It’s been three years since the last series Perry Mason, but Matthew Rhys is finally back as the titular protagonist. However, he is not accepting that the HBO show is back because of him.
He described the journey as “long, drawn out and very interesting,” especially at a time in the industry when even renewed shows are being dropped, but the guard has changed on the possibility of a dreamy renewal.
“Through circumstances, we lost our original writers, we took on some new writers and producers, and they wanted to come at it with a different set of eyes, which was great to a point,” explained the actor. “When you tend to come back for a second season, you’re always asking, ‘What do we do now? Do we do something very different or do we do the same thing because it worked?’ These new eyes didn’t want to reinvent the wheel but they wanted to do what they wanted to do, and that helped us.”
“I was very relieved that they came up with a very interesting element. We saw Mason at the end of season one, very intelligent and happy with himself, with the new suit and his name on the door, and I didn’t want to pick. They said, ‘What if Mason has a crisis of faith and is dealing with some imposter syndrome?’ I thought that was a great place to start.”
Perry Mason, the origin story of the iconic fictional defense lawyer, originally a limited series; however, his return on Monday night from March 6, 2023, changes that. Rhys is no stranger to bringing back a series, but slipping back into the legal eagle’s suit held particular appeal.
“I’ve done two long series before, The Americans and Brothers and Sistersboth of them love me, and when they belong Perry Mason As a limited series, it was lightning in a bottle, and you throw all the grenades and get out,” he said. “However, some things happened with Mason, and I fell in love with this part. I loved who we created, and when you set something up that well, it creates possibilities.”
“On the flip side of that coin, there’s also the risk that the second season won’t be delivered so you pick up a bit of a pound. I was definitely nervous and wary. I won’t be watching it because I don’t watch myself anymore but the shooting was very interesting, and I enjoyed it.”
Filming the second season of the period show in Los Angeles, a sprawling city that, like many others, is constantly changing, was more of a challenge, especially when it came to finding authentic locations.
“Michael Begler and Jack Amiel, our two writers, said they wanted to open up Los Angeles, to really push the scale and scope, and see the 1950s, which was amazing,” he revealed. Rhys. “However, you realize how difficult that is. As we opened up the show more, the green screens came out a lot more often when you had to lock up the 7-11s and so on and what to do you. It looks like old LA.”
“It was difficult,” he continued. “You’re driving further afield to those little untapped pockets to find those buildings and houses that still kind of stand.”
While some familiar faces pop up during the eight-episode run, the show avoids stunt casting. That was something the showrunners and Rhys, who also serves as one of the executive producers, wanted to get the balance right.
Actors added include character actor Paul Raci who received an Oscar nomination for his performance in Metal Sound.
“That was the casting challenge for season two,” Rhys admitted. “How do you bring in the team that can deliver the goods but also, you want to dust off familiar names of people we know? The temptation of stunt casting comes out and pulls viewers away, but it’s I think they just did this beautifully, and I think the group of players they put together was magical.”
So how far does Rhys want to go with it Perry Masonthe character he was already meant to leave behind?
“It’s a million dollar question,” he said. “There is a cliche part of me that thinks to round out and do three that would be the way to bow out.
“If we got that nod, and the writers knew what they wanted to do in the third season, how would they do that? It’s the same as what we have with the first season and now in that, you have to to ask the question, ‘Do you go out on a high, or is there a risk of going third?'”
The actor admits that those behind the show could even kill Mason and go back in the timeline.
“They could totally do that,” Rhys agreed. “One of the hardest things in this business is reinventing the wheel or trying to make an original move that no one has done before. That’s a great idea, and in reimagining, you leave yourself open to broad strokes if you want to. “
Away from Perry MasonThe actor recently had a short but popular turn as a notorious drug smuggler in one of the most talked about films of the year, Cocaine Bear. His wife, Keri Russell, is leading the film. Did he know about the fan frenzy surrounding his cameo?
“I didn’t know,” chuckled Rhys. “We were lucky together that I was lucky. I was in Ireland because Keri was shooting it. I read the script and I asked her if this character was cast at the beginning of the film, and she said she didn’t think so. , Keri asked Elizabeth Banks, the director, if I could do it. That’s how it happened. I was on duty from Dad in Ireland but I thought I could do a day shift, and then I came in and did that.”
Cocaine Bear reunites Rhys and Russell The Americans actress Margo Martindale. Would he think back to that winning show?
“I can’t speak for Keri, but I’m pretty sure she would, and I absolutely would,” the actress confirmed without hesitation. “I didn’t see anything like it, but that story was left in such a conclusive and yet so open way. To leave their children as they did, they could go back and visit them in Moscow, or yes there’s a lot more you could do and continue on any given timeline for them.”
“We’ve all said it was so rich we’d happily pick it up.”