As famous as the character is, Matthew Rhys is pleased to be putting his own spins on “Perry Mason.” The Emmy winner (for “The Americans”) has the title role in HBO’s current Sunday drama that delves into the pre-lawyer Mason’s roots as a somewhat shabby Depression-era Los Angeles detective working for a veteran defense attorney (fellow Emmy owner John Lithgow). The reboot also has its Della Street and Paul Drake (played by Juliet Rylance and Chris Chalk), but they have their differences, too ... which sits fine with Rhys. “I was compelled,” he says, to watch the original Raymond Burr series, “and then I stopped myself, because I know exactly how my brain works. I’ve done quite a few adaptations of books – and it may sound lazy, but I know that when I read the book, I tend to take things from it that aren’t necessarily in the script.” Thus came Rhys’ decision not to look at Erle Stanley Gardner’s “Perry Mason” novels, and he adds he stayed away from the Burr show so he wouldn’t see “anything I liked and steal it and mimic it, and then, I’d probably be hounded for it. I’m my own worst enemy with mimicry anyway, since it’s something I can’t undo.” Still, Rhys allows that he modeled his Mason largely on a real-life person who reportedly inspired author Gardner: “I found (out about) Earl Rogers, who was a famous defense attorney in L.A. He was the kind of celebrity go-to lawyer who would handle the O.J. (Simpson) cases of the time, and I mainly tried to build a world in my head based on that background.” BY JAY BOBBIN Nov. 8, 1974 Cardiff, Wales Los Angeles Single, but his partner since 2014 has been his fellow “The Americans” star Keri Russell; they have a four-year-old son, Sam, together “The Americans,” “Infinity Train” (voice only), “Death and Nightingales,” “The Bastard Executioner,” “Archer” (voice only), “Under Milk Wood,” “A Child’s Christmas” (voice only), “Death Comes to Pemberley,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Brothers & Sisters,” “Beau Brummell: The Charming Man,” “Columbo,” “The Lost World,” “Metropolis,” “Greenstone,” “Backup” Birthdate: Birthplace: Current residence: Marital status: Other television work includes: “The Report,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “The Post,” “Burnt,” “The Scapegoat,” “Patagoinia,” “The Edge of Love,” “Love and Other Disasters,” “Fakers,” “Deathwatch,” “The Abduction Club,” “Shooters,” “Tabloid,” “Very Annie Mary,” “Peaches,” “The Testimony of Taliesin Jones,” “Sorted,” “Whatever Happened to Harold Smith,” “Titus,” “Heart,” “House of America” “What a difficult question! The movie that I’ve watched the most – and, therefore, I should say it’s my favorite – is ‘The Princess Bride.’ ” “‘Tiger King.’ And it’s Movie work includes: Checking in with Favorite movie: MATTHEW RHYS Favorite television series you’re not on: probably a good thing I’m not on it.” “Johnny Cash.” Favorite music act: Louriza Tronco BY GEORGE DICKIE OF ‘THE ORDER’ ON NETFLIX She’s flawed but I think if I’m able to approach a character understanding that they are flawed just as humans are flawed, I think there might be some like more creative room to bring to the table if I approach it that way rather than playing her onedimensional because then no one will understand her, nobody would want to listen to her. So yeah, I try to approach every character through some empathy. How much fun is your character Gabrielle to play? character, then you can’t play it, correct? Yeah, exactly. I feel like an audience can tell if you don’t like the character you’re playing yourself and I didn’t want to do that with Gabrielle. When I first read for the audition and the (script), I knew that she was definitely flawed but I knew that she was smarter than she was letting people know and that’s what really, really drew me to her. Her wits and her determination are what I really like about her. She definitely is. She’s great. She’s like multidimensional, which I find really fun to play as an actor because the writing for Gabrielle is such a gift. You know, she tends to surprise the audience as much as she surprises herself (laughs) so that’s just a gift for me as an actor. How do you approach the character that can be quite duplicitous at times? Because if you can’t find some common ground with the 3 PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED BY PRESSREADER PressReader.com +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW
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