Interview with Matthew Rhys from "The Americans" on FX - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Matthew Rhys

Interview with Matthew Rhys of "The Americans" on FX  1/26/15

This is another good one I missed from being sick. Sounds like it was a great and interesting conference call. You should definitely read it because it has a lot of humor. I've spoken with him before, and he has a wonderful Welsh accent that you're not expecting if you've only heard him on his shows.

Final Transcript
FX NETWORK: The Americans
January 26, 2015/11:00 a.m. PST

Allyson Barkan
Matthew Rhys


Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and 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. Instructions will be given at that time. (Operator instructions.) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Ms. Allyson Barkan. Please go ahead.

Allyson: Hello and welcome to The Americans conference call with series star Matthew Rhys. Iíd like to thank everyone for joining us today and remind you that this call is for print purposes only. No audio may be used.

The Americans third season premiere is this Wednesday, January 28th at 10:00 p.m. EST only on FX. As always, we respectfully request that you do not post spoilers pre-air to help protect the viewing experience for our audience.

With that said, letís go ahead and take our first question.

Moderator: (Operator instructions.) Weíll go to the line of Earl Dittman. Please go ahead.

Earl: Good morning, Matthew. How are you doing?

Matthew: Very well, thank you. How are you?

Earl: Doing fantastic. I have to say, Iím blown away by this season already. Just when I think you all couldnít get any more exciting, incredibly, you all do it.

Matthew: Good.

Earl: Really brilliant. So for you now being in season three, what has still been the most challenging part? Since you have to play several characters, actually, being the spy, what has been the most challenging part and which is really maybe the easier part of playing him?

Matthew: Iím still figuring out if there is indeed an easy part to playing him. I suppose the more enjoyable is that he continues to be as layered and rich and complex as he has been from the beginning.

The harder part for me is to land him in a place of reality, somewhere thatís real for me and hopefully real for an audience in that someone who has to juggle, in its reference, and keep as many sort of plates in the air as Philip does, but sort of the pressure that that would bring, itís landing that in a real place. For me, itís the sort of hardest balancing act.

Earl: Yes. Yes. Well, again, itís brilliant already. I canít wait until the rest of the season. Thank you so much.

Matthew: Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. Our next question comes from Andrea Morabito with New York Post. Please go ahead.

Andrea: Hello, Matthew.

Matthew: Hello.

Andrea: At the end of last season we got the big news that the center is going to be trying to recruit Elizabeth and Philipís daughter Paige and we see that this is going to set up a conflict between the two parents as Elizabeth seems to be more open to this idea of their daughter becoming a spy than Philip is. Can you talk about how that conflict is going to affect their marriage and affect the family in season three?

Matthew: Yes, itís sort of the predominant and overriding arc for Philip and Elizabeth during this season, which is this enormous conflict between them that sets them poles apart, really, as they come from two opposing sides as to what should be done about Paige. Really, the entire season is that grapple and that wrestle between the two as they thrash it out.

Andrea: I mean, what do you think is Philipís sort of driving, whatís driving his belief that he really wants to keep his daughter out of this business?

Matthew: I think a number of things. I think, ultimately, as weíve seen a flashback in one and two, Philip and Elizabeth were children when they were picked, you know? They were in late teenage years and I think heavily indoctrinated. Really, you look back at your own age, youíre not very sure who you are at that time. Heís found himself in a vocation that he really didnít choose in a way; I think it was kind of chosen for him in a way, thrust upon him, and heís evolving at a time and bursting out at a time when he realized it probably isnít the life that he would have chosen nor is it the life he wants, and the same applies heavily for his daughter.

He doesnít want her pushed into something at such a young, vulnerable, impressionable age whereby in a few years sheís in up over her head because itís not something you just Ė itís not a job you can quit overnight or walk away from and he doesnít want her to have to do the many awful things that he has to do in order to stay alive and, therefore, keep the family alive.

Andrea: Great. Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. Our next question comes from Kara Howland with TV Goodness. Please go ahead.

Kara: Hello, Matthew. How are you?

Matthew: Very well. How are you?

Kara: Iím good. We meet Gabriel in the season three premiere. Can you talk a little bit about working with Frank Langella and whatís coming up with him?

Matthew: Yes. Itís sort of like having a silverback gorilla come onto the set in the best way possible. Heís this dominant, physical, mental, emotional, presence that kind of stiffens and straightens everyoneís back and lifts everyoneís game, certainly. He comes with this Ė the premise in which they set him, him being influential and instrumental in the training of Philip and Elizabeth is sort of great because it gives you instant history that he just does effortlessly. He has this commanding presence that builds a great conflict between them all.

Working with him has been fantastic as he turned up with this natural presence and he is ready to listen, heís ready to play, and he plays at a very high standard, which makes it exciting for us.

Kara: Great. Can you talk a little bit about whatís coming up with him this season?

Matthew: Yes. In the same way I think Philip feels a little isolated in the fact that Frank and Elizabeth, Gabriel and Elizabeth are obviously the more staunch diehards of the party and the mission and the party come before anything else, and heís very onboard for bringing Paige into the fold whereas Philip isnít and feels a great sense of betrayal. I think Philip Ė well, I donít think, what happens is Philip is isolated from the two of them and feels betrayed, and that is sort of the bigger arc for him and Gabriel, that sort of sense of betrayal and conflict in the fact that he doesnít want his daughter to follow his footsteps.

Kara: Okay, great. Thank you so much.

Moderator: Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Cicely Dyson with Speak Easy for Wall Street Journal. Please go ahead.

Cicely: Hello, Matthew. How are you?

Matthew: Very well. How are you?

Cicely: Iím good. I have kind of a couple questions following up on what you said about not wanting Paige to go into the life, basically, at such a young and impressionable age. What do you think it would take to change Philipís mind, or do you think that heís staunch in his belief that Paige should not follow in her parentsí footsteps?

Matthew: I think heís absolutely immovable in that respect. Thereís nothing on Godís green earth that could make him acquiesce to the fact that she should join the KGB or, indeed, the intelligence world.

Cicely: What do you think changed Philipís mind about being an officer and how it would affect Ė I mean, you say you donít want her, you say Paige is young and impressionable, but sheís going into the church and sheís becoming, sheís following that religious life and how thatís her at a young and impressionable age. What do you think makes the difference for Philip in between those two lives?

Matthew: Well, if you look at the lives, really, when theyíre killing people and having sex with them for intelligence as opposed to a sort of Ė yes, itís secular in one way, but ultimately itís a communal, supportive group that has a strong belief, which is the same, but thereís no risk of being killed or hurt or imprisoned as a direct result of your job. I think thereís great responsibility, thereís great guilt, I think, on Philip and Elizabethís part as she joined the church group because if you notice Ė well you donít even notice Ė is blatantly obvious. Theyíve been absent parents in their childrenís lives up until this point, and itís a very real reason why sheís sort of sought that support and that comfort from a group elsewhere. I think children tend to find the rebellion of the opposition of what their parents want. For them, it was the church.

Given the choice, this could be anything like any teenage had. In a couple yearsí time she might say, ďThat wasnít for me,Ē and then you know, no harm done whereas Iím sure to join the KGB or anything related in that sense, thatís it. Once youíre in, thatís it. Thereís no turning back.

Cicely: Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. (Operator instructions.) We will go to the line of Brandon Rowe with Spoiler TV. Please go ahead.

Brandon: Hello, Matthew.

Matthew: Hello.

Brandon: I have a question from one of my readers that I thought was particularly interesting. Weíve seen a pretty major difference between who Philip is as a spy and also who he wants to be as a person. Do you think itís possible that the character of Clark is actually closer to who Philip sees himself as outside of the spy world?

Matthew: Thatís a very good question. I would agree. Yes, I think heís arrived at a place in his life where itís exactly what he does want. He does want a sort of domestic contentment. He wants a simpler life within a healthy working relationship where thereís sort of mutual respect. And yes, thereís a large element of Clark and Martha that serves that.

Brandon: As a follow-up, I want to touch on something we see in the first set of episodes here where Philip is forced to approach a girl practically the same age as Paige. I wanted to know how you thought that affected his ongoing argument with Elizabeth and the KGB about age.

Matthew: Well, I think it serves a point [indiscernible]. As conflicted as he is, because heís deeply, deeply upset by the mandates of this particular operation, I think he finds it incredibly disturbing for the simple reason that he does have a child the same age, but it reiterates the fact that this girl is, just purely by association being the daughter of a CIA, sheís put in harmís way by people like him and I think he hopes it reiterates to Elizabeth the sort of danger she would be placed under if she were to come into this mad world.

Brandon: Fantastic. Thank you.

Matthew: Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. We will now go to the line of Renee Macek with Please go ahead.

Renee: Hello, Matthew. Thank you so much for speaking with us today.

Matthew: No problem.

Renee: Weíve seen Philip and Elizabeth do some pretty excruciating things, some horrible things for their country. At this point do you think that thereís anywhere that they would draw the line, that thereís something that they just wouldnít do?

Matthew: I mean, it was pretty tough for Philip to agree to sort of follow-on with the operation and the seduction of this 15-year-old and I think that would have got [indiscernible]. I think if for some reason there was an order to come through to sort of harm or terminate a minor, then I would imagine that would be something that he probably wouldnít carry out.

Renee: Right, right. Well, thanks very much.

Matthew: Youíre welcome.

Moderator: Thank you. We will now go to the line of Justine Browning with Latino Review. Please go ahead.

Justine: Hello, there. I was thinking, really, in the first episode this season we see that Philip actually has a more pragmatic approach to the deaths that are around him. Last season we saw how he sort of derailed emotionally because of that, so I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that shift.

Matthew: I think it was a combination of things that came to a head last year with a number of Ė you know, Philip has kind of sat on so many enormous emotions for so long that it basically built and built and built and it erupted in that moment with Paige. Paige has been on the receiving end of it. Itís all about Paige but nothing to do with Paige, you know what I mean, but she received the wrath of it.

I think in a sense, in some ways it was a minor breakdown on Philipís behalf that heís now recovered from and he has some distance and some perspective on it and realizes that itís just now something he has to accept. It affected him enormously up until that point. Since then, heís begun to kind of, you know, he viciously disagrees with it but he accepts it now as a part, as a bigger picture. Itís basically to keep himself, his wife and his family alive and then itís a necessary, an enormous necessary evil in that greater picture.

Justine: Great. Thank you.

Matthew: Youíre welcome.

Moderator: Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of AJ Grillo with Please go ahead.

AJ: Hello, Matthew. Thanks for joining us today.

Matthew: No problem.

AJ: You and Elizabeth have played a lot of different characters, different disguises. What was your favorite one to play?

Matthew: My favorite one is a guy that I nicknamed Fernando. He has long shoulder-length hair and a moustache and sometimes a little goatee and usually works as a sort of janitor figure or whatever, whateverís needed. He was my sort of, heís been my favorite I think just because of the elaborate backstory Iíve given him as a flamenco dancing assassin.

AJ: Also, Paige was joining that church and Philip and Elizabeth werenít crazy about it and ultimately it was a bit of a sham, but do you think Philip saw any connection between what he went through with the KGB and could see the similarities in this church, which is why they were so against it?

Matthew: Yes. I think Philip and Elizabeth both suffered from absent parents in one respect or the other and Russia being what it was at that time and theyíre sort of having doctrination of what communism was and it being the only way and the right way at a very young, impressionable age, then yes, all those types [ph] align and make for a sort of perfect party member. I think the same has happened for Paige. Sheís suffered enormously from two very absent parents and has sought the sort of comfort and light and guidance from elsewhere.

AJ: Thank you.

Matthew: No worries.

Moderator: Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Laura Dengrove with Please go ahead.

Laura: Hello, Matthew. How are you doing today?

Matthew: Very well, thank you. How are you?

Laura: Iím pretty good. I was wondering, out of either a two series Ė the two-year run that your series has had, what is your favorite episode youíve played so far?

Matthew: I think possibly the favorite was that one where Ė I canít remember what itís called Ė but itís where Philip, where you referenced earlier, kind of erupts in a way at Paige and tears up a Bible. To me, it was one of the most human moments for someone whoís had to deal with all of this throughout his entire life and we watched for two seasons the buildup and the culmination of so, so much. What I loved was the fact that for once, we see it released, we see it come out and we see it have its effect.

For that reason, it is rare because I think in the series we do tend to Ė emotions do have to be bottled for various reasons and it was just so good to finally air something so deeply entrenched in Philipís psyche.

Laura: Alright, thank you.

Matthew: No worries.

Moderator: Thank you. Weíll go to the line of Kara Howland with TV Goodness. Please go ahead.

Kara: Hey, Matthew. Itís me again. I wanted to follow-up on an earlier question about how Philip is dealing with kind of death this season. When Annelise gets killed in the premiere episode we see him recover or maybe even use that opportunity to his advantage. What are we going to see going forward with the Yousaf storyline?

Moderator: Matthewís back on the line.

Matthew: Hello.

Allyson: Hello.

Matthew: Hello.

Moderator: Hello. One moment, let me get everyone back.

Matthew: Help us.

Moderator: We are all connected to the conference.

Matthew: Hello. Thereís a terrible blizzard in New York. Iím sorry. Iím dropping calls left, right and center.

Moderator: What weíll do is weíll go back to the line of Laura Dengrove with

Matthew: Fabulous.

Moderator: Ms. Dengrove, your line is open. Please go ahead.

Laura: Hello, Matthew.

Matthew: Laura. We are truly falling apart.

Laura: Iím experiencing the blizzard as well. What are you most excited about for season three? Anything upcoming that you can kind of talk about that youíre really excited about?

Matthew: Yes. To me, what was always exciting was when I first read the first pilot of this, at its heart, the most alluring for me was this incredibly complex relationship, at its heart, and how that would resolve and manifest itself, and thatís whatís always of interest to me. I think this year, the scene, the conflict between Philip and Elizabeth about Paige, itís sort of the more extreme version of what so many marriages and relationships go through in the raising of children. Itís the absolute conflict that interests me, like how it will resolve itself and the very rocky journey of getting there.

Laura: Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. (Operator instructions.) We will go to the line of Kara Howland with TV Goodness. Please go ahead.

Kara: Hello, Matthew. We got cut off earlier, so Iím sorry if you have answered this already. It was my question about how Philip is dealing with death and his storyline with Yousaf.

Matthew: Yes, yes, yes, yes. Sorry, what was your question? We were cruelly torn apart by this blizzard.

Kara: Okay. Iím basically wondering, now that Annelise is out of the picture, you seem to very quickly go with the flow and use that to your advantage. I was just wondering whatís going to happen with your storyline with Yousaf this season.

Matthew: To be perfectly honest, I donít know where itís going because itís resolved in the last three episodes, which we havenít received yet. Itís as much of a surprise Ė you know he kind of gets in and out of the season but nothing of substance in kind of Ė he checks in with Philip and Philip keeps pushing him for information.

The true resolve of what will happen, is to happen is in the last three, which we havenít received yet, so time will tell. Iím sorry I canít be any more specific than that.

Kara: Okay. How does your character deal with her death and how do we see that kind of play out over the next few episodes?

Matthew: Iím afraid to say. Thereís so much other stuff going on that the resolve isnít on camera. I mean, itís like all deaths and it affects him deeply and you like, the eruption of Ė leading to it, it kind of tends to seed and plant itself deeply with Philip and then usually the effect takes hold much later.

Kara: Okay. Okay, great. Thank you so much.

Matthew: No worries.

Moderator: Thank you. Weíll go to the line of Cicely Dyson with Speak Easy for Wall Street Journal. Please go ahead.

Cicely: Hello. Itís me again.

Matthew: Hello.

Cicely: This season Philip and Elizabeth are extremely focused on Paige now that the center has kind of zoned in on her as being a recruit, but do you think that all this attention that theyíre focusing on Paige is affecting Henry in some kind of way? Like, there was his breaking and entering last season and this season heís hoarding bikini photos of his neighbor and thereís no telling what else heís going to do. Do you think that all this attention on Paige is just going to kind of come back to them with Henry?

Matthew: I do, I do. Thereís this kind of deliberate sort of silent watching and listening from Henry throughout the season, Iím very interested as to how that will manifest itself in him. Itís clearly that kind of absence he feels and the sort of dysfunction and the distance, Iím sure he feels will have to sort of come out in some way, form or another. I look forward to seeing that.

Cicely: Has that affected the season just yet?

Matthew: Not yet. Itís still kind of bubbling along.

Cicely: Okay. Thank you.

Matthew: No worries.

Moderator: Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Benjamin Lindsay with Rotten Tomatoes. Please go ahead.

Benjamin Hello there, Matthew. I was watching the Screen Actors Guild Awards last night and something that I couldnít help but notice is that each time the television actors got up to accept an award and started speaking, they thank the writers of the show. Just listening to you speaking this afternoon, itís obvious that you are passionate about this character, passionate about this series. Could you speak at all on your affinity for this script and kind of what your relationship is like and this new plot going on with Paige and everything?

Matthew: Yes. You know, Iíve always said television is the absolute writers medium and thereís a reason weíre in the golden age of television. Itís because the writing in this day and age is so incredibly good and never more so than in our show, where as Iíve said time and time again, the layering, the complexity of what they give us to play is so enormously interesting and difficult and challenging and dynamic. We thank them a lot as well. Sadly, we didnít have the platform at the SAG Awards.

Benjamin: Specifically in terms of this plot with Paige, I couldnít help but think of a series like Homeland where it seems like they kind of falter in focusing too much on the children, so what do you think this season does right in kind of giving your children on the series such pests when it comes to the actual part of the show?

Matthew: I think thereís sort of the focus of children taken in any family situation or dynamic is enormous and so much of peopleís lives are geared towards being good parents and doing the right thing. I think itís those universal themes that help us and really ground it in a way and make it that much more real, I hope.

Benjamin: Excellent. Well, thank you so much.

Matthew: No worries.

Moderator: Thank you. (Operator instructions.) We will go to the line of Justine Browning with Latino Review. Please go ahead.

Justine: I was wondering, when we see the flashback sequences, their lives before they joined the KGB, which theyíre not supposed to really acknowledge, but over the last few seasons weíve seen that thereís been a shift in that. We donít really get a glimpse of Philipís early life. Heís touched on it a bit and I was just wondering, is that something weíre going to see more of or do you personally have a backstory as an actor for that?

Matthew: I do have a backstory for it which sort of helps me in the way I kind of create my world for Philip. I donít think it is, not this season, because this season is very much Elizabethís and the relationship with her mother, which you know, obviously parallels and mirrors that with Paige and the way it informs the relationship with Paige. Thatís a great focused moment.

God willing, if we do get a fourth season then maybe weíll see some of Philipís more miss-spent psychedelic days.

Justine: Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. (Operator instructions.) We will go to the line of Earl Dittman with Digital Journal. Please go ahead.

Earl: Hello, Matthew. Itís me again.

Matthew: Hello.

Earl: In what ways would you say that Philip is very much like you as a person and in what ways is he just not like Ė or are you just not like him at all? I mean, do you embody some of the same things?

Matthew: Absolutely, absolutely. Iíve always appraised any character I approach with Ė basically, the characteristics should be built up of myself. Iím always interested in the truth of the character and the way I bring a truth to the character to make him, I hate to say, but itís your own make up that you bring to the character. Itís rare that you see anyone play a great extremity [ph] in this day and age because actors really havenít given the opportunity to be Ė only the big stars get to have the chameleon stretches that they want, but more often than not youíre kind of cast in the way that you are. More often than not, I think with television writing, as the first season unfolds, writers will tend to start writing to your own characteristics.

I think in that respect, when things evolve, naturally they see the family orientation and the rest of it, the more humanity of Philip. I like to think that those are characteristics that I share heavily with him, the same kind of hatred of the deaths that happen. Thereís a lot of me in Philip, even though Iím watching now.

Earl: Yes. Well, also, I have to say, Philip gets laid more than any television character Iíve ever seen.

Matthew: Thatís based on my life as well.

Earl: As an actor, though, does it get any easier doing sex scenes or those types of scenes?

Matthew: No. It never gets comfortable.

Earl: Really?

Matthew: It never gets to a point where Ė no Ė you go, ďOh, this is normal, this is natural,Ē youíre simulating sex with 40 of your closest friends. Itís bizarre, the random bizarreness of it. Then itís magnified when you have to do the gymnastics of the Kama Sutra as well.

Itís never Ė Iíd answer with never. Itís not close to a place where I can go, ďOh, great, another sex scene. That will be normal.Ē Itís the opposite for me.

Earl: The Kama Sutra thing was pretty good, though. Did you have to practice a lot for it?

Matthew: Well, we didnít. We didnít. However, we did suffer for it. There was a lot of pulled tendons and cramping because youíre on one foot trying to balance basically.

Earl: Yikes. Well, thank you so much. Again, thanks for Ė itís already a fantastic season. I canít wait to see more. Thank you so much for being so great in it.

Matthew: Thank you. Thanks for saying so.

Earl: I appreciate it.

Moderator: Thank you. Our next question comes from Cicely Dyson, Speak Easy for Wall Street Journal. Please go ahead.

Cicely: Hello. The character of Martha is determined to have a future with Clark despite all the warning signs of him not being available and theyíre keeping their marriage a secret and they donít live together. Heís obviously pumping her for information. Do you think that Ė how much longer do you think that this ruse can last, this fake marriage with Martha constantly questioning their future together, wanting to foster a child and eventually have one of their own?

Matthew: I think Philip is very aware that it canít sustain itself. He canít keep at armís length and fobbing [ph] her off and leading her down a certain garden path about having children and the rest of it when really, I think it affects him enormously, the sort of playing with her emotions, but I think he knows full well that itís like his life in a way. It canít sustain itself and ultimately, something will have to give, and more often than not, undoubtedly, it will be with relatively disastrous consequences.

Cicely: Thatís unfortunate. I like Martha.

Matthew: I know. I think I, as has Philip, have enormous compassion and empathy for Martha. It manifests itself in the great guilt as to the puppeting of someoneís feelings and journey in life.

Cicely: Thank you.

Matthew: Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. We will now go to the line of AJ Grillo with Please go ahead.

AJ: Hello again, Matthew. Nobody knows where the showís ultimately going to go, but since in your personal opinion the way things have gone and knowing the character of Philip and Elizabeth, do you think towards the showís end, which is hopefully many years from now, do you think itís more likely that theyíll get captured and possibly killed or do you think thereís a chance that they could actually defect?

Matthew: My hope is that they do defect. Philip mentioned that in the first episode of the first season. I think thatís something that remained with him very closely until now and thatís really the absolute only way he could guarantee the safe future of his children. To me, I would love to see them defect.

AJ: Do you think Elizabeth would go for that, though? She seems to be closer to Mother Russia than Philip.

Matthew: There would have to be sort of unmitigated sets of circumstances whereby it would be a deal that if they didnít they would go to prison for the rest of their lives, the kids would be put in a foster home, or that they could become double agents. Then it begs the question, does Elizabeth then become a triple agent?

Story-wise dramaturgically, I think it offers an enormous amount.

AJ: Thank you.

Matthew: Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. Weíll go to the line of Earl Dittman, Digital Journal. Please go ahead.

Earl: Excuse my ignorance, but do you sometimes Twitter during television, during the show sometimes, live Twitter?

Matthew: I donít, never. I never have done it. Iím not a big Twitterer.

Earl: Not a big social media guy?

Matthew: Iím not. Iím a little bit of a Luddite. I still use pen and paper as often as possible.

Earl: What do you think of that phenomenon, though? A lot of shows do it.

Matthew: They do, and I understand it and can see the beast itís become. Itís now the beast no one can do without. I have to admit, Iím not a fan of it. I donít, it doesnít push my buttons, but itís a necessary evil in this day and age.

Earl: I think it takes away from the show while youíre watching the show. I canít do it because Iím trying to watch the show and see whatís going on.

Matthew: Yes. No, the live tweeting I totally disagree with because I think in that sense the way sometimes they ask actors to do TV spots with it kind of not being the character and it more being themselves, I think itís a sort of ludicrous notion to me because I think especially with our show, you ask the audience to go on quite a fantastical journey. Itís a big ask of them, of their imaginations to go with you. I think things like live Tweeting and things like that, what youíre doing is youíre sort of popping yourself out of that fantasy back into reality and telling the audience that youíre an actor playing a part. The suspension of that belief I think becomes harder or the chasm becomes a greater jump. I donít think it aids you in any way.

Also, Iím just a bit more old school. I just want to watch it uninterrupted.

Earl: Did you work on anything else during your hiatus? Do you have anything else coming out this year?

Matthew: I did. I did a movie in France with a great director called Christian Carion. It was a Second World War movie. He was Oscar nominated for a First World War movie he did, and thatís being scored by [indiscernible] as we speak. Itíll be out in the summer.

Then I did a little movie for Harvey Ė not a little movie. Iím sorry, I played a small part in a Harvey Weinstein movie with Bradley Cooper where we play rival chefs.

Earl: Whatís the name of that?

Matthew: It has a working title at the moment of Adam Jones, which is the main character, but Iím not sure if itís going to be the final title.

Earl: Yes. Well, that sounds fantastic. So we have more of you coming up this year.

Matthew: Iím sorry to say you have.

Earl: Well, donít get frozen in in New York because itís looking nasty on television. I hope you donít get too cold or too frozen up.

Matthew: No. Yes, Iím looking out the window now. Itís really bad out there.

Earl: Really bad. Well, take care. Be careful.

Matthew: Thank you very much.

Moderator: Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Darwyn Carson of Please go ahead.

Darwyn: Hello. I have a question for you that involves falling in love with Elizabeth. I always felt from the first season when it shows Philip initially ripping the picture in two of the young girl right before he meets Elizabeth, I always felt that there was something about that that connected him to her emotionally from the very beginning. Would you say that Philip fell in love with her from the moment he saw her or was he just more open to it because he was obviously more open to it being real than she was?

Matthew: No, Iím a romantic in that sense. I do think that he fell in love with her in the beginning. Yes, so yes is the short answer.

I think he is emotionally a lot more available and open, and that doesnít serve him well in this business at times.

Darwyn: Is it harder for him to shut that down than when he has to go into the field?

Matthew: It is, it is. I think it takes its toll sort of deep down with Philip. I think it does affect him and as weíve seen, itís a problem that comes back. Itís sort of the return of the repressed. It comes back to haunt him.

Darwyn: Just one more question. Because you get to play so many variety of character roles and you do so many different sort of choice [audio disruption] in this job would you consider this your dream role? If not, what has been your dream role?

Matthew: No, Iíd say this was my dream role. As a sort of box ticker for actors, I donít think you could get better than this. Itís been a real dream. As I said, the layering, the complexity of it keeps getting deeper and more varied. Thereís no danger at all of it ever becoming dull or repetitive. Itís incredibly challenging and dynamic. Itís everything you want or ever wanted to do in one part.

Darwyn: Thank you so much.

Matthew: Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. We will now go to the line of Virginia Rohan with The Record Newspaper. Please go ahead.

Virginia: Hello, Matthew. Thanks so much for doing this. Holly Taylor lives in our readership area and I was just wanting to ask you, we know how pivotal a role Paige has now and working with Holly, can you talk a little bit about that?

Matthew: First off, and I always hate it when actors do this, but with regard to her I can say with absolute sincerity sheís one of the sweetest, nicest, most sincere people Iíve ever had the fortune to meet, but itís true. I think it serves her incredibly well because what it brings to her part, and especially with these storylines, is an incredible sense of truth.

Virginia: Right.

Matthew: She has sort of enormous sincerity and truth and virtue in her performances and that was sort of influenced by who she is as a person. I think it lends itself amazingly well to her performances and sheís incredible all around. There isnít anything she really canít do in many [indiscernible] of this crazy business. If you have the opportunity to talk to her you should ask her to rap for you.

Virginia: Rap? R-A-P?

Matthew: Yes.

Virginia: Is she good at that?

Matthew: Incredible.

Virginia: Thatís good to know. Weíll have to ask her to do that. I heard a story that she had a little trouble in one scene where she had to use a 1980s telephone and she was using both thumbs, so that was one of the only ways in which she needed some instruction as to how to dial an old-time telephone.

Matthew: The one element of this show that depresses the hell out of me is when the kids sometimes will bring something up and go, ďWhat is this?Ē and you go, ďOh, my god.Ē I was a child of the Ď80s and you know, they ask what the VCR or the telephone is. They go, ďMy god, these things Ė look at this remote control, itís like, oh, gosh.Ē And youíre like, ďOh, shut up, kid.Ē

Virginia: Thatís wonderful. Thank you so much, Matthew.

Matthew: Thank you.

Moderator: Thank you. We will now go to the line of Justine Browning, Latino Review. Please go ahead.

Justine: I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about the complexity between Philip and Elizabeth? It seems that they have so far this season, early on, are really interesting because thereís a lot of, thereís an antagonistic element to it, but then episode three about thereís a way that it kind of comes to the surface, this sensuality, within a very gruesome scene. I donít want to give anything away, but I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about playing that.

Matthew: Yes, in episode Ė Iím trying to think. Did you say in episode three it comes to a head?

Justine: Yes.

Matthew: In a gruesome Ė yes, yes, of course. Yes. Itís this dance that they have perennially. Their relationship and life together is so complex that itís gymnastic in a way that it can leap from something incredibly domestic as to do with the kidsí school and then to do with a mission and then the killing or disposing of a body. They jump these huge caverns, these leaps, varied and often and thatís true of their emotional life. Also, they only have each other in this situation. Thereís no one else they could turn to. Thereís no one else who can empathize or sympathize like the other one can. Therefore, in that respect, theyíre sort of beholden and dependent on each other.

It makes for this amazing relationship whereby they need each other, but they antagonize each other enormously and they fight and theyíre poles apart at times, but ultimately, knowing that they absolutely will always need each other, so it makes for incredibly interesting play. What happens in those moments whereby their life is so extreme, whereby they have to do these things like the scene youíve referenced, itís only, I think in their relationship, and only their relationship that can happen when it becomes something else. It almost becomes this gruesome thing, becomes almost an act of love, and therefore, something incredibly sensual to the two of them, if that makes sense.

Justine: Great. Thank you. Great scene. Really [indiscernible], of course.

Matthew: Yes.

Moderator: Thank you. Our final question comes from the line of Earl Dittman, Digital Journal. Please go ahead.

Earl: The final one, okay.

Matthew: Make it a good one, Earl.

Earl: Make it good. Now the pressureís on me.

Matthew: No pressure.

Earl: Okay, a real quick one. What do you watch on television? What are you watching right now? What are your favorite shows?

Matthew: I have to be honest. When we shoot the season I rarely watch anything. In fact, Iíll kind of watch the Oscar movies and documentaries and thatís about it. Then when the season comes down I will then binge-watch whateverís been the hype of the time weíve been shooting. I did Breaking Bad and Homeland and all that and The Wire, all the big ones. I do want to see The Affair when we finish. Iím interested in seeing that. I have to catch up on Boardwalk Empire. Thereís a lot ahead of me, but sadly, nothing at the moment. At the moment I think itís because I deal so much with TV and fiction, I have a real thing Ė I love to watch documentaries during the season while we shoot, so Iíve been pouring through those.

Earl: The real stuff.

Matthew: I know, the real life. You kind of go oh, yes, this.

Earl: Thatís how it works.

Matthew: Yes, Iíve heard of this.

Earl: One last thing, finally. I just forgot the question then. The pressure was on. Now I know what you go through. There are a lot of unfortunate people who donít watch. Theyíre unfortunate because they donít watch this. Why should people watch The Americans? What sets it apart besides the actual story line?

Matthew: To me, I think itís just an extreme version of life and I think whenever you watch something, that youíre reassured that other people are as fallible as you. I think we take comfort in it and I think thatís why we kind of sustained ourselves for three seasons. That weíre universal. Itís an extreme version of human life, which makes it dramaturgically more interesting I think to watch. Thatís why Iíd watch it. I know I appreciate thatís not much of a sound bite. It can be very difficult to put as a sub-heading, but thatís my take.

Earl: It works for me. Thanks again. I appreciate you taking the time today. I think we all do. Thanks so much.

Matthew: Not at all. Thank you all.

Moderator: Thank you. Speaker, please go ahead.

Allyson: Thank you so much to everyone for joining us today, and especially Matthew Rhys. We greatly appreciate your time. As a reminder, the third season of The Americans premieres this Wednesday, January 28th at 10:00 p.m. only on FX. You may now disconnect.

Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive Teleconference.

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