TV’s kinkiest married couple, Billions’ Maggie Siff and Paul Giamatti, gives us the reel-/real-life down and dirty on sex, $$, power, and staying on top in Tinseltown.
As scenes from a marriage go, it’s hard to top the opening moments of Billions for sheer eye-popping intensity. We don’t know it at first, but the man bound and gagged on the floor in the Showtime series premiere is actually wedded to the leather-bound dominatrix snuffing out a cigarette on his chest. The relationship only heats up from there.
Paul Giamatti, 49, plays the guy with the burn hole, who also happens to be United States Attorney Chuck Rhoades. His wife, Wendy, portrayed in thigh-high footwear by Maggie Siff, 42, is more than just his partner in blowing off steam. She’s the in-house shrink and performance coach at Axe Capital, a massive hedge fund that pays her eight times more than her husband makes. Needless to say, Chuck cannot wait to expose Axe and its rakish billionaire CEO, played by Damian Lewis, as corrupt.
What a relief that both Giamatti (Sideways, Downton Abbey) and Bryn Mawr graduate Siff (Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men) are vastly more likeable in person than their deliciously despicable characters. The actors recently sat down with Philadelphia Style to talk about the show and the juicy themes it evokes: money, power, sex, greed, and, these days, how to dominate the not-so-small screen in Hollywood.
Billions is being acclaimed as one of the best new shows on television, but Chuck and Wendy aren’t exactly easy to take. How do you explain their attraction?
In last season’s finale, Chuck breaks into Wendy’s computer, visits another dominatrix behind her back, and accuses Wendy of being an immoral criminal. Where are things when Billions returns in January?
Money is practically its own character on Billions—the $60 million beach house, the live-in chefs, the private helicopters. How has inhabiting this world altered your view of the 0.0001 percent?
At least tell us you enjoyed driving Wendy’s Christmas bonus—the Maserati GranTurismo Sport Coupe, which retails for around $132,000.
We’ve talked about success, but what are the worst jobs you’ve ever had?
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Okay, finally, what really happens during a sex scene?
The full interview can be read here.
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