Paul Giamatti Reveals His One Critique of ‘Billions’

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The Big Picture

  • The finale of Billions took a surprising turn, uniting the once enemies Axelrod and Rhoades against a common foe, resulting in a complex plan to bring him down.
  • Paul Giamatti, who plays Rhoades, found the measured and sweet ending to be a refreshing change from the bloodbath that was expected.
  • Billions fans will be rewarded with a satisfying conclusion, and while the show has ended, there are plans for spinoffs exploring the world of high finance.


Academy Award nominee Paul Giamatti is enjoying the spotlight right now with the release of his latest film, The Holdovers. Before the much-anticipated throwback holiday classic hit theaters, however, he was saying goodbye to his character Chuck Rhoades Jr. and the rest of the cast of Billions. The seventh and final season came to a climactic end in late October, sending off Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis) and company for the final time on a note that was surprisingly sweet for the drama. Collider’s Steve Weintraub spoke to Giamatti recently and the star discussed his reaction to the ending and how everything came together with a huge twist.

Billions, for the most part, followed the frequent duels between the powerful hedge fund manager Axelrod and the United States attorney Rhoades. As Axelrod found more ways to make money moves and amass power in the world of high finance, he frequently attracted the attention of Rhoades, who put his wits to the test trying to bring down the financial wunderkind. The final season flipped the script, however, as the pair united against a common foe – Michael Prince (Corey Stoll), who took over Axe’s role and company in the show following Lewis’s departure in Season 5. Recognizing Prince as a real threat to win the U.S. Presidency, they put into motion a complex plan to leave the so-called “good billionaire” with next to nothing left in assets all in the time it took him to have a conversation with the sitting POTUS.

Giamatti found the more calculated ending ensuring Prince’s downfall and a happy ending for Axelrod, his employees, and Rhoades to be a nice change of pace from what the season was heading toward. Compared to Episode 11, which seemed to dash the hopes of Axe and company, he was expecting the ending would be a “bloodbath” of epic proportions:

“The finale was fascinating to me because I think we all thought it was gonna be this bloodbath of everybody. Then we got this thing that was actually very measured and kind of sweet in some ways at the very end. So, it was almost like the biggest twist in that thing was that it didn’t end up in a huge bloodbath. I thought I was going to take him out, he was going to take me out, everybody was gonna get taken out, but that didn’t happen, which I thought was really cool, actually. “


The ‘Billions’ Finale Was One for the Fans

One thing that Giamatti and Weintraub agreed on was that Billions came to an end in a way that rewarded fans of the series thanks to that final satisfying con. “That’s exactly what it was,” the star said. “I think it was for the fans.”

That’s not to say the final trip to Wall Street was perfect. Weintraub pointed out that his main nitpick with the series was how often characters would meet up to talk, rather than call each other. Giamatti concurred that gathering all parties in one place—something that happened throughout the series—would be far more nightmarish than one could imagine in real life. “Please. Four hours round trip? It takes four hours to get from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn,” he added. “I was all over the place. And in one day, I was doing stuff that was like, ‘Oh, come on! This is impossible. I can’t get to Brooklyn that fast.’ [Laughs] That kind of thing was very funny, and especially my character who was traveling all the time in a way that was just ridiculous.” He further commented on the time span for the show, saying “Ridiculous. The chronology of the thing was kind of kind of hard to follow sometimes for us. I’d be like, ‘How much time has gone by? How did I get here?’ Yeah, there was a lot of that.”

Though the journey is over for Billions, Showtime isn’t ready to leave the world of high finance behind. The show’s seven-season run was a major ratings draw and there are plans to expand things out into an entire universe. As previously reported, four spinoffs are currently in development following the Paramount+ and Showtime merger with Billions co-creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien executive producing each. Two of which, currently under the titles Millions and Trillions, promise to focus on the rising stars in the financial world and explore the uber-wealthy in a soap opera-like fashion, respectively. It’s entirely possible that fans haven’t seen the last of Giamatti’s Rhoades.

Billions is now streaming in its entirety on Paramount+ with Showtime. Check out our guide to the final season here and see Giamatti’s newest film, The Holdovers, in theaters now.

Billions

Release Date
January 1, 2016

Cast
Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Maggie Siff, David Costabile, Condola Rashad, Daniel K. Isaac, Jeffrey DeMunn, Asia Kate Dillon

Main Genre
Drama

Genres
Drama

Rating
TV-MA

Seasons
7

Creator
Brian Koppelman, David Levien, Andrew Ross Sorkin

Watch on Showtime



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