Ian Kahn Talks Living Up to the ‘Greatness’ of George Washington in Final Season of ‘Turn: Washington’s Spies’

Ian Kahn as General George Washington on TURN: Washington's Spies
Ian Kahn as General George Washington on TURN: Washington's Spies Antony Platt/AMC


Remembering our forefathers. Us Weekly spoke exclusively with actor Ian Kahn, who plays General George Washington in the AMC drama Turn: Washington’s Spies. The Revolutionary-War series — in its fourth and final season — follows key events in American history, which ultimately led to our independence from British rule.

Check out our interview with Kahn below:

Us: How do you think your character of George Washington has developed from the first to the final season?

IK: He was so heroic and kind of awesome and at every sort of step, he was one step ahead of everybody. He was the smartest guy in the world. Then, as the show continued on in seasons two, three and four, you really get to see the sort of man behind the curtain, and we saw some of his vulnerabilities. One of the most exciting things about season 4 is the relationship between George Washington and his wife Martha. You really see the woman holding the hand of the man in his most vulnerable spots. At the end of the show when you get to the finale, we do sort of step back into a sense of the greatness of the man.

Us: Do you think the show was correct in its historical accuracy?

IK: I think that there are certainly places that people can nitpick. There were some liberties taken amongst the relationships between the spies that people could certainly look at. However, when it comes to overall history, we were largely on point … It’s something that the writers have always been really passionate about. A lot of our fans are huge history buffs, and they’re really paying attention to those things. I would say that we get passing marks.

Ian Kahn as General George Washington on TURN: Washington’s Spies
Ian Kahn as General George Washington on TURN: Washington’s Spies Antony Platt/AMC

Us: Did you take anything of General Washington’s after you finished filming?

IK: I have the sash. I have the cape. I have the hat. I have the wig. I have the costume. It’s amazing, just amazing. This was about as cool a job as I could ever imagine getting in my entire life. I’m incredibly grateful for it.

Us: What was the hardest part about playing Washington? Is it hard as an actor to play someone who was so important in history and such a prominent figure?

IK: Washington’s responsibilities were so great that he had to come to every moment at a higher level of consciousness because everything mattered. I’m really grateful that it seems that the work I was able to put in with my historical adviser and the writers and everyone else, we got it close. I would spend everyday at work asking myself the same question: “What would George Washington be thinking in this spot?” I tried to commune with the man and ask him. I think we would be in pretty good shape if we, as a country, asked ourselves the very same question. I would say that was the most challenging part [of playing Washington], living up to the greatness of the man. The imperfect greatness.

Turn: Washington’s Spies airs Saturdays on AMC at 9 p.m ET.

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