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In episode 2 of “Preacher,” the AMC adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon‘s 1990s comic book, lead character Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) is finally enthusiastic about reinvigorating his small Texas ministry. He didn’t see the light or come to some grand spiritual revelation, though. It’s all because he’s been possessed by a celestial force.

It’s not yet clear how powerful Jesse can be, even as he’s able to channel the spirit into commands that people and animals can’t ignore. At first, though, Jesse sees nothing but positives. With this kind of ability to influence the behaviors of others, he begins to use his power for the greater good. Of course, the consequences aren’t so cut and dried.

Jesse also develops a stronger relationship with Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), the Irish vampire drifter who’s become a fixture at Jesse’s church and a handyman who isn’t exactly so handy. Cassidy offers a smart-alecky counterpoint to Jesse’s forced piety.

Cooper talked to Speakeasy about Jesse’s spiritual journey, his relationship with Cassidy, and what the actor himself would do if he had Jesse’s powers. An edited excerpt:

Jesse tells Cassidy at one point: “Boring’s not the worst thing a person can be.” Do you think Jesse really believes that?

I don’t, actually, because he just knows that’s the right thing to say. The proof is in the person he’s saying it to, and that’s why Cassidy knows it’s not. You can tell Jesse’s relieved that somebody like Cassidy has come along and saved him from the despair of this town and these people he’s dealing with. It’s a constant fight for Jesse. He’s a man of faith, and he believes that he’s chasing an idea of his childhood, this guilt that he feels. And he’s chasing a home, the home he had at that age. Ultimately, he’s in despair about the people he’s surrounded by and this world.

Is that why Cassidy and Jesse get on so well, why they connect?

Yes, even though they have completely different ideas in terms of what people should be, what the world should be. I think that’s why he likes him. Cassidy confronts him and says, “No, it’s not.” … I think he loves finally having someone to have that tussle with.

Like Jason Miller’s character in “The Exorcist,” he has this crisis of faith and he’s repulsed by being around certain kinds of people. How did you get to that point in your performance?

The idea of lost faith?

Has he completely lost his faith?

No, he’s struggling with it because of this silence … he’s deafened by the silence because he’s made the decision to leave the life of crime he’d been leading and to remember what was important to him, and the memory of his father. But he’s getting no direction, he’s getting no help. He’s feeling alone. There’s all of these wonderful bits of writing that keep coming about. “We are who we are.” And it’s like, “Actually, maybe I am just this piece of crap who can’t change.”

Is he not completely sold on the idea of free will?

I think he would have given up [his ministry] if it weren’t for this thing [that’s entered him.] The way in which he handles this power is despicable. He makes all the wrong choices.

Especially, in episode 2, with him confronting the pedophile bus driver …

He doesn’t deal with that well!

Another instance of good intentions gone wrong, he tells the girl to open her eyes …

Exactly! (laughs) It’s so true, it wouldn’t do anything. It wouldn’t change her. … He misses the fundamental points, and you can’t force someone to make those decisions. They have to learn them, they have to discover those things for themselves. That’s why he has no idea. He’s completely useless, ultimately. You [still] can’t help but appreciate what he’s trying to do. … You’re filming this stuff so quickly, it’s on from one scene to the next, and you forget there were moments like that, where he’s completely missed the whole point of everything.

What would you do if you had this power?

I’d screw everything up.

What would be the first thing you would try to do?

You just have to be honest. I’d be as stupid as him. I’d try to affect or have an impact on the world, which I think would be good … which would be, “Stop being so awful to each other.” That’s what, on a daily basis, I’m so shocked by every time I look at a newspaper. How are we capable of doing that to one another. That is just something I can’t get my head around, that human beings can do the things they do to one another. No other animal seems to be capable of doing that to its own species. It just seems absurd.

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Posted on 06/06/2016 by Hannah with 0 Comment(s) Filed under: Preacher, Press


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