Mike Fleming Jr. is Deadline’s film editor. This story appeared in the June 19 issue of AwardsLine.
After playing earnest blue-collar characters in 26 feature films, Noah Emmerich took his first real regular TV job with the FX series The Americans, and it has been a career-changing performance. Having played enough lawmen, he initially turned down the role of Stan Beeman, who began as the married, faithful, decorated FBI agent who is turned loose to catch Soviet spies in the Cold War-era 1980s. Convinced to join by pilot director and frequent collaborator Gavin O’Connor, Emmerich has watched his character become anything but boring. Since the pilot, Beeman has leveraged a Soviet embassy worker to become an informant and then began bedding the gorgeous Russian, plus executed a low-level Soviet worker to avenge the death of his partner.
“I’ve had more reaction off of this than anything else I’ve done, which has shocked me,” says Emmerich, who also had a two-episode arc on The Walking Dead. “It’s not even close.”
Although features allow far more prep time, he’s getting used to the pace of TV. “I’d call it pencil versus oil, and TV is sketching,” he says. “I’ve discovered there is a freedom and joy to having to trust your instinct.”