‘Billions’ Paul Giamatti: Chuck Wants to Do Things for ‘the Right Reasons’
Everything is temporary: The opportunistic alliance between longtime enemies Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti, above), the New York Attorney General, and shady finance mogul Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damian Lewis) collapses in Billions‘ return. (The AG raids a cryptocurrency operation linked to Axe.) But both have other entanglements and machinations afoot.
Giamatti makes the case for a season of chicanery, revenge, and possible redemption.
What’s driving Chuck now?
Paul Giamatti: After allowing himself to be corrupted by Axe, Chuck is trying to get back to doing things for the right, not self-serving, reasons. He gets a job back at Yale [his alma mater] lecturing at the law school — it’s a return to something pure for him.
And it’s there he meets professor Catherine Brant, played by Julianna Margulies.
She’s a famous author of books about all kinds of sexuality, and they begin a romantic relationship. She’s smart, strong and open to Chuck’s sexual interests. [He’s a self-proclaimed masochist.]
How is it having Julianna on set?
She’s a stunningly interesting person and incredibly easy to work with — no muss, no fuss.
What’s in store for Chuck’s estranged wife — and Axe’s confidant — Wendy (Maggie Siff)?
She has a new relationship too, with an artist [Frank Grillo’s Nico Tanner]. It’s a smart twist that it’s more problematic for Axe than Chuck.
Can we assume Chuck isn’t done with his nemesis?
Axe gets involved in banking, and Chuck tries to track him down on that.
Anyone else ruffling Axe’s feathers?
Rival billionaire Mike Prince [Corey Stoll]. He sees his role as being socially responsible, but he’s just as much a badass underneath as Axe. Everybody gets [mixed up] with him, including Chuck.
This is your fifth season as morally compromised Chuck. Has the role affected you?
He is a dark character. Anything in life I can do to make me not be like him, I will do!
Billions, Season 5 Premiere, Sunday, 9/8c, Showtime