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Morgan Spector Reveals Which ‘The Gilded Age’ Scene He Found to Be ‘Quite Moving’ and ‘Beautiful’  (Exclusive)

HBO’s The Gilded Age is full of poignant moments — and even lead actor Morgan Spector has his own personal favorite.

Set in 1880s America, the period drama — which also stars Carrie Coon, Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon and Louisa Jacobson — follows two families in New York City who clash over their social status. Spector, 43, stars as George Russell, a husband, father and railroad tycoon who has a reputation for being cutthroat when it concerns his business.

In season 2, George has a dramatic showdown with union workers who’ve decided to go on strike amid poor working conditions. In an exclusive interview, Morgan told Us that scene in particular stuck with him long after filming. “Just the scope of the scene was really enormous — we had dozens of guys out there in the sun just sweating like mad,” he explained. “There are really tiny human moments in the scene, and then there are moments that take in the full scope of the yard and the stakes of the conflict.”

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During the confrontation, George orders his armed guards to stand down out of consideration for his workers, which showed a new side to the businessman. “When the workers win — when they get that victory — there’s that build in the music that really lets you know whose side the show is on, and I actually found it quite moving,” he continued. “I was sort of unexpectedly taken by that scene. I thought it was very beautiful.”

Morgan Spector Reveals Which 'The Gilded Age' Scene He Found to Be 'Quite Moving' and ‘Beautiful' 
Barbra Nitke/HBO

That wasn’t the first time Spector was impressed by The Gilded Age — in fact, he initially signed on for the project because he was intrigued by the depth of the series. “I responded intuitively to the material in a way that I wouldn’t necessarily have expected that I would have,” Spector shared, noting that working with creator Julian Fellowes — formerly the showrunner of Downton Abbey — was also a big draw.  “He’s really good at building this overall picture out of the beautiful daily moments of human life, so I was excited to be involved in his world.”

Spector was also drawn to portraying George, who, despite his flaws, the actor appreciates for his positive qualities. “My favorite thing about him is his love for his family,” the Plot Against America alum said, telling Us he admires that the robber baron “always” wins. “He refuses to be on the wrong end of a deal, and if he is, momentarily, he finds a way to be dominant again.”

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Though George’s ferocity makes the role “really fun to play,” Spector acknowledged that the character’s ruthlessness can be polarizing at times. “I wish his cruelty could somehow evolve without fundamentally changing the character,” Morgan admitted. “[But] I don’t think that’s the case.”

Morgan Spector Reveals Which 'The Gilded Age' Scene He Found to Be 'Quite Moving' and ‘Beautiful' 
Sarah Shatz/HBO

With all of its twists and turns, the HBO show — which was renewed for a third season in December 2023 — continues to keep Spector and his costars on their feet. “We have to find the rigidity of these people,” he added, “but we also have to find the freedom to bring warmth and humanity to those characters, so that’s the technical game of it, which makes it fun to do on a daily basis.”

Seasons 1 and 2 of The Gilded Age are available to stream on Max.

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