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'The Americans' season 2: Six scoops on the new season

The Americans returns Feb. 26, and during a panel Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour, the cast and producers teased what the season has in store for TV’s Russian spy couple next door.

This season will turn the focus back on the family.
“We felt like [season 1] had been so focused on the marriage,” says EP Joe Weisberg, “and the natural place to go next was the family.” Particularly with Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth’s (Keri Russell) marriage on more solid ground, they wanted to move on to exploring “the next point of fracture” — the family unit.

Emmy Watch: Matthew Rhys on the challenge of playing a knit-wearing, suburban spy

Between now and June 28, the deadline for Emmy voters to submit nomination ballots, will feature interviews with some of the actors and actresses whose names we hope to hear when nominations are announced on July 18.

Audition processes are notoriously grueling, but actor Matthew Rhys scored his role on FX’s The Americans by literally being slapped in the face.

It happened when he and co-star Keri Russell were performing a scene from the pilot together in front of producers. At the time, Russell had already landed her role as one half of a Russian spy couple in the Cold War-era drama and they were looking for an actor to play her husband, with whom her character would share a complicated relationship.

“[There’s] a scene from the pilot where [Russell’s character] Elizabeth slaps [Rhys’ character] Philip’s face and Keri just — I don’t think she really meant to — but man she just took a whack at him. She hit him so hard because they were both so into the scene, and Matthew didn’t even flinch. It was like he just hadn’t even gotten hit,” executive producer Joe Weisberg recalls. “There was something about that moment…when he took that hit he just seemed like the toughest guy in the world.”

This story makes Rhys howl with laughter.  “I was too much in shock,” he says of not reacting to the blow. “Internally, I was like, ‘What just happened?'” READ FULL STORY


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