You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Americans’ Team Talks Crafting the Series Finale, Potential Spinoffs

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the series finale of “The Americans” that aired on Thursday.

The cast and crew of “The Americans” spent 13 hours filming one climactic finale moment that was nearly six years in the making.

“We were nervous that we were never going to get it because, really, the whole finale — therefore the whole series — depended on it working,” said Joe Weisberg, one of the showrunners. “If it wasn’t believable … we were screwed.”

During Wednesday’s screening of the series finale and FYC panel, moderated by Variety‘s Cynthia Littleton, Weisberg and the rest of the “Americans” team discussed the show’s ending at length — particularly a scene in which FBI agent Stan Beeman, played by Noah Emmerich, holds his longtime friends, the Jennings, at gunpoint after finally discovering that they are Russian spies.

“There was definitely a lot of pressure on that scene,” Emmerich told Variety on the red carpet. “Maybe, in a way, the most pressure on any scene I’ve ever filmed, just because of all the time that went into earning that scene.”

Matthew Rhys, who plays Philip Jennings, was also daunted by the script, which tasked his character with convincing the trained spy hunter, and his best friend, to let him and his family escape.

“It’s like being given a 747 (airplane), and going, ‘Right, land this,'” he joked during the panel. “How? Where? It’s too pivotal. I overthought all the choices.”

When it came to filming heart-wrenching goodbye scenes, however, Rhys and Keri Russell, who plays matriarch Elizabeth Jennings, said the filming experience was not quite as moving, despite knowing the show was coming to a close.

“It wasn’t as emotional as I thought because it was usually around 3 or 4 a.m. in the morning, and there was a snowstorm,” Rhys told Variety. “It strips away any emotion or sentimentality when all you want to do is sleep or get warm.”

But watching them back for the first time, Russell said those moments in which the Jennings must part with their loved ones felt like a just way to end their story — though she admitted the finale is one of the only episodes she’s actually seen (“It was okay,” she joked).

“You’re watching these characters, and you want them to sort of pay in some way,” Russell said. “You made them pay in the worst possible way — in the most damaging way — and that’s what’s so good about it. I just think it was kind of pitch-perfect for the show.”

As of Wednesday night, “The Americans” had officially come to an end, however, on the red carpet, some of the cast entertained buzz around a potential spinoff starring Holly Taylor, who plays the Jennings’ daughter — and later Elizabeth’s spy protegé, Paige.

“Something I would definitely like to see is how Paige transitions from working with her mom 24/7 to working on her own,” said Keidrich Sellati, who plays Paige’s younger brother, Henry. “If Henry is introduced into the show, I would like to see how he has his relationship with Stan and see how he grows up without his parents, knowing that they were Russian spies and left him behind.”

Taylor, who has been following the fandom’s call for a Paige spy drama on Twitter, is pleased with fans’ devotion to the show and to her character.

“I’m all for it,” Taylor said. “The way it ends, it kind of just looks like she’s going to become an alcoholic somewhere by herself, so I don’t really know where that takes her, but I’m sure she’ll make a good future for herself.”

But should there be an “Americans” offshoot starring Paige or anyone else, it won’t come from showrunners Weisberg and Joel Fields, who agreed any continuation of the Jennings’ stories past the finale would be unnecessary.

“I think the story’s told — I think we finished it,” Fields said. “We’ll let tonight bring the curtain down.”

More Scene

  • Kate Bosworth'Nona' film premiere, New York,

    Kate Bosworth Helps Launch Campaign for Female Filmmakers

    In her 20-year career in Hollywood, Kate Bosworth has starred in blockbusters like “Superman Returns” as well as indie darlings like 2014’s “Still Alice.” But the actress has always had a desire to get more involved from the ground up. Now, she is partnering with Women In Film and Chloe Wine Collection to launch the [...]

  • Amandla Stenberg and Sofia CarsonVanity Fair

    Oscar Week Kicks Off With Vanity Fair's New Hollywood Party

    The night was definitely still young Tuesday at Vanity Fair’s New Hollywood party in Los Angeles. The magazine kicked off Oscar week with a party — the first of its three-event Campaign Hollywood series — at Ysabel in West Hollywood to celebrate new and emerging talent. Co-hosted by Yalitza Aparicio, Henry Golding and Amandla Stenberg [...]

  • Oscars Ultimate Party Guide

    Oscar's Ultimate Party Guide 2019

    Welcome to Oscar week. It’s the time of year when Hollywood’s film industry celebrates all things movies. But it’s certainly not just the big show everyone is looking forward to. With voting closed, it’s all about the parties now. Who’s doing what and where and when are they doing it are the questions everyone is [...]

  • Yalitza AparicioTeen Vogue Young Hollywood Party,

    'Roma' Star Yalitza Aparicio, 'Central Park Five's' Jharrel Jerome Sound Off on Trump

    Yalitza Aparicio recently reunited with Alfonso Cuarón, who directed her in “Roma,” for a W magazine photo project that featured her standing at various barriers built at the border between Mexico and the United States. The message? “You can make a name for yourself despite the differences,” Aparicio told Variety on Friday at Teen Vogue’s Young [...]

  • Karl LagerfeldChanel Paris-Londres 2007/8 Show, London,

    Legendary Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

    Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion icon – and iconoclast – who outfitted and photographed such stars as Nicole Kidman and Lady Gaga, has died. He was 85. Lagerfeld died in Paris, fashion house Chanel said. Although his health had been failing, he kept working up to his death, issuing instructions regarding Fendi’s fall ready-to-wear collection, which [...]

  • Eric Wareheim, 'The Simpsons' E.P. Matt

    Beefsteak Gathers Comedy Bigwigs for Meat and Mayhem

    The masterminds behind Beefsteak, a debauched tribute to the meaty arts that raises thousands for the Los Angeles Food Bank, switch things up each year so that guests are never bored. Organized by comedy players including Eric Wareheim, “The Simpsons” executive producer Matt Selman, and ABC Studios VP of comedy Cort Cass with Redbird chef Neal [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content