J.K. Simmons as Howard
“Counterpart” star J.K. Simmons said that James Cromwell’s Season 2 role is a complex and very intellectual character. Starz

“Counterpart” star J.K. Simmons described James Cromwell’s role in Season 2 of the Starz spy thriller.

“It’s a great complex, very intellectual character,” Simmons told Variety of Cromwell’s role at the cable network’s FYC event on Wednesday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “He’s an imposing presence. For the work we were doing together, that fit perfectly together.”

As reported by Deadline earlier this week, Cromwell will portray the major recurring role of Yanek, the enigmatic warden of Echo, which is the underground facility where Howard (Simmons) finds himself fighting for his life.

“I was so excited,” Simmons said of what he felt when he heard about the news of Cromwell joining the series. “As they were talking about casting, I was hoping it would be [Cromwell]. I just finished shooting the first half of the season, basically all of my scenes with him. It was great for a number of reasons because James is great, but also because he carried about 90 percent of the dialogue, so I was kind of just sitting there being a fan.”

Cromwell won an Emmy for his role as Arthur Arden in Season 2 of “American Horror Story.” The 78-year-old actor also got an Oscar nomination for his performance in the 1995 comedy-drama film “Babe.” His recent TV credits include TBS’ “The Detour,” HBO’s “The Young Pope,” and TNT’s “Murder in the First.”

Cromwell joined previously announced Season 2 newcomers Betty Gabriel and Eme Ikwuakor. As reported by Deadline last February, Gabriel will play the series regular role of Naya Temple, an intimidating and magnetic former FBI agent hired by the Office of Interchange to eliminate corruption within the Berlin-based United Nations spy agency. Ikwuakor, meanwhile, will recur as Yorke, a mysterious fixer for the Office of Interchange.

While plot details about the show’s sophomore run are being kept under wraps, series creator Justin Marks previously said that fans will learn more about Office of Interchange’s management department next season.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last month, Marks said that Season 2 will focus in large part on the history and origins of the management. When asked if members of the management on both sides of the wall are the same people, Marks revealed that it’s “something that is potentially being suggested,” but “the answer is a lot more complex.”

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