Ashley Zukerman on portraying a mysterious wunderkind in ‘Manhattan’

In WGN America’s “Manhattan,” Ashley Zukerman portrays a character so psychologically complex and layered that it’s difficult to define Charlie Isaacs as good or bad. As a scientist involved in creating the atom bomb at Los Alamos during World War II, Charlie is sometimes mad genius, thief, accused spy and, at his best, moral champion.

“We don’t know if he’s about to save the world or end the world – that’s probably the true Charlie,” Zukerman says in our webcam chat. “His naivete is stripped away and these moral shrouds that he wears, too.”

Looking ahead to season two, which is shooting now, Charlie doesn’t spend “so much time asking the bigger questions,” Zukerman adds. “Now he just wants to build this bomb. Optimistically, that allows Charlie to become the leader that he doubted himself to be. We get to experience him pushing his personal boundaries to get this thing done.”

John Benjamin Hickey on why shooting ‘Manhattan’ is like being in Disneyland

Zukerman competes in the Emmy race for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Make your predictions here. Compete to win our prizes for best picks: $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place).

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