Earning his first two Golden Globe nominations in 2017 and 2019 for his turn in FX spy drama The Americans, actor Matthew Rhys returns to contention this month with HBO’s Perry Mason redux.
For Rhys, this morning’s nom felt like a validation of the efforts of the production team, as well as of the risk he took, when he stepped into the shoes of an already iconic character.
“It’s always great to be nominated for something you really believe in. There was, I think, a mild hint of apprehension…because you’re reimagining something that was firmly established, in the hearts and minds of especially America, but worldwide,” the actor told Deadline today. “The madness of this business is, you throw so many balls in the air, hoping that they align as planets, and it works. So, you’re relieved, in a way, that it worked.”
Developed and written by Rolin Jones and Ron Fitzgerald, the HBO series picks up with the titular defense attorney in ’30s Los Angeles, as he takes on a case that will change his life forever.
While the show was renewed for a second season in July of last year, Rhys has yet to see a script for it. “The writers are behind closed doors, teasing us with things. But I would assume, unless they take a drastic turn, that now that Perry’s taken the Bar [exam], we’ll see him as the fully-fledged lawyer,” Rhys said. “I have no idea what direction they’re going to take it in, [but] I think they’re hell-bent on throwing curveballs.”
Likewise in the early stages of development is Wyrd, a series created by Sheldon Turner, based on the graphic novels of Curt Pires and Antonio Fuso, which brings Rhys back to FX. Executive producing the series, the actor will also star as Wyrd, an extraterrestrial sent to earth to study humanity, who navigates the challenge of assimilation as the “ultimate immigrant.”
“There’s no script yet, but the basis of the comic book, I love, especially in this time of immigration, as it were,” Rhys said. “I’m excited by [Turner’s] writing and what he’s going to bring to it.”
Throughout the course of his screen career, Rhys has come not just to act and produce, but also to direct, most recently on series like The Americans and Brothers & Sisters. At this point, the hope is that he’ll be able to get back behind the camera sometime soon. “I know for a fact that Mason is too big of a show. That would be kind of overwhelming for me, especially being in it,” the actor admitted. “But with Wyrd, possibly, in the kind of small eps, like I did with The Americans, I would love to.”
At the 78th Golden Globe Awards, Rhys will feature once again in the category of Best Performance By an Actor in a Television Series – Drama, contending against Jason Bateman (Ozark), Josh O’Connor (The Crown), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) and Al Pacino (Hunters). His nomination was the sole recognition for Perry Mason today.
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