Interview With Jack Huston
There was a lot working against Richard in this final job. Can you elaborate on his feelings in those tense moments?
His heart is just not in it any more. I think the one thing Richard had going for him was his utter confidence in his ability to kill. He was close to being perfect at it. The moment he swore off killing was the moment he lost confidence in himself as a killer.
I always took it as he knew what was going to happen. When he took the job, he said he would do anything. That's why he's sending Tommy away, that's why he says goodbye to Julia and kisses her. When he goes up there, his hand is shaking; his heart is not in it. Something was bound to go wrong. When he shoots Maybelle, I think that alone would have been cause to kill himself, whether or not he had been shot.
Is that why he crawled under the boardwalk rather than seek help?
It's sweet—he goes to the boardwalk because that's where he spent his first night with Julia. And then he went to paradise, and his paradise is the home of his family. He got to fall in love, have someone love him back, have a child—adopted or not. He actually had a family, something he never thought he'd have. The way tragedy works, as soon as he got all this, you sort of knew that was going to be it. And Richard, with such torment and conflict, is such a tragic character.
How and when did you learn Harrow wasn't going to make it?
I found out in the last episode. Terry is very good—he didn't write it in the script, so no one actually knew. He kept it very hush-hush, very quiet. He left the script where Richard walks to the house, before the very last scene. When he told me, I had already been thinking: that's got to happen. He got everything he wanted and that's why he had to die.
What was it like to film your final scene?
It's always tough because the people you're so used to seeing have become your extended family. But it's the nature of the beast in a show like this. There's not an episode you don't read thinking, "Oh God, am I going to kick the bucket in this one?" I was only meant to do three episodes, and managed to last four years. It's been an experience unlike any I'll ever have, I think. And [director] Tim Van Patten is an artist—he paints such amazing picture. I love that Daughter Maitland is singing, and then the singing stops and he's on the train. The silence is such a bold choice.
After the massacre at the Artemis Club, Harrow seemed to think of himself as a monster. Why?
He was lost, just lost. I think he had given up love, had given up this boy; he had given up. He saw some himself as nothing, as a monster. And he didn't like what he did at the Artemis Club. You see it when he is speaking to Paul Sagorsky (in Episode 406): "I killed all those people." And Paul says, "You saved the kid." He did save him, but Richard's never been entirely happy. He's just drifting around. One day, he pulls the trigger and it's one time too many and he says that's it, I'm done.
Had he not been tracked down by Carl Billings, do you think Harrow would have been content to stay in Wisconsin?
I think he would still be lost. I don't think he would have been happy there. He was trying to put his life back, but he wouldn't have stayed. For a while maybe, but then he would have to go back on the road again.
Is it Emma asking Richard to call himself to account that prompts his return to Atlantic City and Julia and Tommy?
I think she says that and he's still very lost. He's been trying to find his way back, but it's pure coincidence that he bumps into Paul at the Veterans Hospital. All he wanted was to be with them—that never changed—but he was giving them distance because, as always, Richard never felt he deserved anything. He was always in disbelief at any possibility that someone could care for him, even just as a friend. It took someone else to give him a push, to say, "Come back."
Do you have any insight into the short domestic life he got to enjoy with Julia and Tommy?
The closest you come is the train station. But I don't think you needed to see more than that. They were a family, as close as you could get.
His goodbyes are especially heartfelt.
It always seemed to me when he was saying goodbye, he was putting on a strong face -- or a strong half-face, I should say. I think it was inevitable that this was it.
For the first time, Richard initiates a kiss with Julia.
That kiss says, "I love you." That kiss was the confidence of a man kissing his wife goodbye like a real man, a human being and not the half-faced monster who never thought he'd get a kiss. I thought it was very sweet that he stepped forward.
How should we mourn Richard?
People should not take it badly. This had to happen. And he'll always be loved -- that's the most important thing.