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Wingman Wednesday

Karen Strassman

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Photo By: Paul Smith

There was a time when Karen Strassman didn’t think she was good enough to be an actress. Thankfully she found her on-screen confidence and we, the audience, are better for it. The versatile performer and voice talent has enhanced the viewing experience of shows like “Silicon Valley,” “Weeds,” and most recently, “Preacher,” bringing dimension to her characters and helping to flesh out the fictional worlds they inhabit.

We recently sat down with Strassman to discuss the wild reality of “Preacher,” blending into a sea of over-the-top characters, and how her career in voice work started as a happy accident.

TrunkSpace: You recently appeared on AMC’s “explosive” new season of “Preacher.” It’s not every show that you can watch an undead cowboy, Hitler and the Devil all in the same episode. What was it like stepping on set with such a unique cast of characters?
Strassman: Working on “Preacher” was delightful and exhilarating. No matter how crazy and “out there” the world of this show might be, and how “charactery” most characters are, it’s done so well that it still feels so deeply real, human, and actually strangely grounded within its own wild reality. As I watched the series, I just completely bought the whole world and everyone’s humanity within it. I got truly involved in the lives of all the characters, finding myself really caring about almost all of them. As I was preparing for my episodes, it was exciting to create a character that was really fun, quirky, and out there, but also wanted her to feel as real and believable as all the other characters on the show. That’s such fun stuff for an actor.

TrunkSpace: Were you a fan of the show and/or comic book before becoming a part of what many consider, one of the riskiest and original shows in the television realm?
Strassman: I had never watched the show before, and when I got the audition, I started binge-watching it and just couldn’t stop. I was momentarily shocked, offended, and confused during the first episode, and then by the end of it, I was like – this is brilliant! The story, it’s implications, the gorgeous artistic photography, the acting, the wardrobe, the lighting, the music… everything! I don’t know how this show wasn’t up for a ton of Emmys. It should have been.

TrunkSpace: You play Dr. Lois Slotnick on the series. Though she is highly intelligent, we wouldn’t exactly want her as our primary care physician! How did you prepare for your role of the Doctor? Was it daunting to create such a character among the other over-the-top characters?
Strassman: Yes, it was daunting! Like I mentioned, I think the most challenging part was to walk the line of letting her be very out there while keeping her as real and grounded as possible, so she would come off like a real person, and not a caricature or too broad to be compelling or interesting. It really helped me to imagine the backstory of such a character and how she became who she is. I was very drawn to the evil German scientist in “Wonder Woman,” and wished I could have played that role. I still think about her and what her backstory must have been, how she got to be wounded and vengeful. Interestingly, when I auditioned for Dr. Slotnick, she wasn’t actually written the way I play her at all. She was supposed to be kind of a passionate, geeky, excitable scientist with no particular accent. I did one take kind of like that, but then, just for fun, I went ahead and did another take with a German accent, making her darker than she was originally written. I’m grateful that the show’s creatives took a chance on what I did and hired me for the role!

TrunkSpace: Many of your scenes are with Tyson Ritter who plays Humperdoo. What was it like performing with Ritter?
Strassman: It’s so funny that you are asking about Tyson. I just saw the new movie, “Peppermint” this weekend, and I sent Tyson a tweet to tell him how wonderful he was. He played a very interesting homeless man in the film. And in “Lodge 49,” which I sometimes do ADR on, he plays another really interesting character. He’s really brilliant. He’s a no holds barred kind of actor, and just dives into the character like a kid. Here he is this incredibly handsome rock star, and once he’s all decked out as the Humperdoo, with his fake nose, fake teeth and disturbing contact lens in one eye, he is unrecognizable. He will totally go there, wherever his character needs to go. The sounds and stuff he was doing on set when I was there – it was so disturbing and funny I had to work really hard not to laugh. Brilliant!

TrunkSpace: Beyond “Preacher,” are there any additional comic book worlds and/or characters you would like to take on?
Strassman: Well, as I mentioned, I would love to play the evil scientist in “Wonder Woman,” if they were to ever re-cast the part, or do a new “Wonder Woman” television series. I really find the disturbed villains so fascinating. I think there are such moving backstories that go into making them who they are. Like The Joker, for instance, and I thought Betty Buckley was beyond superb in the role of Grandma in “Preacher.” I learned so much from watching her. Her work was so multi-dimensional. Another animated project I would love to be a part of one day is an anime series I actually starred in a few years ago. It’s called “Monster,” and it’s my favorite anime I’ve ever done or even seen. It’s quite disturbing and real, but absolutely brilliant. Guillermo Del Toro was said to have bought the movie rights for this project, and was talking about directing it. I’m too old to play the character I voiced in the series (Anna/Nina), but I would love to be a part of this project in any way I could if Del Toro or anyone else ever made it happen.

TrunkSpace: You have done a ton of voice acting throughout the course of your career. Was that always part of your personal plan or did that portion of your career happen as a happy accident?
Strassman: It happened as a happy accident when I was living in Paris when I was 20 years old. Someone offered me a job doing voices for a cassette tape that went with a magazine to help teach French kids English. I had never done it before, so I just jumped in blindly like a kid, and it turned out I was pretty good at it. That little job led to some jobs dubbing big French films into English, which led to a whole world of animation that opened up to me, and then video games, and anime commercials. I was the English voice for Air France for a while and things like voice-guided tours of The Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay. I was the English voice for French actresses like Juliet Binoche, Emmanuelle Béart, and Vanessa Paradis. I lived in France for 16 years doing TV, Film, Theatre and Voiceover work. I was just really, really lucky. To be honest, I was very self-conscious about what I looked like when I was younger, and felt I wasn’t pretty enough to be an actress. So, voiceover was really freeing for me because I got to play so many different roles, regardless of what I looked like. It was indeed an amazing happy accident and a gift.

Photo By: Paul Smith

TrunkSpace: Air France and The Louvre! Is it surreal to think that more people have probably heard your voice than some of the biggest “stars” of today?
Strassman: (Laughter) Yes it is.

TrunkSpace: Obviously it seems like anything can happen in “Preacher,” but when it comes to animation, that truly is the case. There are no budgetary limitations when storytelling for animation, which must put you in some very unique circumstances by way of the characters you inhabit. With that being said, what is one of the more unusual scenes you’ve ever found yourself performing in?
Strassman: Well, one of my favorite characters is in a series called “Persona.” I play a robot named Aigis who is an amazing fighter and machine, but all she wants is to become human and experience what it is to love. She ends up giving up a lot of her powers so she can experience what it is to have emotions and feel love. I play an endearing gnome-like character named Chromie in “World of Warcraft” who can travel in time and turn into a badass dragon. That’s pretty cool!

TrunkSpace: Do you approach inhabiting a character in animation the same way that you do with on-screen work? Where are the similarities and where are the differences?
Strassman: Yes, in many ways the process is very similar. It’s sometimes tempting to cut corners in voiceover and just “do a voice,” but in the long run, just doing a voice comes out as two-dimensional, and never ends up being that compelling to an audience. It’s not until you really have a feel for your character – where they came from, what they want, some intimate details about their life – that they really come to life. It’s much more fun and fulfilling to work that way.

TrunkSpace: Your resume is vast and very diverse. That being said, what is something you still hope to accomplish that you have yet to tackle? What is on your creative bucket list?
Strassman: Ahhh, there are so many characters I’d love to explore. I played Helen Keller when I was a younger girl, and I’d love to play her as an older woman. I love playing characters who have handicaps or challenges to overcome, whether it’s physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. I’d also love to settle in to a juicy regular role on a compelling TV series with a wonderful cast and crew for a while. There is something so magical about being able to stay with a show over a certain period of time and evolve with the everyone in it, like being part of a moving circus or being on a tour with an ensemble. You become a family and can really dive into your characters and the storyline together. That’s definitely high on my creative bucket list.

Preacher” is available for streaming at AMC.com.

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Wingman Wednesday

Audrey Walters

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Photo By: Sara Harris Photography

Although she didn’t pursue a professional acting career until she entered her third decade of life, Audrey Walters never felt like she missed out on any opportunities. In fact, focusing on family and her own personal growth throughout her 20s put her in a position to fully inhabit her characters and understand exactly who they are.

Her most recent project, the western “Big Kill,” costars Lou Diamond Phillips, Jason Patric, and Danny Trejo, opens in theaters on October 19.

We recently sat down with Walters to discuss the legacy of the western as a genre, why her character breaks the madame mold, and what it was like to have George R. R. Martin show up on set.

TrunkSpace: Your new movie “Big Kill is a western. From a performer’s standpoint, in terms of inhabiting an imaginary world, there’s got to be nothing better than a western, just because it’s so “classic Hollywood”? Between wardrobe and the set, it must be easy to escape into that?
Walters: Oh, absolutely. That film was a blast. And you said it all – the wardrobe that I got to wear was phenomenal. I just couldn’t wait to go to set each day and see what was hanging in my trailer.

TrunkSpace: And as far as genres go, it’s been around since the start of the medium. It holds a special place in the world of pop culture.
Walters: Yeah, that’s right, and especially because the place we were filming is a historic film set, right outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. So it was kind of cool to look around and know that the amount of films that have been made there. There was definitely something sort of sacred about it.

TrunkSpace: The cast of the film is great, too. If this came out 20 years ago, it would have received a big theatrical release. Now there’s so much quality content circulating everywhere with great casts.
Walters: Absolutely. Yeah, the people that we worked with, we had so much fun. It’s always different to be on location when you’re making a film anyway, because it’s kind of like being at summer camp – only it was freezing. I have to say that. It was freezing. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: It’s not supposed to be freezing in a western. Well, at night is okay.
Walters: (Laughter) Yeah, exactly. But you know, whenever you’re filming, you’re just in this whole different world. You’ve been through this huge experience together, like I said, that’s why I can relate it to summer camp. And then when you say good-bye to everybody and everyone goes back to their lives, you’re kind of like, “Aww…”

TrunkSpace: It’s a bit like you’re living in a bubble for that period of time.
Walters: Exactly. And we were all staying in the same hotel, so on our days off, it was like, “Okay, what are you guys doing? What’s going on? What can we do around here?” It was a lot, a lot of fun. I’m really grateful that I had the experience, for sure.

TrunkSpace: What did you enjoy most about inhabiting your character, The Madam?
Walters: I loved how strong this madame was. You hear madame in the whorehouse and you think, “Okay, I can pretty much know what that’s going to be like.” But the character I played, she ran things. She ran things around there. And she definitely had some power, and it came through in a lot of the scenes that we had.

TrunkSpace: What for you was the most memorable moment for you throughout the shoot, something that you’ll carry with you through the rest of your career?
Walters: Oh, it was so many. I would say the collaboration involved in this project. Everyone had each other’s back. There were no huge egos on the set, even though there could have been. There really could have been! All the stars who we were working with were kind and generous and super down to Earth. And the leadership. You know, the leadership on the set always sets the tone for every single person there, and I just felt like they were all really amazing role models.

TrunkSpace: And that must be really beneficial when you’re on location.
Walters: It was. It definitely was. And you just create these friendships, too. It was just a really special moment. Another neat thing is George R. R. Martin came to visit our set one day. We had a lot of fans on set. He was there just hanging out. He wanted to see how things were going. That was a pretty memorable moment too.

TrunkSpace: And then of course, after that, every character in the movie has to die off, because you know, his presence.
Walters: (Laughter) But of course. I think it was a day where we had a shoot out.

TrunkSpace: There you go! He’s like the grim reaper for fictional characters. (Laughter) Is it exciting to be working today, acting, when there is just so much great content available to not only viewers, but to the performers working in them?
Walters: Oh, absolutely. There is so much content out there, and so much high quality content. So, there are a lot more opportunities than there have ever been. And in particular, for me personally, being someone who’s kind of a middle-aged woman, you would think that there isn’t that much for me, but there really is. There’s a lot out there. I love that a lot of the content that’s being created too has a lot of mature characters.

TrunkSpace: And as you get older, those characters must get more intesting.
Walters: Oh, absolutely. I didn’t start acting until I was in my 30s. I had so much more life – so much more life experience than I ever could have imagined, if I had started acting in my 20s. I just don’t know if I would have as much to bring to all the characters that I do.

TrunkSpace: And as we all get older, we get more confident in ourselves and our abilities. When you’re in your 20s, it would probably be easier to take the rejection side of the business personally.
Walters: Yeah, no kidding. Having a life, having other things going on in my world, I just don’t take it personally anymore. If I end up not getting something, I’m like, “Okay. Oh well. All right. I got other things to do.” I worked with a lot of kids, who are kid actors, and I’ve coached a lot of kids along the way in the years, and that’s one of the biggest parts that I try to explain to them and advise them on is just, “Try your best not to take these things personal.” Because you just never know. And there’s also just a lot of faith that has to go into having this career path for yourself. I mean, like you said, there’s so much content out there, and I just kind of have to have some faith that the right project will come my way.

Big Kill” arrives in theaters on October 19.

“Arizona” opens August 24.

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Wingman Wednesday

Derek Wilson

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Photo by Brandon Hickman/Hulu – © 2017 Hulu

Weird gets a bum rap.

In high school, individuals labeled weird are often cast out, but years later, go on to do great things with their lives.

A lot of food that kids call weird when they’re just beginning to discover their taste buds end up becoming the sweet and savory staples of their adulthood diet.

And television shows far left of the procedural center may not be embraced by the “mainstream,” but it’s those series that go on to become the groundbreaking trendsetters of tomorrow.

One of those weird but wonderful programs is Hulu’s “Future Man,” a sci-fi/comedy mashup that follows a janitor’s journey to save the world. Executive produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the series strikes a very unique tone, but it’s star Derek Wilson, who plays Wolf, that makes us howl in delight.

Weird has never been so entertaining.

We recently sat down with Wilson to discuss portraying the most “badass warrior in the history of the planet,” why it took some time to get comfortable in Wolf’s boots, and how airing on a streaming platform meant getting away with far more than they ever thought possible.

TrunkSpace: Here’s what we love about “Future Man.” A promo exists where it says, and I quote, “It’s never too early to talk to your janitor about herpes.” That’s not a promo you’d see a lot of series rolling out.
Wilson: (Laughter) Right. Yeah, it’s pretty specific I guess, and random at the same time.

TrunkSpace: What first drew you to the series? Was it the tone? The premise? Something else entirely?
Wilson: It was, I think, the character, even though I didn’t really fully know what we were going to do with it. Evan Goldberg called me when I was shooting “Preacher” for them and said, “We’re about to shoot a pilot. You’ve got a couple weeks off from ‘Preacher.’ The character is the most badass warrior in the history of the planet. He lives in a sewer, and he eats garbage and rats, and oh, he’s from a video game.” I was like, “Yeah, that’s cool. Let’s do that.”

I didn’t know the tone. I didn’t know really what it was. I got the script, and I thought it was funny, but didn’t really put it all together. Even the first night of shooting, Seth (Rogen) came up to me and was like, “It’s a crazy character. Let’s just kind of rehearse in front of the camera and figure this out. We don’t really know either, so let’s just figure it out.” There’s a couple scenes in the pilot where it’s just trying to figure out something, the tone of it, and who this character is, and how far we can go.

Then when we went to series, it continued to develop. Even the first few episodes of the series, we’re still trying to figure out the tone. We had great moments in those first few episodes, and they’re good episodes, but we really started to find the tone and find our groove, as a whole – the writers’ room, the cast, everybody – in about the fourth episode, I think, which is pretty normal for a show. But this one especially, it’s just so… I mean, it’s a big swing.

TrunkSpace: Like you said, finding the point of view of a series can take some time, especially when you’re trying to have as unique a POV as “Future Man.”
Wilson: Yeah, you just have to dive in. I would come home from work shooting those first few episodes and talk to my girlfriend like, “Man, I don’t know what I’m doing here.” The character, it’s all fish out of water, so it always feels awkward. You don’t know if you’re nailing it or what. But it ends up, it just kind of works, especially for where the character starts to go about halfway through the season, and through the end. You kind of have to have that setup to go there.

TrunkSpace: Is there pressure involved playing, as you put it, the “most badass warrior in the history of the planet?”
Wilson: The three months before we started shooting, I definitely was in the gym as much as possible. (Laughter) During the pilot, my body was wrecked from doing all the fight training, because I just wasn’t used to that. I would go home and take Epsom salt baths every night. I was wrecked. I knew I had to be in good shape for this, because we have a great stunt team, but we do learn it all. We do as much as we can. I was in better shape by the time we got to Episode 2, which was shot a year after the pilot, because I had to be.

TrunkSpace: Was it one of those moments where you start to realize that your body has muscles in places that you didn’t know it had muscles, simply because new areas are sore? (Laughter)
Wilson: That’s right. I remember during the pilot, my hip flexors were so sore, because I was doing so many kicks, which I don’t do any sort of martial arts or anything. So yeah, little muscles that I never really thought about that much, but it was good. It was good prep.

TrunkSpace: For an actor, was it a bit of a best case scenario to be working on “Preacher” and then have the creative team from that instantly think of you for this? That speaks volumes for that work you were doing.
Wilson: Yeah, it was amazing. I was in my house in Albuquerque shooting “Preacher.” It was a crazy day, because I still needed to make a little self tape to show to the people at Hulu, who didn’t know who I was. I was having technical difficulties. It was a really stressful day. Evan was like, “You gotta get me this tape in 45 minutes.” Three hours later, my internet is down, and I’m scrambling. He was calling me like, “Dude, you gotta get it to me. You gotta get it to me.” But it worked out, and I got it to him. (Laughter)

Two days later I was on set shooting this thing. It was crazy. Then I went back and finished “Preacher” that season, so it was nuts.

TrunkSpace: Is shooting a series for Hulu similar to shooting a series for a network? Is it paced the same?
Wilson: The pace of it was crazy, just because the production is huge. We shoot two episodes in 10 days. I know it’s only half hour episodes, but if you’ve seen the show, it’s a large production. People have said, “It’s got this cool low budget look.” Well, it takes a big budget to achieve that, and a lot of time. We were shooting really long days. But also, the big difference I noticed was the presence of the Standards & Practices was not as present on this, because it’s a streaming platform. We got away with a lot. They just kept saying nothing as we did the most outrageous things. Our scripts were turned in and the writers were like, “Oh, there’s no way they’re going to let us do that.” Then they’d just never say anything.

I know there were some nerves about the James Cameron episode. Even though I just watched it, and it… it’s not a send up of James Cameron. I really think it’s a tribute. It’s funny, but I think it’s very honorable. But maybe I’m just trying to be nice. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: So is it safe to say that “Future Man” couldn’t exist in its current form on a network, even cable?
Wilson: I can’t imagine. I really can’t imagine it. Yeah, I can’t imagine it anywhere else to be honest.

It’s just the right time for something like this. The right time and the right place.

Season 1 of “Future Man” is available now on Hulu.

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Wingman Wednesday

Julie Ann Emery

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Photo By: Ryan West

As Betsy Kettleman on AMC’s “Better Call Saul,” Julie Ann Emery solidified herself as one of the more versatile actresses working in television today. Her performance as the headstrong wife and mother of the Kettleman clan became the most memorable of the series, which is impressive considering it is an entire show built around memorable performances. Now the Tennessee native is back at AMC stealing scenes in “Preacher” as the zealot Featherstone, a role she calls one of her favorites.

We recently sat down with Emery to discuss how “Preacher” is speaking directly to its audience, how in many ways the series feels lifted directly from the pages of the comic, and why Betsy Kettleman’s wardrobe meant so much to who the character was.

TrunkSpace: You joined “Preacher” in its second season and you also had an incredible run on “Better Call Saul” with AMC being the common thread that ties both of them together. It really seems like there’s no better place to be in terms of quality, character-driven content than AMC these days.
Julie Ann Emery: Thank you AMC for handing me two of my favorite roles of my entire career! I’m absolutely thrilled to be back at the network and thrilled to be on “Preacher” with Sam Catlin who was of “The Breaking Bad” world before he was of “Preacher” and I feel very at home and very challenged by my character, which is a lot to say as a woman in the business. To actually have two characters like that, who are so incredibly challenging to play and challenging to get into the headspace of, it’s a real gift as an actor.

TrunkSpace: And obviously there’s more content now than ever before, but at the same time, quality has not been overlooked for quantity. In fact, the quality of TV just keeps getting better.
Julie Ann Emery: The thing is, it was four main networks and HBO before everybody else jumped in. And HBO was doing really interesting niche stuff, but when you’re trying to appeal to the broadest possible audience, the characterization in the stories kind of gets watered down. But with so much programming happening, I feel like we have really embraced more niche programming, which “Preacher” definitely falls into. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: You hear so much about how shows need to be “grounded in reality” in order to get on the air, but what we love about “Preacher” is that in a lot of ways it says to hell with reality and just does its own thing. Does that make the performance aspect of the show more appealing because anything can and does happen?
Julie Ann Emery: I was a fan of season 1 of “Preacher” before I ever got the audition for season 2 and what intrigued me about it was how far it pushed the envelope, but them how grounded the acting was. So, “Preacher” is definitely wacky and it definitely lives in its own universe… the violence is kind of Tarantinoesque and always has a sense of humor… but there is always something grounded and relatable about the characters walking around. And that as a viewer is definitely my sweet spot. To really push the envelope in terms of circumstance, but to still have the interesting, complex, relatable characters doing grounded work inside of that, it’s both challenging as an actor and a thrill.

TrunkSpace: The series also just looks different than most of the other shows on TV, which is another refreshing aspect of it as a whole. In many ways, it feels like they just brought the comic book to life.
Julie Ann Emery: We just had the premiere at the Ace Hotel in LA and watching it on a big screen, there were moments that literally looked lifted straight from Steve Dillon’s art in the comics. They’ve really found a way to honor what they’re doing with the comic book series and still keep some kind of real life going on. It’s really interesting to watch and it struck me how much of the tone of the show happens in post with the choice of music and the visual editing style and the production design by Dave Blass. It’s so brilliantly done. It’s so grounded in reality, but it also honors the comics in such a huge way and takes such risks visually with colors.

It’s a really thrilling thing because when the artistic work on a show is so high across the board and when everyone is so excited to dive into something so unique, it’s a really nice spot to be in as an artist.

TrunkSpace: If everybody is giving 100 percent and there are excited faces all around you, it’s hard not to go to work with an equal level of excitement every day.
Julie Ann Emery: Agreed and I’ve had the great fortune to be in that circumstance both on “Fargo” and “Better Call Saul” and now “Preacher.” Everyone is there every day trying to raise the level of what’s going on… trying to elevate the work. It’s really exciting when that happens across the board like that.

To be inspired by a costume or a set piece or a new set they just built… with a show like “Preacher” you can draw inspiration from such a variety of places. It’s great.

Julie Ann Emery in “Preacher”

TrunkSpace: For those who haven’t read the comic, where does your character Featherstone fall into things?
Julie Ann Emery: So Featherstone is a member of an organization called The Grail. It’s described as a pseudo-fascist religious organization bent on world domination. And they are. Featherstone has a very strong faith. She really believes the world has gone to hell and she is working to save it and she will blow it up if she has to in order to save it. She’s very dedicated. She could be described as a zealot. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do to accomplish her mission or serve the cause.

There’s a transformation aspect to Featherstone that I think lends itself to the “there’s nothing that she wouldn’t do.”

TrunkSpace: Will viewers get to see that transformation and the origin story of how she finds her way?
Julie Ann Emery: I’m not going to get into story spoilers. (Laughter) But, I think you will definitely see that the Featherstone from the comics is very much honored but there are dimensions of her on the show that have taken her further. And those dimensions are such a thrill as an actor to play. They really have rounded her out in a really beautiful way.

She’s definitely a bad ass. Even more so than in the comics. She’s Type A and a woman in a man’s world. I’m surrounded by men a lot in The Grail, but she is always the most capable person in the room, save maybe for Herr Starr. She is super, super dedicated and has no life outside of The Grail and her mission and she likes it that way.

TrunkSpace: Comic fans are so rabid when it comes to their favorite properties and characters. You mentioned that there are new dimensions to Featherstone that may not be familiar to readers of the comic. Was there a discussion about how those changes or additions would be perceived by fans of the source material?
Julie Ann Emery: I auditioned for the role, so it was something that was added already when I came on board, but I think it is something that they spoke about quite a lot in the development of her. I know that when I auditioned they had already rewritten the character a few times, even throughout the audition process. The bones of Featherstone, what I like to call Featherstone proper where she’s in her Grail uniform and being herself, is very much from the comic. When she goes undercover or lays a trap for someone and there’s this transformational aspect of her and how far she’s willing to go with that, that’s a new element. So it’s not like they diverted from the Featherstone of the comic, it’s just that they have taken her further.

I am a fan of the comics. I had not read them before I started the show and now I’m very deep into them. I recognize her completely from the comics and I think fans of the comics will recognize her as well, but there are other dimensions to her that round her out.

TrunkSpace: Is this your first time playing in the fanboy/comic world sandbox and are you prepared for the feedback that follows?
Julie Ann Emery: I don’t know if there’s preparation for that.

I worked on “Better Call Saul” and the “Breaking Bad” fandom is very intense and very intelligent. They will notice something on a shelf behind you that is barely in focus and then they will have a discussion about it. I’m used to that side of it, but as much of a sci-fi/fantasy fan that I am, I’ve never done anything from a comic or that’s sci-fi related.

Well, that’s not true. I did Steven Spielberg’s “Taken” for the SyFy channel years and years ago, but that was before social media took over the world. (Laughter)

I’m excited about it because I am a fan like that of things. I’m a huge “Star Wars” fan. I’m big fan of “Wonder Woman” and I like to go online and chat with people about stuff, but I have not been on the receiving end of that nerd out, so I guess that’s a journey I have to see play out. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: As a character, Betsy Kettleman is one of the best to ever grace the small screen. She was someone we all know in real life, but at the same time, was completely original in the TV world. She had so many great layers to her and we’re curious where you ventured to in order to discover her?
Julie Ann Emery: The development of the Kettlemans was incredibly collaborative from the top down. Vince Gilligan directed our first episode and he and Peter Gould were on set the first day of shooting and we spent an enormous amount of time doing character development and talking about the Kettlemans and who they are and defining them. That never happens on a TV schedule. We had extra time to shoot the first episode from Sony and AMC, otherwise it might not have happened. And they changed what happened to the Kettlemans after we shot that first episode. The writers became kind of fascinated with what happened out of that collaboration on set and some of the things we talked about, which also never happens on television because they have to turn the scripts over so fast that they’re not very often able or willing to go back in. But they did in this case and it turned out as something, I think, incredibly special.

I love to play characters who are different than who I am. I like to step into someone’s shoes that I don’t necessarily understand. And Featherstone falls into that category in a lot of ways. I always say that a lot of times the character might think differently than I do, but Betsy’s brain works differently than mine does. She was a huge gift for sure and I love that on the outside she does look like someone who is probably walking around your neighborhood and then what you discover about her is something entirely different.

Saul Goodman on “Breaking Bad” was the wacky, out there character. The Kettlemans are that on “Better Call Saul.” In some ways they’re so wacky and out there, but they love each other so much that it always comes back to something grounded and relatable. There are a lot of us who would do almost anything for our families and Betsy definitely falls into that category in a meta, uber way. (Laughter)

Julie Ann Emery in “Better Call Saul”

TrunkSpace: Often times actors will say that getting into wardrobe helped them discover who a character was, particularly in period pieces of science fiction. But Betsy had this amazing wardrobe that was also so not amazing at the same time. Did her style help you with who she was?
Julie Ann Emery: I discovered a lot along every step of the way with Betsy and wardrobe had a lot to do with it. In some ways her wardrobe is very plain and something you would see somebody walking around in, but then at the end of the first episode she puts on this lime green skirt suit that’s a little ill-fitting. It was a little big on me and I asked them not to alter it. At the heart of it, I wanted her to have money but have no idea what to do with it. Like, she saw some politician’s wife wearing skirt suits, so she needed a skirt suit, but she went and picked a lime green one. And then she went and picked a burnt orange one. She is figuring out what the world is and getting it wrong sometimes, but she thinks she’s getting it right. And then as the show went on, the clothes started to fit more and the colors were still off, but she was getting more of a handle on it, which was something that I thought no one but the costume designer and I would ever realize. Good on you, man! (Laughter)

Preacher” airs Mondays on AMC.

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