Of all the new characters in The Americans, I have to say that Oleg is the most interesting (sorry Kate). I didn’t like him at first, but he’s proven lately that he is more than just a man with lots of connections. Costa Ronin’s character is improving, evolving after every episode. He was painted as a man who just came to America to have a foreign posting, but as the weeks go by, we now see him as someone to be feared (just ask Stan Beeman).
Enough about the character and let’s talk about the actor, Costa Ronin. Ronin was born and raised in Russia. Aside from being an actor, he’s also a cinematographer for projects like The Vanya Show and The Sine Rule.
If you want to know what he thinks about The Americans, his character Oleg, and his acting process, read on for some of his interview answers.
The Americans had a very successful first season. You are just coming in for the second, how do you feel about it?
COSTA RONIN: Everybody knew the world of their own characters, the journey of their own characters and how they got to that point in time, whereas my character had lived as well, but his life wasn’t shown. So, when he came in, he had to have lived throughout the first season, and for the past 28-30 years, and then just come to [the] screen as a complete, whole character. Also, you go into a show and you don’t know what it’s going to be like [or] what the crew and cast are going to be like and whether or not you’re going to be accepted and have good relationships. Luckily, the crew and the cast on the show are just amazing.
What can you say about your character Oleg Burov?
COSTA RONIN: His father is the minister of transport back in Russia, in Moscow, where he grew up. He has a very influential family, the upper class of the Soviet society. The rules kind of never really applied to him and his family. It was all about connections, and who you know, and about being at the right place at the right time. He wanted to make something with his life, he wanted to make a difference. He wanted to prove to the world and to his father, with whom he has a very difficult relationship, that he can stand on his own feet [and that] he can do things on his own, as a man and as a human being. So, he comes in and he’s trying to build relationships with Keri [Russell] and Nina [Annet Mahendru’s character] and inter-office politics come into play, as well as the actual setting of being in the game of espionage. It’s his journey [of] getting to learn about the business, getting to learn about the psychology of this game, the psychology of people he’s working with. He’s got a massive, massive journey throughout the season.
Can you give us any spoilers?
COSTA RONIN: No, no, no spoilers. I can tell you that my character has a great arch all through the season, from where he starts in the beginning to where he goes. It’s going to be interesting how the audience sees it [and how they] respond to the journey.
Can you tell us a funny story from the set?
COSTA RONIN: I took my grandma to set [and] that was a great experience because [she] is so removed from the entertainment industry. When [she] was there, she met Lev Gorn, who [plays] Arkady, and he was already in his costume, in his suit and tie and looking very important and influential. Later she goes to me, “Why can’t you come to work looking like Lev in a suit and tie? Why do you have to work wearing jeans and a T-shirt?” From when I was a kid, my grandma always [imagined] me going to work in a suit with a briefcase, and now that I go to work wearing jeans and a T-shirt, I don’t think it sits very well with her. After seeing Lev, she couldn’t stop talking about him and coming to work wearing a suit. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was a costume.