Interview with Jeff Daniels, Maura Tierney, Bill Camp, David Alvarez, Alex Neustaedter, Julia Mayorga, Mark Pellegrino, Rob Yang (he/him) and showrunner/EP Dan Futterman of “American Rust” on Showtime by Suzanne 8/24/21
This is such a talented cast. We usually only get one question, at most, for these TV Critics Association press panels, so I was very torn about whom to ask a question. Thankfully, I was able to ask questions of Jeff Daniels and Maura Tierney, and then later, David Alvarez, so I was ecstatic. I asked Jeff about the motivations behind what his character, Del, does, in the first episode, to cover up for Grace’s son, who appears to have murdered someone. Then I asked Maura a rather lame question about being in a triangle between him and Mark Pellegrino’s character (Virgil). She gave it a much better answer than it deserved. Then I asked David about his character, who is a little away from what the others are doing, since his character, Isaac, wanders around town a bit. However, he’s quite important to the story. He did the best he could, not wanting to share spoilers.
I hope you can watch this show, which is based on a best-selling novel…it has really good writing and acting. It’s a little dark and slow, so I hope that doesn’t disappoint anyone.
The TCA doesn’t allow us to take photos, recordings, etc. but here’s my article:
: “American Rust” Premieres on SHOWTIME: A Complicated Family Drama and Murder Mystery
On Sunday, September 12th, SHOWTIME is set to premiere its latest compelling drama series, “American Rust.” This intricately woven tale of family, crime, and the American Dream boasts a stellar ensemble cast and promises to captivate viewers from the very first episode.
“American Rust” is a gripping narrative anchored by the exceptional performances of Jeff Daniels, Maura Tierney, Bill Camp, David Alvarez, Alex Neustaedter, Julia Mayorga, Mark Pellegrino, and Rob Yang. Showrunner and executive producer Dan Futterman has masterfully adapted Philipp Meyer’s novel into a riveting television experience.
As the premiere date draws near, the cast and creative team gathered for a panel discussion to offer insights into the series and the unique challenges they faced during production.
A Year of Reflection and Adaptation
During the panel discussion, Dan Futterman shed light on how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the production of “American Rust.” He shared that after a table read, the production had to be shut down temporarily. The yearlong delay provided a unique opportunity to refine the scripts, making them more efficient and practical for shooting under pandemic-related restrictions.
“We did lots of cutting of extraneous scenes,” Futterman explained. “You end up doing more of that in the editing room. But it was helpful to be able to do that up front.”
While the core story remained intact, the pandemic-induced hiatus allowed the team to streamline the narrative, ensuring it would be feasible to shoot given the constraints imposed by the ongoing health crisis.
Jeff Daniels: The Complexity of Del Harris
Jeff Daniels, who plays the central character, Del Harris, discussed the complexities of his role. Del is a character grappling with contradictions, a man of honor who struggles with addiction and often takes on the roles of cop, judge, and jury when under the influence of narcotics.
Daniels emphasized the character’s duality, saying, “A lot of what we’re going for in this is real people, their good and their bad, their strong and their weak. Just like people in real life.”
He also pointed out that Del’s commitment to the rule of law and his desire to do the right thing in a world where that is often challenged by circumstances sets him apart from other characters.
Comparing Del to Atticus Finch
When asked if Del could be compared to Atticus Finch, another iconic character he portrayed in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Daniels drew a parallel between the two but highlighted a crucial difference.
“Only in — much like Jim Comey, the three of them believed in the rule of law, believed in right and wrong, telling the truth. That’s where Del kind of veers off. He kind of fudges that. So that’s kind of where it ends,” Daniels noted.
He went on to emphasize that, despite the challenges Del faces, his commitment to doing the right thing remains a central aspect of his character.
The Challenge of Doing the Right Thing
Continuing the discussion on doing the right thing, Daniels remarked, “I guess you’ve got to fight for that nowadays. I guess you might not — maybe right doesn’t matter anymore. Maybe truth doesn’t matter. Maybe facts don’t matter. All the things that we’ve been living with for the last four or five years.”
Del’s unwavering commitment to the law and decency in a world where these values are often questioned or compromised is a defining characteristic that sets him apart as a character.
Navigating the Perils of Young Adulthood
David Alvarez, Alex Neustaedter, and Julia Mayorga, who play younger characters in “American Rust,” discussed the challenges their characters face as young adults. They emphasized that the series reflects the idea that young people’s lives can quickly take unexpected turns, highlighting the precariousness of youth and the potential long-term consequences of their actions.
Alvarez noted, “Each decision we make throughout the season is really important. It will impact the rest of our story and our journey and who we become as people.”
Mayorga added, “It follows you, and you can’t get rid of it. Maybe the truth comes out. It’s just difficult. I think you have to be mindful, even this young, of what we do.”
The younger cast members explored the theme of mistakes and their enduring impact, emphasizing that in today’s world, actions have consequences, and being mindful of one’s choices is crucial.
Jeff Daniels: Transitioning to Television
Jeff Daniels, known for his illustrious career in theater and film, addressed his transition to television over the past decade. He attributed this shift to the evolution of television and the opportunities it now offers actors.
“The honest answer is Jim Gandolfini made it happen,” Daniels said. He explained how cable networks like SHOWTIME, HBO, and streaming platforms have transformed the landscape of television, providing actors with diverse and challenging roles.
He also emphasized that television has allowed actors to delve deeper into their characters over the course of a series, an opportunity not always available in film.
A Riveting and Timely Drama
“American Rust” is a multifaceted drama that delves into the complexities of family, justice, and the American Dream. With its talented cast, compelling storytelling, and timely themes, the series promises to be a standout addition to SHOWTIME’s lineup.
As viewers prepare to embark on this journey through the rust belt of America, they can expect a gripping narrative that raises profound questions about morality, responsibility, and the pursuit of justice in a world where the lines between right and wrong are often blurred.
“American Rust” premieres on SHOWTIME on Sunday, September 12th, and is set to be a must-watch series for fans of compelling drama and thought-provoking storytelling.
MORE INFO: Teaser
ABOUT THE SHOW
Starring Emmy winner and Tony nominee Jeff Daniels (THE COMEY RULE, The Newsroom, Godless, The Looming Tower) and Emmy nominee Maura Tierney (YOUR HONOR, THE AFFAIR, The Report, Beautiful Boy), on Sunday, September 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The season will consist of nine episodes. Daniels also executive produces the series, reteaming with Oscar nominee Dan Futterman (The Looming Tower, Capote, Foxcatcher), who serves as executive producer, writer and showrunner. The series, currently in production in Pittsburgh, is co-produced with Boat Rocker Studios.
AMERICAN RUST also stars Bill Camp (The Queen’s Gambit), David Alvarez (West Side Story), Alex Neustaedter (Colony), Julia Mayorga (It Is Decidedly So), Mark Pellegrino (Supernatural) and Rob Yang (The Resident). The series is executive produced by Futterman, Daniels, Michael De Luca (Escape From Dannemora), Adam Rapp (The Looming Tower), Paul Martino (Inside Game), Katie O’Connell Marsh (Narcos, Hannibal) for Boat Rocker Studios, and Elisa Ellis.
Based on Philipp Meyer’s celebrated debut novel, AMERICAN RUST is a compelling family drama and a timeless story of wanting a brighter future while being held prisoner by the past. The story of survival and transcendence is told through the eyes of complicated and compromised chief of police Del Harris (Daniels) of a Pennsylvania Rust Belt town full of good people making bad choices. When news of a murder rips through the town, Harris must decide what lengths he is willing to take to protect the son of the woman he loves (Tierney).
Proofread and Edited by Brenda