Henry Bromell, Rubicon‘s executive producer, spoke with AMCtv.com about his favorite episodes from Season One, his thoughts on slower pacing and the origin of Truxton Spangler’s name.
Q: The fan love for Rubicon has really been snowballing over the course of the season. What do you think it is about this show that resonates with fans?
A: I don’t know. The filmmaking is really beautiful and quite different from even shows on cable. It’s much more filmic and so it feels like a movie. And then I think these are really interesting characters who work in API. We’ve never seen a show about guys who do that part of intelligence. It’s a little bit obscure, but it’s awfully interesting.
Q: How much did contemporary events shape the Season One narrative while you were writing and producing?
A: A lot, in the sense that this is in part about American intelligence gathering post-9/11, and we did some stories that I know were issues that real [intelligence gatherers] have to deal with. For example, if you have good intelligence that a guy you’re pretty sure is a bad guy is going to be in a building, and you could send in a drone and strike and hit him but you know that there will be 50 other people in the building, what do you do? And they make these decisions all the time, for better or for worse.
Q: Is there an episode that you’re most fond of?
David Rasche, who plays James Wheeler, spoke with AMCtv.com about portraying a morally conflicted character, co-starring with a former director, and keeping Rubicon spoilers away from his son.
Q: What appealed to you about Rubicon when you signed on for the role?
A: Everything has such an interesting way of revealing itself. You think you know what’s going on, and then you don’t know what’s going on, and all of a sudden you’re surprised by something else that’s going on. Also, it seemed like I was going to be a guy who had really mixed feelings, and that was fun to play somebody who’s torn… I guess the thing I like about it the most is I had told my son I’m going to be on this new show Rubicon. He’s like, “Yeah, great dad.” And then he started watching it and he sent me this angry email, because when he didn’t know anything about the show it was all chummy. Then he started getting hooked on the show and then he was extremely irate and forceful: Do not tell me anything more about what’s happening! So he’s really hooked.
Q: In both In the Loop and Burn After Reading, you play characters who are mixed up in complicated stories. Rubicon is a complex story as well — is that something you gravitate towards when picking projects?
A: Absolutely. The kind father [role] is all fun, but it’s a lot more fun to have not such a straight line, to be pulled two different ways.
Q: Outside of Rubicon, you’ve played a number of comedic roles in the last few years. Do you try to make a point of mixing it up?
Playing Will’s mysterious neighbor Andy was not a huge stretch for Annie Parisse — as it turns out, she is real-life neighbors with James Badge Dale. Parisse spoke with AMCtv.com about sharing Andy’s sense of adventure, getting through a love scene, and touching Dale’s curly hair.
Q: Fans are divided as to whether Andy is a friend or foe to Will. Did you expect people to react that way?
A: It’s definitely a pretty crazy beginning to a relationship to have this flirtation across the airshaft. I was definitely the whole time wondering am I the bad guy? Am I the good guy? So I totally get why the fans would be divided, because I was myself.
Q: You and James Badge Dale both starred in The Pacific. How well did you know him from that series?
A: You know, not that well. We were in Australia at the same time and hung out a bit, but we didn’t shoot anything together there. Rubicon was my first time working with him. Coincidentally, we live in the same neighborhood. We live like a block away from each other — art imitates life and life imitates art. So we have a friendship just from knowing each other in the neighborhood.
Q: You guys didn’t do any method acting, like gazing at each other from your apartments?
Lauren Hodges, who plays API analyst Tanya MacGaffin, spoke exclusively with AMCtv.com about getting her start as an electrician, the most challenging thing about playing Tanya, and the scariest person on the set.
Q: I read that you started out working as an electrician. How did you go from that to being on Rubicon?
A: To me it’s kind of a no-brainer. I had grown up around the theater, and the first thing I got curious about was the lights. So I asked people questions and learned, and eventually people put me to work and then they paid me. After that, I got curious about acting and kind of the same thing happened. How I ended up on Rubicon, I have absolutely no idea. I auditioned, but beyond that I have no idea. The big thing was there was no plan.
Q: When you read the scene where Tanya tells Miles she failed her drug test, did you think you were about to be written off the show?
Christopher Evan Welch, who plays API analyst Grant Test, spoke with AMCtv.com about his love for crossword puzzles, his idea for a Rubicon spin-off, and what his hair normally looks like when it’s not slicked back.
Q: Do you think you share any qualities with Grant?
A: You know, I don’t share that many with Grant. It’s kind of funny because on the job every day, even to the end of the season, crew and people in the show wouldn’t recognize me coming in at the beginning of the day because I didn’t have the hair and the suit. I’m a very casual dresser. I have kind of sloppy, moppy hair, and I just don’t really carry myself that way. I think of myself as a smart fellow, but I’m not quite a smartass. I definitely don’t feel the need or desire to flaunt it in a way that Grant does.
Q: Are you good at finding patterns and retaining vast quantities of information?
A: I fancy myself quite a good crossword puzzler. I love word games, I love decoding. I do have a penchant for that stuff, but as far as anything that ventures into mathematics, I’m lost. I don’t have the kind of brain it would take to work at API, for sure. Except possibly in the file room.
Q: What crosswords do you do?
Natalie Gold plays Julia Harwell, an API analyst who helps Miles late one night when he desperately needs someone who can translate Urdu. In this exclusive AMCtv.com interview, Gold talks about conspiracy theories, her spunky character, and what’s cool about acting
Rubicon is all about conspiracies. Do you have a favorite one?
You read the newspapers today and everything seems like a cover-up, but the assassinations of the 1960s especially interest me. JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King. Those three people represented such hope and change for a majority of the country, but also fear of change for another part. I don’t think that their deaths were the acts of individuals. I find that fascinating.
How did you prepare to play a character who “for fun” analyzes New York City’s sewer treatment facilities?
Manish Dayal stars as Hal, API’s computer server administrator and Will Travers’ go-to for discrete searches for intelligence information. Dayal spoke exclusively with AMCtv.com about his Rubicon audition, Hal’s windowless office, and eating on the job.
Q: Your character is a research whiz. Would you say you have good research skills? Do you think you could ever do what Hal does for a living?
A: Definitely, I think I fulfill a very funny Indian stereotype because I love technology. It’s something I’ve always been interested in. I’ve always sort of been a techie at heart, and like Hal, I’m able to understand computers and find information.
Q: So far all of your scenes have been with James Badge Dale. Do you get to interact with any of the other cast members?
Q: What appealed to you about this role?
A: The fact that Maggie isn’t who she appears to be and that she has multiple layers. That really appealed to me as an actor. It piqued my curiosity as to where or how she’ll develop as the seasons go on. She was a single mom — that also appealed to me because I’m sort of in that age where as an actress they don’t know whether to send you out for the college girl or someone who can actually have a family or be a mom or be a teacher.
Q: How is playing a mother different?
Q: Your character is said to be a man of habits. Would you describe yourself that way?
A: I’m the complete opposite. I’m totally unpredictable and never do anything consistently. It is one of the enjoyable things in playing the part. Henry Bromell and I based him on a couple of people that we knew who had very specific, peculiar and funny habits and we stole them.
Q: Is that why he eats cereal for lunch and wipes his mouth with his tie?
Dallas Roberts plays Miles Fiedler, a member of Will’s analysis team with a genius-level IQ. In an exclusive amctv.com interview, Dallas discusses what qualities he shares with his character, his love of gaming and computers, how he gets his hair to have that perfectly messed-up look, and more.
Q: James Badge Dale said you would make a good, real-life intelligence analyst. Do you agree?
A: That’s intensely flattering. I would like to believe that I would be good at a job like that. I think the work load would completely drive me bonkers, just all the sort of speed reading required. But yeah, as long as it was like the TV show where I was pretending to speed read. [Laughs]
Q: Do you see any similarities between a career as an actor and one as an intelligence analyst?