Magazine article Variety

Ensembles of Riches

Magazine article Variety

Ensembles of Riches

Article excerpt

IT'S the kind of abstract problem a high-strung trader at Axe Capital might bring to Maggie Siff's all-knowing performance coach Wendy Rhoades on Showtime's "Billions": How do you define a supporting role at a time when shows, particularly high-end dramas, feature increasingly large ensemble casts? Serialized storylines often bounce the focus around among core characters to keep the pot boiling.

The "Billions" season three episode "Not You, Mr. Dake" is a good example. It's hard to argue that Siff's character is not the lead in this episode: Wendy instigates a morally bankrupt scheme involving her husband, Paul Giamatti's Chuck Rhoades, and Damian Lewis' Bobby Axelrod. Watching Wendy succumb to behavior that shatters her illusion of living by high ethical standards was the most compelling part of the hour.

"Orange Is the New Black," "The Good Fight," "The Americans" and "Stranger Things" are other examples of the spreadthe-wealth approach to storytelling.

Christine Baranski is unquestionably the lead of "Good Fight," but there are episodes in which Delroy Lindo, Audra McDonald and Cush Jumbo do heavy lifting, too. The same goes for Noah Emmerich and Holly Taylor on "The Americans" opposite Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. One seasoned Emmy awards consultant notes that issues of screen time for supporting players has become a point of contention at times for shows when selecting the six episodes that each comedy and drama series nominee submits for the final awards-round of judging.

Siff has been a standout on "Billions" from the start. But the Showtime drama did not break into the Emmy race in its first two seasons, a surprise given that Giamatti and Lewis are both past Emmy winners (Giamatti for "John Adams" in 2008 and Lewis for "Homeland" in 2012).

Siff and her "Billions" co-stars David Costabile and Asia Kate Dillon are seen as strong contenders this year after knockout performances in season three. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.