Matthew Rhys Q&A: ‘The Americans’
Matthew Rhys is a Welsh actor playing a native-born Russian pretending to be from the United States on the FX drama series "The Americans." At the end of the first season, the married spy couple of Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings (Rhys and Keri Russell) separated, but it didn't take long for new episodes to team them up again.
In our recent webcam chat (watch below), Rhys admitted, "In the unity that was the second season, what was interesting was then there were the greater challenges that were thrown at them. They had to face as a team, as a couple, and how that to a degree solidified their relationship, not without its conflict."
It is the early 1980s, the peak of the Cold War between the United States and Russia. They are posing as a classic American couple with two children, but are actually highly trained agents who steal secrets, murder people, and are constantly on undercover missions. They have been in the U.S. since the 1960s and are deeply hidden in their cover disguises.
For this recently aired second season, Rhys is nominated for a Critics Choice TV Award as Best Drama Actor. The show also recaped bids for Best Drama Series, plus Russell as Best Drama Actress and Annet Mahendru as Best Drama Supporting Actress. Rhys is also in contention at the upcoming TV Critics Awards (TCA) as Best Drama Individual, and the show is up for Best Drama Series. This is his second straight year that it earned nominations at both events.
His big break was being cast in the Julie Taymor Shakespearan film "Titus" in 1999. Much of his time since has been spent on television, including a long run on the ABC drama "Brothers and Sisters" as Kevin Walker, the gay son of Sally Field's character Nora Walker. He was also recently seen on PBS in "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" and "Death Comes to Pemberley" (as the classic Jane Austen character of Darcy).
Regarding his run on "Brothers and Sisters," he says, "How thankful and grateful I am because of every aspect. Not just to be on an American show, but a great show with great writing and an incredible cast. It was an enormous learning curve for me, that show, in every sense just from a craft point-of-view, a discipline point-of-view, and a work ethic point-of-view."