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Matthew Rhys joined The Hollywood Reporter‘s Drama Actor Roundtable to discuss the final season of the FX series The Americans. He shared the challenges of the role, saying, “It was a strange one, because it’s so heavily steeped in truth, but it’s so fantastical. The challenge fell with where to land it tonally.”
“You could read it as a farce,” he said, noting, “What the United States and the KGB were doing in the early ’80s was farcical. So how do I land this in a credible, real place that the audience follows you?”
“I’d go to the writers and go, ‘This is ridiculous!’ and they’d go, ‘I know, but it happened.’ So you kind of go, ‘What do I do then? Make it look real.’ So it was always tonally — that was the greatest challenge.”
The conversation turned to Rhys’s Emmy-nominated guest star performance on the final season of Girls, where he portrayed a famous author accused of sexual misconduct. Rhys told the roundtable, “I had to take my penis out and put it on Lena Dunham at the end of the episode, but not my penis, a prosthetic penis. On her thigh.”
Rhys’ admission sparked an uproar of laughter and jokes from the rest of the group, with J.K. Simmons saying, “We used our own penises on Oz.“
“Such a luxury, you get to choose,” joked Michael B. Jordan in regards to the use of a prosthetic.
“How many penises did the prop department present you with?” Darren Criss asked.
Rhys has two additional Emmy nominations and one Golden Globe nomination for his leading role in The Americans.
The final season of The Americans aired this spring on FX. The full Emmy Roundtables air every Sunday on Sundance TV beginning June 24 and on THR.com the following Monday. The full Drama Actor Roundtable, featuring Matthew Rhys, J.K. Simmons, Darren Criss, Michael B. Jordan, Jeff Daniels and Jason Bateman, airs July 8 . Tune in to THR.com/roundtables for more discussions featuring talent from the year’s top shows.