Asia Kate Dillon Tells Us What It’s Like To Be In Bobby Axelrod’s Crosshairs On ‘Billions’

03.15.19 2 weeks ago

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For three seasons, we’ve watched Bobby Axelrod (the investment Golden God) and Chuck Rhoades (the power-thirsty lawman) posture, snarl, and scheme while locked in a gloriously intense battle of financial sector cops and robbers with ample nuance and viciousness. In a sense, it (in addition to the butter-smooth line readings and distinct phraseology coming out of the mouth of impish Axelrod consigliere Mike “Wags” Wagner) has allowed the show to create rooting interests amidst the backdrop of ridonculous wealth and seedy political machinations. Themes that we’re all getting a triple helping of in the real world. But in season four, everything is changing… for now.

Introduced in season two, Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) is the embodiment of the term “does not fuck around.” Direct and hyper-analytical, Taylor climbed the ladder at Axelrod’s company (Axe Capital) and became a force of nature and someone for Axelrod (Axe) to groom… and use. An arrangement that worked for all sides until Axe traded on Mason’s personal relationship with a client (Oscar, as played by Mike Birbiglia), causing Mason to find a door and take a whole lot with them at the end of season three. A move that creates a new rival for Axelrod (Rhoades has own betrayals to contend with, allowing for a detente with Axe) as he and Mason fight for clients and supremacy.
We spoke with Dillon about the fight between Mason and Axe, whether Mason can reclaim their soul while building a rival company, and how the non-binary actor navigates moments where their (also non-binary) character is misgendered for story reasons on the show.

How has Taylor changed coming into this season?

Taylor Mason Capital is up and running and Taylor is facing the challenges of being totally in charge for the first time and as much as they would like to be out of Axe’s line of fire, they certainly are not over the course of season four. I think, from when we met Taylor in season two and we are introduced to them as this seemingly moral and ethical center in this very, you know, unethical world…Taylor is forced to reckon with the ways in which they will or won’t compromise their morals and ethics in order to continue to one-up Axe and to ultimately, you know in their mind, win the game.

Are they going to be able to reset and find a way to get back to the principles that they had to let go of?

Well, I think that’s the ultimate question for season four, actually. Whether or not they’ll reach a point where they’re able to step out of Axe’s line of fire and continue on their own without the sort of cat and mouse game that started to unfold at the end of season three between Taylor and Axe.

What is Taylor looking for in a team as they build the company?

Taylor is looking for the smartest and best people in the industry. You know, whether it is people who are going to be working on the floor, you know the traders and sales, or whether it’s bringing on someone like Sarah Hammond, who is played by Samantha Mathis… who is Taylor’s COO.

The Samantha Mathis character in the first episode of season four seems like she has a very similar relationship with Taylor to the one Taylor had with Wendy at Axe Capital. Is that fair to say? It feels like Taylor needs that kind of figure in their life to be able to ground them.

I think it’s very important for Taylor to have someone who is willing to voice their opinion whether or not they think Taylor is going to like it, but because they know it’s important for Taylor to hear; they need someone who is going to play Devil’s Advocate for them, someone they can bounce ideas off of, and someone who is able to come up with a solution on their own. You know, Sarah has an extensive military background. She’s familiar with the ins and outs of the government and certainly that is something that Taylor is very keen on having. You know someone who has connections and insights on their side.

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