Behind the Scenes
Elizabeth Deane, Executive Producer & WriterPeter Jones, DirectorJill Reurs, Script SupervisorSimon Russell Beale, ActorWigsCostumesResearch & Props
Simon Russell Beale, Actor
Simon Russell Beale

A preeminent English stage actor, Beale was made up to look like John Adams over seven decades of his life.

It's the most extraordinary story when you think about it.  They were making up a country.
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Video Interview (1:11) QuickTime Video

Simon Russell Beale:

No, it's -- yeah, it is big stuff and yes it's very simple things like you move differently if you're wearing heeled shoes and you suddenly realize how hot they must have been half the time. Very, very simple things like if they were wearing so many clothes. There was a formality and there was....

Another thing about John was that he -- I called him John -- Mr. Adams, was that he was so unbelievably well-educated and well-read and again, not only were these men improvising a nation, but they were improvising a nation with some of the most educated, elegant thinkers on the continent, and that is thrilling. They took it -- they took that part of their life so seriously and they knew their Roman history and they knew their Greek history and it was -- I find that very moving. If you want to talk about how important or what fun history is, look at what they did. Look at the way they looked back to ancient history and decided that's how they were going to base the constitution. I think that's very, very moving.

Behind the Scenes John & Abigail Adams American Experience PBS