On Music: Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, Getting "American" with Fleetwood Mac

by Armando Gallo October 11, 2017
Actors Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys

hfpa/armando gallo

While we wait for Season 6 of their Golden Globe-nominated series, we look back to our chat with The Americans themselves, Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, about the part music plays in the show - and how the Fleetwood Mac's iconic "Tusk" set the tone for their work.

Keri: You love music! (Keri to Matthew)

Matthew: Yeah, yeah, God you've really caught me off guard.

Keri:  I know because we don't know anything new these days (laughs).

Matthew: No, I know because I haven't downloaded anything since 2011.

Keri: Well, (music) hugely influential. When we shot the pilot, we had this great director, Gavin O'Connor, and we had a few scenes right at the end of the pilot which were these very emotional,  kind of haunting, nighttime scenes and he said:  Well, two things with music. The first thing is in the pilot we have this great Fleetwood Mac song called “Tusk”- he knew ahead of us – so this is what we're going to play! He would play it in like these headphones for us before the big action sequence and he's like this is what I want you to be hearing.  This is what I want the rhythm to be. And it's always incredibly helpful to have that and then so you have a soundtrack sort of in a heartbeat in the scene but then, later on, there's a scene where the stories are sort of coming to have this very emotional moment for the couple and he said: bring a song and we'll play it but really loud as we shoot that scene and so we did.  We got to bring a song and play it really loud.

Matthew:  That's it and you realize how powerful, sort of how potent that is because it's rare a director kind of goes, bring your own music and we'll play it during the scene, do you know what I mean?  I know Johnny Depp he does that with his little earpiece, doesn't he?  He has music that influences the scene.  I think it's a very – it's a huge key to certain emotions that you can tap quickly and easily.