‘Americans’ co-star on that season premiere scene: ‘It can seem overwhelming’

Earlier this week, I published the bulk of my recent interview with The Americans co-star Alison Wright. Midway through that discussion, though, we spoke briefly about her work in one particularly devastating scene of the show’s fourth season premiere (here’s my review), and I wanted to save that until after the episode aired. So that’s coming up just as soon as random people can’t stop staring at me because I’m so handsome…

One of the interesting things in the season premiere is there”s a lot of you with Philip and not with Clark – he”s not even bothering to put the disguise on anymore. Does the dynamic between you and Matthew feel different when that happens?

Alison Wright: It”s nice to see Matthew more.

Does he carry himself differently, whether during takes or between takes?

Alison Wright: Not so much, but you have to think about the timing of that reveal, because he did it and then immediately came in with this upper punch – “And oh, by the way, I killed your friend at work” – so then she doesn”t even really have time to think about that, because she”s gone down this other road. So it”s kind of clever that he chose to tell her straight after, like, just a few days after where we left them at the end of season 3. Almost like she wasn”t able to even concentrate on that because now there was a bigger problem.

So let”s talk about that scene, because that is very intense. You”re almost shaking throughout it. What were you playing? What”s going through your mind as you”re going through that scene? How did you prepare for it?

Alison Wright: Well, I mean, it”s quite a lot of heavy lifting. And it was a fairly long scene. The things with that scene in particular and more to come, it”s so many things that she”s thinking about, considering the possibility that they”re true. No matter what she thought about her husband and what she may or may not have thought he was or did, she didn”t think he was a killer. I don”t think she ever thought that. So that”s a seismic shift right there. Learning your spouse has been wearing a full body disguise, essentially, not a toupee: a full head of gorgeous hair. What does that mean? And then now you”re telling me you killed somebody? What does that mean? So it”s so many layers for her, it can seem overwhelming.

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at sepinwall@hitfix.com