Adding to a résumé that includes TV comedies The Comeback, Trophy Wife, Childrens Hospital and Suburgatory, the Swedish-Canadian actress, 38, is back in the thick of drama, power, sex and money Sunday nights on season two of Showtime’s Billions. She plays Lara Axelrod, the wife of hedge-fund titan Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis). The couple is trying to stay one step ahead of U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), who is determined to bring them down.
Talk about Bobby and Lara’s relationship. They grew up in blue-collar families, so they come from the same background. I think that they get a little turned on, a little titillated, by this power, and it becomes the foreplay in their relationship.
Are you like Lara in any way? I would take a bullet for my family. If anyone messes with my family, I think I can get just as fierce as Lara does. But the way I normally deal with people, I’m more of a kill-them-with-kindness person.
Has starring in Billions taught you anything about high finance? I’m not really interested. I’ve learned what the audience has learned. I don’t think I’ll ever put money in stocks. I don’t think I’ll start that gamble because I think people get addicted and it’s hard to get out of.
Does being blond affect your ability to get roles?
I like to believe that we have come a little bit further than that. I am happy to change my hair color if that’s what is needed to make a role credible or real. It’s so silly to me but, of course, I’m a chameleon; I’m here for my craft, so whatever it takes. Has Shirley MacLaine retired? The last thing I remember seeing her in was Downton Abbey. —Ned M., Provo, Utah A: Not at all! MacLaine, 82, appeared on TV’s Glee (as socialite June Dolloway) and has worked on several films since wrapping her role as Martha Levinson on Downton Abbey. In the upcoming The
Last Word, in theaters March
3, she stars as a retired businesswoman who writes her own obituary to control what it says. MacLaine follows that with The Little Mermaid, a live-action version of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, due in theaters sometime later this year.
My cousin and I have a bet. She says Wyatt Russell is Kate Hudson’s brother. I say Kate’s brother is Oliver Hudson. Who’s right? —Diedre J., Lubbock, Texas A: You both are. Kate, 37, shares father Bill Hudson and mother Goldie Hawn with older brother Oliver, 40 ( Scream Queens and Nashville). Wyatt, 30, is Kate’s younger half brother, the son of Hawn and Kurt Russell. Wyatt isn’t as well-known as his acting siblings because he played professional hockey before retiring due to injuries and switching to acting. Wyatt can be seen in Table 19, a comedy about a bunch of misfits at a wedding in theaters March 3.
Wyatt Russell (left) and Oliver Hudson