Homeland’s Costa Ronin on the inner workings of Yevgeny Gromov

Homeland

Sunday’s episode of Homeland proved that Carrie couldn’t completely trust Yevgeny Gromov. But what you can trust is that Costa Ronin continues to be fantastic as the GRU officer who once made Carrie’s life a living hell and then became the closest thing she had to an ally. In his second season on the Showtime drama, he is always keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

That’s something that isn’t a surprise if you’ve seen any of his previous work. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Costa since his stellar performance as Oleg Burov on FX’s The Americans, and he’s not only an incredible actor, but someone who’s incredibly thoughtful when it comes to character development and adding in those last few details that make a role that much better than what’s on the page.

We connected for another conversation to discuss his thoughts on Yevgeny, how he has enjoyed his two seasons on Homeland, and why he doesn’t compare his character here to his role on The Americans.

And if you want even more insight behind the scenes, check out Costa’s Instagram every Sunday after each episode, where he talks directly with fans and answers their questions about the latest plot twists. It’s fantastic and is something else unique and special that he’s brought to the Homeland universe.

Brittany Frederick: There’s a natural instinct in some viewers to compare Yevgeny to Oleg Burov. Where do you think that comes from?

Costa Ronin: I think what threw people off a little bit was because I was wearing the beard on both [shows]. I was doing the last season of The Americans and my first season of Homeland at the same time, shooting concurrently. So they couldn’t adjust the hairstyle, they couldn’t adjust the beard.

Whatever my face was like on The Americans, that’s what it had to be on Homeland. They could change the hairstyle but not the haircut because I was already established on The Americans more than I had on Homeland. So that’s what contributes to the confusion for the audience.

BF: Do you see any similarities between Yevgeny and Oleg from your perspective? Or do you see them as completely different characters?

CR: The characters are different. They come from different generations, they come from different ways of life, different walks of life, and their perception of the world is very different. The way I work is I really get to the bottom of how the character thinks. I kind of look at it as an onion. You take all those layers off, find the core and then figure out how the character thinks, and then you put those layers back on. And that’s what I had to do with Yevgeny as well.

The only thing they had in common was that they both worked for the the Russian secret service. And they even worked in different departments; Oleg was a KGB officer and Yevgeny was GRU. It was incredibly hard to get in that department of the service, and it’s incredibly hard to survive at that department of service. So no, I would not say for a second that they are the same character or even similar.

Homeland
(L-R): Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison and Costa Ronin as Yevgeny in HOMELAND, “In Full Flight”. Photo Credit: Sifeddine Elamine/SHOWTIME.

BF: What has the experience of working on Homeland the last two seasons been like for you?

CR: It’s [wonderful] to be able to watch these guys and learn from them every single day. Not just the actors – our directors, our writers, our producers, our cinematographers. Giorgio Scali and David Klein, outstanding cinematographers. You can freeze-frame every frame of the show and put it up on a wall. And I learned from every single one of those guys.

What it’s been like? In season 7, my work was alone. I had scenes with Claire [Danes] and Mandy Patinkin, but mostly my storyline was alone. This year, most of my scenes are with Claire. Working with her is an absolute pleasure, because she’s so genuine and so giving. It’s beautiful to be able to work with somebody where you can lose yourself in a moment that’s not there at the time. It’s a very special point of view.

BF: You’ve done two very great, very intense drama series back-to-back. So with Homeland airing its final episodes now, should we find you a good sitcom for your next role?

CR: I would love to. Two years ago I did Splitting Up Together, and that was a lot of fun. I’d been looking for a comedy for a long time, but I didn’t want to do a slapstick comedy. That’s not something that I find interesting.

When we found Splitting Up Together, that was perfect, because it’s very high-brow, very intelligent humor, and Jenna Fischer is in it. Everybody else is just terrific. Oliver Hudson is in it. He’s a really, really smart and intelligent actor, and I got to play with him for a few episodes, so that was really, really cool.

Homeland airs Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

Article content is (c)2020 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr.

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