There's a tense moment in Sunday's episode: Nucky demands to know what Eddie knew about Margaret and Owen. Can you explain his answer?
Eddie's not an unintelligent man. He sees things. But he says, "I tend only to you." Is that an answer? Does that mean Margaret is an indirect aspect of Nucky's life? Did he see and then put it out of his mind because it's not for him to comment? Or did he not know anything?
It's a non-answer answer then. Is it further proof of Eddie's unfailing loyalty?
I really believe in Eddie's eyes, Nucky can do no wrong. If you look at it as a European coming to the land of opportunity, where every man can come here, get a job and build himself to a certain level, this is what he did with Nucky. He found solid, regular work. He is getting a salary, but that means nothing to Eddie. He's doing his work because he's totally dedicated to this one person.
In fact, Eddie literally takes a bullet for Nucky. But why suffer in silence?
He would. For that old European stock, especially the Germans, the Austrians, you don't show weakness -- you just don't. It's: "I was shot, but I'm not dead, so therefore I can stand the pain."
Does it take an old-world mentality to serve someone like Nucky?
A strong leader like Nucky Thompson needs to have someone with old world strength and security so that whatever happens, he never looks bad or loses face. Eddie takes care of that. There's a loyalty. Look at Lucky and Lansky -- what are they doing? Cutting out Rothstein. And even though Lansky says to wait, Lucky goes off and does the heroin deal without him.
Can you discuss the filming of your scenes in this episode? Were they scripted or improvised?
The scene was scripted. But it did say where the sounds were: "He screams like a dying animal." So I utilized all of that. But when the cut is being made into the prosthetic, you need a great partner like Steve [Buscemi] to make sure you know when to react and feel the pain. We devised a system -- he mostly devised it -- and it worked really well. I'm not going to tell you how. We had a communication that no one will ever know.