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Multiple Identities : Matthew Rhys

#89_ent_The-Americans-S2,-Mathew-Rhys-(photo-credit-to-FOX)Picking up where the series “The Americans” left off, we speak with actor Matthew Rhys on the cliffhanger ending and the next season

Welsh actor Matthew Rhys plays a Russian playing an American in the Cold War drama “The Americans”. His character, Phillip Jennings, is a complex one, requiring him to play several roles as his character continually goes undercover.

He gains the trust of FBI executive assistant Martha as his alter ego, Clark, and Season 1 then ends with them tying the knot while Phillip’s wife, Elizabeth, gets shot.

We speak to the star of this pulsating drama.

Where does “The Americans” pick up this season, after last year’s finale?

It picks up a short time after the violent end of the first season, so Elizabeth is very fresh out of recovery, probably back a little too early, and straight back on to operations; and it is sort of a new beginning for the two of them.

I think that experience unifies and bonds them incredibly.

It’s a new journey through the second season for those two, as they discover each other and become more of a unit.

Your character seemed a little more open-minded, that he could see both sides, America and Russia. He seemed more sympathetic to American life; does that continue this season?

It has, very interestingly – they always tell us about what we are supposed to say and what we are not… [laughs]


It’s OK; the information is safe; no one in the USA uses the Internet in 1982!

Yes, I keep forgetting that. Of course, I’m so method!

It turns out, they leant Phillip one particular way, and more so because of his children, becoming taken with a slightly more materialistic and capitalist life that America presented, and that goes up to a certain point in this season.

And then there is a big change in him, which is great; it is so fascinating, the psychology of him and how it affects those two.

I read about you saying Sally Field was an important mentor to you, from “Brothers & Sisters”. Could you tell us a bit about that and what you learnt from her?

It was a number of things; it has to do with a work ethic. She taught me about the discipline. You can’t just joke around in those moments. You have to stay focused, be prepared.

Every aspect of it really: your script breakdown, knowing where you are coming from, knowing where you are going.

We did this one scene where she had to break down at a funeral and then they wanted to shoot her first because she was going to cry, and then they really wanted to move the camera.

They said, “But it is going to be a 20-minute move…” and she went, “That’s fine,” and she went and sat down and she started knitting and she just cried for about 20 minutes, just quietly, but staying in it and then they called her back up, and she did it (the scene) straight away.

And that’s when I went, “No wonder she got two Oscars!”

“The Americans” Season 2 premiered on Jul 5 at 8.55pm, and continues every Sat on FOX, SingTel mio TV Ch 330 & StarHub TV Ch 505.