Matthew Rhys Interview: ‘The Americans’
Matthew Rhys was “incredibly moved” when he read the script for “START,” the finale episode of “The Americans.” “At that point I was tingling with anticipation. We’d invested six years of our lives, and we knew it was coming to an end, so on a personal level it was incredibly sad.” But he thought the payoff for Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Rhys and Keri Russell) was “a stroke of genius.” The KGB spies escaped to Russia, “but they paid the ultimate price” by leaving their children behind. However, despite that cruel twist of fate, “it was an emancipation for Philip” to no longer have to live a lie. Watch our exclusive video interview with Rhys above.
Rhys was “incredibly nervous” for people to see the finale. He and the rest of the “Americans” team were on-hand for a special premiere of the last episode on May 30, and “to watch the end of something you worked so long on in an enormous auditorium with a number of people — it was terrifying,” especially since Rhys doesn’t usually watch his own work.
But the finale was received well by critics and audiences and it helped earn the show four Emmy nominations: Best Drama Series, Best Drama Writing for series creators Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, Best Drama Actress for Russell and Best Drama Actor for Rhys. It’s the fourth nomination for Rhys, following two previous bids for “The Americans” (2016-2017) and one for guest-starring in the comedy series “Girls” (2017).
“Everyone loves to win awards,” Rhys admits, though the idea of “walking up on stage and giving a speech in front of all those people terrifies me … You see so many people do it so effortlessly. I honestly thought, I’ll either throw up or pass out.” So on Emmy night he should prepare a speech and bring some smelling salts. You never know when you might need them.