The creators and cast of “Billions” say that the Showtime drama could be more relevant than ever under a Donald Trump administration.
“The show’s always been about ambition, power, abuse of power. What people will do to gain the resources they want,” executive producer Brian Koppelman said at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Monday. “And those feelings are going to be even more important for the next four years, and maybe even longer.”
The drama stars Paul Giamatti as U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades, who squares off against billionaire hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis, in a scorching-earth war for personal domination.
Koppelman added that although “Billions” will not necessarily reference President-elect Donald Trump directly, being set in the intersection of politics and finance, current events will always influence the series in some way.
“We do talk about the fact that these characters feel like there’s some sort of existential threat. Like what was the status quo isn’t anymore,” he said. “While we were writing, the world was shifting and we were aware of it.”
But the show has never been one to shy away from having political views, even throughout Season 1.
“I remember being here last year and being interested in why Americans are so fascinated by real life billionaires on television,” he said, wondering why viewers are so willing to forgive bad behavior of rich people on TV. “We found that really thought-provoking in this area.”
“I think their certainties have been eroded in this second season,” former “Homeland” star Lewis continued. “There’s a fracturing there as the game — as the desire — to win starts to become burdensome, people get taken for granted. I think his (Axelrod’s) wife may be one of them a little bit. But these vulnerabilities and these frailties become more evident.”
As for how Giamatti says his character will change in the upcoming season, well that will be immediately apparent.
“Chuck has different facial hair this year. I think it’s metaphorical and I think it’s symbolic of a changed society,” he joked.