Magazine article Variety

TV Stars by Day

Magazine article Variety

TV Stars by Day

Article excerpt

WITH MORE CONTENT comes more opportunity and for some actors a busier schedule than ever.

Lead actor nominees Matthew Rhys ("The Americans") and Riz Ahmed ("The Night Of") also scored guest actor Emmy nominations for roles in HBO's "Girls" this Emmy season.

Nominated in the limited series category, Ahmed describes himself as a workaholic who prefers to keep busy. That helps explain his parts in multiple projects released in 2016, including "The OA," "Jason Bourne" and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

"If I'm not shooting something I will be writing a script or recording music," he says. "I love to be in the thick of the creative process. It's addictive."

Sterling K. Brown, last year's supporting actor in a limited series winner for FX's "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story," has also stayed busy. He's nominated for lead actor in a drama series for NBC's "This Is Us," and he also has the movie "Marshall," about Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, in theaters in October. Brown filmed roles in three films on his recent hiatus from the NBC hit: "Marvel's Black Panther," alien-horror franchise sequel "The Predator" and futuristic thriller "Hotel Artemis."

"I've spent so much of my career working intermittently, being busy and then with large swaths of time off that it became the norm," says Brown. "And now, over the past couple of years, there's been a new norm and I'm adjusting."

Brown says he works with his wife and two children to make sure everyone gets the time they need.

"I like working. I think being on set is one of my favorite places in the world," he says. "The work of acting in and of itself is something that is infinitely enjoyable."

Getting accustomed to the publicity, promotion and news media efforts on behalf of those projects is a newer element of his work life, though.

"The totality of it accumulates. It's nice to be in a position where people want to speak to me and hear about what I have to say. But right now I'm taking a walk to the grocery story so I can get in a little exercise and give my son something to occupy his brain."

Sometimes release schedules make actors appear to be especially busy, as well. Ahmed says there was decent spacing between most of his 2016 projects - with a few exceptions.

"It was just 'Bourne' and 'Rogue One' which were simultaneous, so I was grateful Lucasfilm gave me time off to go and shoot that in the middle of 'Rogue One,'" he says. "It was more the promo and release that got stacked up on each other - that was more intense than the shooting!"

Geoffrey Rush, nominated for lead actor in a limited series for playing Albert Einstein in National Geographic's "Genius," says his seemingly busy schedule "could be that it's smoke and mirrors because between projects I always try to have appropriate down time to be home."

Rush filmed the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie in 2015 and it just happened to get released as "Genius" was airing on TV But that's not to say he hasn't been busy. His schedule almost did not allow him to star in "Genius" even though the part appealed to him.

"I have to go by some kind of gut feeling and also, 'Am I the right kind of actor for this?' It's a combination of things with who else is on the team and how's the script looking," Rush says of picking roles. "But when you're a dyed-in-the-wool character actor in your 60s and they say, 'We want you to be the older Albert Einstein,' it was pretty inevitable I would say yes, but at first I had a commitment. …

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