Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.
In this week’s episode, Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, talks with “The Americans” stars Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell about what’s in store for the acclaimed series’ final season. And in the second half of the podcast, “Trust” stars Donald Sutherland and Hilary Swank and director Danny Boyle discuss why they wanted to tackle the story of the Getty kidnapping.
“Everyone dies,” jokes Rhys about “The Americans” finale. “Knowing that it’s coming to an end hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”
While they won’t reveal any specifics about the Jennings’ fate, Russell reveals, “We just read the end, and I have to say it’s incredibly satisfying.”
Agrees Rhys, “I thought it would be difficult for them to tie everything up in one neat parcel [but] I don’t personally believe any real stone was left unturned.”
The final season opener, which is set in the late ’80s, finds the couple at odds with each other — distanced by Philip’s decision to leave the family business.
“There’s a thawing in the Cold War, where there’s this freezing between Philip and Elizabeth,” says Rhys. “That thawing affects directly their relationship.”
What further complicates their relationship is that Paige (Holly Taylor) is even more engaged in the family business, training as a spy, with each of them on opposite sides.
“I wonder if Elizabeth even questions if Paige is right for this,” says Russell.
In the second half of the podcast, the “Trust” trio discusses the challenges of telling the story of the Getty kidnapping, where J. Paul Getty wouldn’t pay the ransom for his grandson.
“It’s a paradox that you want to investigate,” says Boyle. “There’s something Shakespearean about the family.”
It’s a reunion of sorts for Swank and Sutherland, who worked together years ago on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
“You hope that you step up,” says Swank. “You’ve got to bring your A-game to play in this match.”
Boyle was excited to bring “cinematic qualities” to the small screen and notes that being on FX allowed for that effortlessly.
“FX was bold and supportive. That’s the confidence of television at the moment, whereas cinema lacks confidence at the moment,” Boyle says.
Adds Sutherland, “It’s a delicious opportunity as a viewer.”
But those bold choices still had to be anchored in reality, says Boyle.
“Your touchstones are always truthfulness,” he says. “You’re not trying to create scandal just for effect. You’re trying to explore truthfully what you think might have happened in the gray areas.”
You can listen to this week’s podcast here: