“He’s constantly bludgeoning everyone around him with his opinions,” actor Morgan Spector says about his character in “The Plot Against America” during an exclusive interview with Gold Derby (watch the video above) about the HBO miniseries adapted by Ed Burns and David Simon from the novel of the same name by Philip Roth. “That’s the essence of Herman Levin,” Spector adds about his character, whom Roth based on his father Herman Roth and Spector clarifies “comes from a place of genuinely good intentions.” “The Plot Against America” depicts an alternate history in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt is not reelected in 1940, turning the United States toward fascism and racism, which is particularly worrisome and calamitous for Jewish families like the Levins/Roths.
The story from the 2004 novel is noted as being inadvertently allegorical for the present-day political climate, but Spector is quick to note the timelessness of the interpersonal relationships as well. “One thing that I was really drawn to about the script was the dynamic between Herman and Bess and the way that their marriage, particularly for the period, seemed to be a very functional and happy one,” he remarks about the part portrayed by Zoe Kazan. He continues, “They are a partnership and maybe that was filtered through a contemporary lens, but that’s in the book. That’s how Roth saw his parents. They had a unique dynamic; they had a dynamic that was specific to the period, but it was one that worked and one that created a relatively happy family.”
“The Plot Against America” will continue to air new episodes through April 20, then Spector will be seen on HBO next in “The Gilded Age,” the upcoming 1880s-set drama series by Julian Fellowes that was first announced in 2012. “It’s about the high society in New York at that time,” Spector teases before elaborating, “Those buildings that we look at now — the beautiful Stanford White buildings in New York, thank god — how glamorous old New York was. That was thought of as being in terribly poor taste when it first appeared in the city and so, it’s a show about that conflict within the upper echelons of wealthy New York society.”
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