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Billions: Latest Episode is a Hell of a Ride – April 16, 2018

Recap Plus David Costabile Talks About Graveyard Scene with Damian Lewis

by Dana Feldman | Forbes | April 16, 2018

Source: Showtime

Showtime’s hit series Billions continues to keep fans hooked with a third season that shows no signs of slowing down. As show creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien promised in a recent interview, this season things are ramped up even more than last.

The season three premiere was the show’s highest-rated ever, with the March 25 debut up 23% from last year. Billions is the network’s No. 2 drama series behind Homeland, averaging 4.5 million weekly viewers across platforms.

In the latest episode entitled “Hell of a Ride,” Axe (Damian Lewis) entertains the new arena of venture philanthropy, as he simultaneously looks to neutralize old accomplices. Things don’t go as planned when, due to his legal entanglements, he’s booted off the World-Aid Consortium Board of Directors. In this world, $10 million donations don’t go very far. Connerty (Toby Leonard Moore) continues his scrutiny of Chuck (Paul Giamatti), his boss and mentor, as he struggles with his loyalties versus the law, to which he remains faithfully devoted. Chuck attempts to reconcile with his father, though his motives aren’t solely based on love. He’s aware that his father could have an immunity deal if he agrees to cooperate with the opposition.

David Costabile’s Mike “Wags” Wagner pursues what Axe refers to as an “advanced real estate play.” Wags has his eye on the last burial plot in Manhattan. “Only $350,000 and this cool slice of Earth is mine,” Wags says to Axe. Of course, Wags is faced with what would be an insurmountable obstacle to most when he finds out the burial plot is already spoken for. In true Wags fashion, he’s both relentless and hilarious in his pursuit to get it. Wags, as fans know, is used to getting what he wants.

Costabile spoke via phone about playing such an amusing character. “It’s more fun than one should be allowed to have for sure! I get the best lines,” he said. “On many levels, I’m the comic relief, but there’s so much more to it. The writers are brilliant.” 

His favorite scene of the episode, he says, is the last. Costabile says he was looking forward to filming the scene wherein Wags and Axe go to his newly won-over final resting place. “I was very excited for the ending. To me, I found it very touching when I first read the script, when we filmed it and then when I watched it. When I first read it on the page, I knew exactly what that moment was.”

Source: Showtime

The scene was originally written to take place at Manhattan’s Trinity Church, located downtown just blocks from the World Trade Center. When the production wasn’t able to film there, Costabile was disappointed. “This would’ve been even more profound. The original scene was so beautiful to me. Wags would’ve had so many of his friends there and he would’ve wanted to be with them. That was certainly the intent when it was originally written.” Instead, the scene was filmed at a Ukrainian cemetery in New York’s East Village. “It’s a very beautiful cemetery, very old and fascinating,” he said. It was around Halloween and they were heckled by passersby as they filmed. Despite any interruptions, Costabile and Lewis created on-screen magic, yet again. Axe and Wags, he says, are like brothers. “They really have a brotherly love. They found each other and really are the perfect match.”

When asked if he thinks Wags is a good person, Costabile says, “I think he thinks he is. Certainly, when I play him, I think he is. Objectively? That’s one thing the show continues to question and meditate on.” 

Read the rest of the original article at Forbes