Yahoo! TV Q&A: 'The Americans' Star Noah Emmerich on His Character, His Twitter, and His Celebrity BFF
Let's get this out of the way: If you're not yet watching FX's latest drama, "The Americans," why not? It is fantastic, and it has gotten better each week.
Yahoo! TV had the chance to talk with FBI counterintelligence agent Stan (Noah Emmerich) -- whom movie fans know as a scene stealer in flicks like "Beautiful Girls," "The Truman Show," "Little Children," and "Pride and Glory" -- about his compelling character, his decision to take on his first regular TV series role, his conflicted feelings about Twitter, his "Glee"-ful singing past, and his celebrity friend and fellow a cappella singer, "Scandal" and "The West Wing" star Joshua Malina.
Last week's episode was kind of a game changer all the way around, definitely for Philip and Elizabeth and their relationship, but also for Stan, in this big plan that he has for Nina. Stan's juggling a lot … his work, his relationship with his family, his new friendship with Philip, a lot of tension in all those areas, and obviously a lot we still don't even know. Which aspect of the character are you having the most fun playing?
The most interesting work is always the complexities and the colors and the textures of the experience of, ultimately, life, which is less about plot and more about the human relationships and our understanding of ourselves and our understanding of our place in the world and how we relate to those around us, our family, our co-workers, our friends, the affairs of the human heart, I guess.
All those relationships have different offerings and possibilities and nuances that I find equally interesting, because they're in completely different realms. There's a loneliness to Stan. And Philip, I think he's interested in … again, it's hard for me talk about it, in a way, because we're in the middle of it. I feel that Stan should speak for himself. I don't think Noah Emmerich should talk about Stan, to some degree. I don't want to tell people what to think or what's interesting or what's not interesting, but I can just tell you that for me, as an actor, all those relationships hold a lot of potentially interesting areas to explore, in terms of friendship, love, family, responsibility, morality, obligations, identity of self, identity within a family, identity within a job, identity within a social structure, a neighborhood, a father, a husband, a co-worker.
Watch a scene of Emmerich on "The Americans":
All those things are quite dynamically being explored in different degrees in different episodes. Hopefully, over the course of the whole series, it will be a full, interesting picture.
But they're all interesting to me in different ways and different aspects that, hopefully, people relate to it in their own lives, whether or not you're a counterintelligence agent or a schoolteacher. These are things, hopefully, that have a commonality to our understanding of ourselves and our relation to the world around us that will resonate somehow.
"The Americans," like most other FX shows, is very smart. It assumes the audience can figure out things without having to be hit over the head with them. Is that one of the things that attracted you to the show?
Yes, there's definitely an inherent intelligence to the piece. All I read was the pilot. It was one script. It definitely, to me, stuck out as extremely intelligent and not pandering and loaded with potential for all kinds of interesting possibilities, which, I guess, is what you're looking for in a pilot. To be honest with you, like I said, I have never done a series before. I was resistant, for various reasons, to the idea. It was really actually my friend Gavin O'Connor who directed "The Americans" pilot, and who I've worked with a large amount. All the movies he's made I've been in, and we have a great friendship, professionally and personally. He called me and said, "You're crazy if you don't think that you should do this."