worth watching from the beginning, but itís
quite readily available on many different platforms. Iím not
totally aware of all of them, but I know Hulu, I know FX On
Demand, I know a lot of the cable carriers have it On
Demand. And again, itís only a 13-hour season, so I think it
is worth following chronologically. I think if you donít you
could still jump in and hopefully you find the characters
compelling and interesting. Itís not like itís so convoluted
and conflated that you wonít be able to figure out whatís
going on; there is a lot of episodic quality to each
episode, although there is a through line for sure that goes
through, and it would be better to experience it
And why itís the best show worth watching, to me itís the
most interesting show worth watching because Iím working on
it. But as for someone elseís opinion, I would only hope
that they would find it interesting and compelling and worth
their time. It seems like a good number of people do feel
that way, so maybe thereís something there. I hope so.
K. Moul Okay. Just a quick follow-up, an earlier caller
asked you if Stan had crossed a line in his relationship
with Nina. I think he crossed another line early in the
episode. Heís very clear that he will not participate in
extra judicial killing, and by the end he hasnít just
participated heís pulled the trigger. Is that a personal or
professional line that heís crossed there and are we going
to see him now that his character is crossing a lot of lines
N. Emmerich He definitely crosses the line that he tries to
draw for himself earlier in the episode, and, as you
mention, by the end of the episode thereís been some
boundary breaking. I think the repercussions of that will
come to play in his character as we go on, and I think weíre
going to have to see what happens.
K. Moul Ah, you donít want to spoil it. Fair enough. Thanks.
N. Emmerich Okay.
R. Bibby Final question, please.
Moderator Thank you. Our final question today will come from
the line of Sheldon Wiebe with Eclipsemagazine.com. Please
S. Wiebe Thanks for doing the call today. Most of my
questions were answered, but one of the joys of these things
is that sometimes other peopleís questions get answers that
spawn another question. You mentioned earlier that it
wouldnít be possible for Stan to place a hierarchal order to
his love of country versus his love of his family, and also
that Stanís time in undercover work created a space between
him and those he loves. Now Iím thinking that while his
family might see that space as a barrier itís a possibility,
and Iíd like you to speak to that, that Stan might actually
see that space in some ways as a buffer between him and his
family in protecting them from the harsh realities of his
work and also as a means to enhance his ability to do his
N. Emmerich Yes, I do think that the buffer is required for
the safety and security of his family. Stan deals with some
very dangerous characters, whether itís on the domestic
front with the white supremacists or on the international
front with the KGB, but certainly Stan is, itís like in the
witness protection program, Stan wouldnít want his family to
be able to be exploited or used in any way to compromise his
position or to get to him in any way. So the further the
distance between he and his family the safer they are, as
far as the nefarious characters that Stan is dealing with on
a daily basis. And I also think that, as you sort of pointed
out, his sense of vulnerability and security for his own
safety if you cast yourself in the role of the father or the
husband clearly, hopefully, you want to stay out of trouble
so you can be there for your wife and son and children, and
somehow I think that second hesitation is a very dangerous
thing to have in the undercover world.
So there is a space needed, a buffer needed for him to feel
both confident in relation from his dangerous world and
their security and his own sense of self jeopardy and
freedom to do what needs to be done at great risk to life
and limb for himself without the added pressure of feeling
the impact that that would have on those who love him and
whom he loves.
S. Wiebe Great. Thanks so much. Keep up the great work.
N. Emmerich Thank you.
R. Bibby So thank you to all the journalists on the call
today. I know I tend to overstate, but we do appreciate and
thank you for your support of The Americans and all FX
Noah, wow, thank you for such a full, thorough, and
insightful conversation today. I think we all learned
N. Emmerich I hope so.
R. Bibby Yes. The Americans airs on Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m.
Eastern/Pacific. A transcript from this call will be
available one to two days following today, so Iíll send it
as soon as I receive it. Of course, if you have other
questions about the show please contact the showís
publicist, Lana Kim, or me, Roslyn Bibby.
Thank you, guys, and have a lovely day.
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