Interview with Noah Emmerich of "The Americans" on FX - Primetime Article From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Noah Emmerich

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.

Final Transcript
FX NETWORK: The Americans
April 3, 2013/10:00 a.m. PDT
Roslyn Bibby
Noah Emmerich


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 me.

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 find out.

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 of Amador.

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 some degree.

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 on.

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 FBI.Ē

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 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 Matthew?

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 his son?

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 that.

E. Estrella Great. Thanks.

N. Emmerich Sure.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Michael Gallagher with 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. Yes.

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 years?

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 versa?

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 Stan.

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 series.

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 outfits.

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 yet.

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 and exciting.

L. Giusti Well, thank you so much. Iím really enjoying the show.

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 the guy?

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 do that.

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 instinct?

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 again.

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 think.

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 character world.

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 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 you.

Moderator Of course. And the next question comes from the line of Karen Moul with 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 chronologically.

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 and changing?

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 Please go ahead.

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 job well.

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 shows.

Noah, wow, thank you for such a full, thorough, and insightful conversation today. I think we all learned something here.

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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