Matthew Rhys Found Ruthless ‘Extrapolations’ Role Depressing to Play: ‘These People Are Everywhere’

“This character stumped me,” Rhys tells TheWrap of his real estate developer character for the Apple TV+ series

Courtesy of Apple TV+

“Extrapolations” star Matthew Rhys said his role as a ruthless real estate developer on Apple TV+’s climate change drama “stumped” him, saying that it was “depressing to play.”

“I think part of any actor’s job is going to justify what it is the character does — this character stumped me and I found it very difficult,” Rhys told TheWrap. “Ultimately, you can see the greed, you can see the opportunistic elements to him that wants to make money, but to see someone who is very aware of what the situation is, and yet still wants to exploit those opportunities, I found depressing to play.”

In the Apple TV+ drama series, Rhys plays Junior, an out-of-touch real estate developer who does the bidding of tech billionaire Nicholas Bilton (Kit Harrington), traveling via boat amid melted ice caps alongside his girlfriend, Hannah (Heather Graham), to scope out a site for a new casino. Even as Junior roams the picturesque landscape inhabited by the remaining creatures who survived the worsening effects of climate change, he still sees the environment as his for the taking.

“We still haven’t quite got it, that the entire globe belongs to us all and therefore, everyone’s action has an effect,” Rhys said. “I enjoyed how [the question of possession] was kind of magnified in this in this moment that everyone’s vying for who has rights to what, but it all belongs to us and we belong to it.”

Though Junior might be conscious of the severity of his actions to some extent, his intense jealousy of Bilton’s level of power drives him to do whatever it takes to achieve an ounce of the status or financial success Bilton possesses. “That’s who he wants to be, and he becomes very annoyed that Bilton has this power over him,” Rhys said.

Rhys didn’t have to look too far to find inspiration for his merciless characters, as he noted that “these people are everywhere in the globe.”

“The more terrifying reality is that there are many, predominantly in oil and fossil fuel, who are all too aware of what’s what is going on and would rather not do anything about it,” Rhys said. “They’re very much out there and they very much need to be uncovered.”

Junior’s blinding greed stands alongside his pop star girlfriend, Hannah, who sits idly and loyally by her boyfriend’s side despite feeling more concern regarding the climate crisis than her other half. “I’m aware, I am watching the news but I don’t do anything about it,” Graham said of her character.

While Graham reveals that a scene of Hannah moving onto a different beau was cut from the first episode of the series, she says she would love to have seen her character get rid of Junior and put on a concert to aid the climate crisis.

“I think … a lot of people, including sometimes myself … know something’s going on and and you care, but you just feel overwhelmed,” Graham told TheWrap. “I do feel like the show is saying, that’s not good enough, you actually have to do something more about it … on a small level and a big level.”

“Extrapolations” is available to stream on Apple TV+.