The American Rust cast features Jeff Daniels, Maura Tierney and Bill Camp. This info article contains spoilers for Dan Futterman’s Showtime series. Check out Vague Visages’ Know the Cast section for more streaming guides.
Based on Philipp Meyer’s 2009 novel, American Rust takes place in the fictional town of Buell, Pennsylvania. Police detective Del Harris uses PTSD medication to cope with memories of his Gulf War experiences, and investigates a murder that was potentially committed by the son of his love interest. In the first episode, various members of the focal Rust Belt community are positioned as suspects. Here’s every main performer and character in American Rust.
American Rust Cast: Jeff Daniels as Del Harris
Character Profile: A member of the Buell Police Department. He’s a Gulf War veteran who takes a PTSD “cocktail” (Klonopin, Zoloft, Benzedrine) to cope with emotional trauma. Del pursues a romance with a local woman named Grace Poe, whose son is accused of murdering a former cop.
Daniels’ Resume: Tom Baxter/Gil Shepherd in The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Harry in Dumb and Dumber (1994), Bernard Berkman in The Squid and the Whale (2005), Will McAvoy in The Newsroom (2012-214), James Corey in The Comey Rule (2020)
American Rust Cast: Maura Tierney as Grace Poe
Character Profile: Del’s love interest. She is estranged from her husband, Virgil, and lives in a trailer home with her son, Billy. Grace works at Gelsey Dressmakers.
Tierney’s Resume: Audrey Reede in Liar Liar (1997), Abby Lockhart in ER (1999-2009), Rachel Clement in Insomnia (2002), Helen Solloway in The Affair (2014-19), Karen Barbour in Beautiful Boy (2018)
American Rust Cast: Alex Neustaedter as Billy Poe
Character Profile: Grace’s son who turned down a Division I football scholarship. He hangs out with Isaac English, the brother of his former girlfriend, Lee. Billy receives a six-month probation sentence for beating a local man with a 4×4, and then gets accused of murdering a former cop who belittled him six months prior.
Neustaedter’s Resume: Homer Macauley in Ithaca (2015), Bram Bowman in Colony (2016-18), Young Cal in Walking Out (2017), Miles Hill in A-X-L (2018), Eddie Vayle in Things Heard & Seen (2021)
American Rust Cast: Mark Pellegrino as Virgil Poe
Character Profile: Grace’s husband and Billy’s father. He intimidates people who are interested in buying his property. Virgil gets in the way of Del’s romantic relationship with Grace.
Pellegrino’s Resume: Joe in Mulholland Drive (2001), Dick Hickock in Capote (2005), Jacob in Lost (2009-10), Lucifer/Nick in Supernatural (2009-2020), Bill Standall in 13 Reasons Why (2017-20)
American Rust Cast: Bill Camp as Henry English
Character Profile: The father of Billy’s best friend, Isaac, whose wife allegedly committed suicide four years prior. He’s in poor physical health and gets taken care of by his son. Henry is proud of his daughter, Lee, for attending Yale and moving to New York City with her husband.
Camp’s Resume: Radburn in 12 Years a Slave (2013), Dennis Box in The Night Of (2016), Detective Garrity in Joker (2019), Howard Salomon in The Outsider (2020), Mr. Shaibel in The Queen’s Gambit (2020)
American Rust Cast: David Alvarez as Isaac English
Character Profile: Henry’s son who has a complicated friendship with Billy. He tries to kill himself by submerging into frozen water. Isaac worries about his future when his sister leaves town for good.
Alvarez’s Resume: Rhodes in The Stamp Collector (2021), Bernardo Vasquez in West Side Story (2021)
American Rust Cast: Julia Mayorga as Lee English
Character Profile: Henry’s daughter. She graduated from Yale University and moved to New York City after getting married. Julia receives a warning from her ex-boyfriend, Billy, about her brother Isaac’s declining mental health.
Mayorga’s Resume: TV Debut in American Rust
American Rust Cast: Rob Yang as Steve Park
Character Profile: Del’s colleague. He’s a committed police officer but doesn’t connect with locals due to his procedural manner of speech. Steve is the target of racist remarks made by a colleague who dies in the first episode.
Yang’s Resume: Peter in Bored to Death (2010), Don Seong in The Americans (2016), Left/Youngsu in Living with Yourself (2019), Lawrence Yee in Succession (2018-19), Logan Kim in The Resident (2019-)
The American Rust cast also includes Jim True-Frost (The Wire, Treme), Dallas Roberts (3:10 to Yuma, Dallas Buyers Club), Clea Lewis (Ice Age: The Meltdown, The Americans), Zenzi Williams (Daredevil, Black Panther) and Jamie Neumann (The Deuce, Down with the King).
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.