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by Jason Guerrasio
November 16, 2012 10:42 AM
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Jack Huston on Playing 'Boardwalk Empire' Masked Fan Favorite Richard Harrow and Making Peace With the Possibility of Getting Killed Off

What are the challenges of that as an actor?

I tell people it's like life. You only get to think about the here and now, and that's nice. We also don't preempt something that hasn't happened yet, which sometimes actors tend to do. If you were on episode three but you know what happens on episode seven maybe you'd be leaning to play the scene a certain way, but the way this is you just play the way it's written. So I think it gives us a bit more truth, more honesty.

The preparation for Richard, has that changed for you since season one?

It's funny, Richard is so within me now that it's a quick preparation. I pop some gauze in my mouth and I put on the mask and I instantly transform. I walk around the set clucking and kicking and making strange movements, so it's strange for those who don't know me, but apart from that it's so easy to completely immerse myself and lose myself in the character when I'm on set. It's unlike anything I've ever done and will probably never do anything like it again.

"It's unlike anything I've ever done."
Are there traits of Richard that are hard to kick when you're done with a season?

Emotionally you get quite attached. When you have a tough day on set, or you're doing something that's emotionally draining and you take that home, you go through moods for a bit. Not in a bad way, you just can't help but be affected by it.

My girlfriend tells me if I'm doing a movie I'm a roller coaster of emotions all the time, but on "Boardwalk," because I've done it for so long and I'm so in tune with the character, she says I'm pretty happy most of the time. For a movie she's like, "Oh, God, I'm dealing with a maniac!" Wth the show it's like a normal job.

It's a normal job where at any moment your character could be killed.

Yeah. That can be rough. I've said you can die at any moment on this show. But I think that's the best thing about it. Your comfort level, you can never get completely settled in it. And by the way, if they killed me I would respect it and love it just as much.

They make difficult decisions for the good of the entire show rather than thinking individually, which is the best way you can write something or be a part of something like this. So if I get killed, I get killed. That's the way the cookie crumbles and I've loved every minute doing it.

'Not Fade Away' Paramount Vantage

You have David Chase's "Not Fade Away" coming up, can you compare and contrast the styles of Chase and Terence Winter?

They are completely different but you can see why they work so well together. With Terence, he's my producer and David was my director so it's tough to say because with David we were working together every day from ground up. But as Terry will say, David was his mentor and someone who he will forever look up to, so to be able to work with both of these men has been amazing.

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3 Comments

  • dave james | April 2, 2013 10:25 AMReply

    What a great role, so quiet and understated. OK, he's a vicious killer (the scalping !) but the shots in Season 2 when he was making up his idealised family scrapbook were heartbreaking. Not since Bubbles in The Wire have I felt about a character in this way...you really WANT him to find some happiness.

  • CM | November 19, 2012 7:45 PMReply

    Give this man an Emmy, already! Richard Harrow is one of the best television characters of all time, thanks in LARGE part to Jack's brilliant portrayal.

  • The Harrowin' Addict | November 16, 2012 4:37 PMReply

    Thank you for this wonderful interview with my favorite actor! The moment I first saw Richard Harrow during the first season of BE, I was mesmerized. His talent continues to blow me away, and I am thrilled to see his career take off as it has. (And wishing for his speedy recovery - ouch!!!)