‘Preacher’: Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, John Gilgun, and Graham McTavish Interview

Preacher Cast Joseph Gilgun, Dominic Cooper, and Ruth Negga
Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy, Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, and Ruth Negga as Tulip O’Hare in ‘Preacher’ (Photo Credit: Matthias Clamer/AMC)

AMC’s Preacher‘s first season is over and it appears as though season two will now move the story closer in line to the beginning of the comics. It seems this first season was pretty much a prequel to the source material, with the finale of season one literally clearing the story of all supporting characters so the series’ second season can focus on Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun), and Tulip’s (Ruth Negga) road trip to find God. Preacher‘s an acquired taste but for those who stuck around for the entire first season, the payoff – although a bit uneven – was huge as basically a reset button was pushed that forces the threesome to hit the road since Annville, Texas no longer exists.

Just a week prior to Preacher‘s season one finale, cast members Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, and Graham McTavish (‘The Cowboy’) took part in a press conference at the San Diego Comic Con to talk about their characters and the series.

Dominic Cooper on who Jesse Custer is:

Dominic Cooper: “He wants to improve a place that he cares a lot about. He’s a man desperate to change himself, to make himself a better person. He feels guilty about what he did to his father and he thinks he’s the chosen one. And he’s coming around to that idea very quickly. At first he didn’t want anything to do with it but it seems like it’s absorbing into the very fabric of who he is. He thinks he can still do good things with it. The truth is power on that scale is very dangerous. The fact that he’s not yet realized it says a lot about him. The fact that he’s capable of having this entity inhabit him and remain there, most people who it’s happened to have exploded, the fact that he can harness it means to me that he’s half evil, half good.”

Ruth Negga on playing Tulip:

Ruth Negga: “I suppose what attracted me to her is what repels most people, these unapologetic tendencies. For me, they’re not really aggressive, or just for the sake of violence. I think it’s an armor of sorts to protect herself. But also she has really quite a pure sense of justice. I think that that’s quite evident throughout the series. When she says to the kids at the party, ‘He was a really bad man.’ It’s not just to excuse her behavior. I think she really believes that. And also she rehabilitates Cassidy. For her, she can’t bear the idea that there’s so much injustice in society. It obviously stems from her childhood, you see in the flashbacks. There’s a personal quest there.

In terms of women of color, it’s a relief to play someone like her but I also find when I’m watching, it’s a relief to see someone like her. So it’s very important for me because I think for so long, we’ve been complacent about there not being enough people of color, in fact, the whole world reflected in our arts and culture. That conversation needs to keep happening because I think there’s so much more we can do.”

Dominic on Jesse’s journey throughout season one:

Dominic Cooper: “Actually watching it, it’s quite different from how I imagined. I’m much less sympathetic towards [Eugene] and I wonder why these people stand by him. He’s vile, what he ends up doing. I think he is in a place of reflection and I think he has established that he’s no good with this power. He’s not the one who should harness it and use it. I think now he knows that the next part of the journey together with these people that he’s known and that he loves in search of answers, because actually he demands and thinks that God owes them all answers. That’s what he’s searching for by the end. He began as a quite heavy, depressed, stuck in his past and I think you start to see him come out of the fog of that. He has a purpose which he probably never had before.”

Ruth Negga: “What’s interesting is I think that in running away from his past and trying to find himself, I think he was actually running away from himself. I think that’s the kind of journey that he seems to have gone on is that he realizes that maybe you can’t outrun your true nature. Maybe that’s the battle. I think that’s how I see it unfolding.”

Joseph on Cassidy’s relationship with Jesse:

Joseph Gilgun: “I think Cassidy sees a little bit of himself in Jesse. Jesse’s someone who’s seeking redemption. I think all the characters are and I think Cassidy sees this guy, he’s an old vampire so how old is he? 190 I think he is? He’s probably sick of it but I think more than anything it’s just going to be interesting to watch that unfold. He’s got time. For the first time in a long while, this is his opportunity to settle and feel wanted and needed.

Graham McTavish on The Cowboy’s future:

Graham McTavish: “I’m a huge fan of the books so I knew everything about the books before I even started it. The idea of becoming this, it’s like an iconic character that I loved when I was reading them. So I do know, yes. I know his ultimate journey which is a very, very interesting one. I look forward to playing that but I have felt a little lonely, sad, and isolated in my 19th century world with my horse. And the horse doesn’t last. He’s dead in a few minutes. They asked, ‘Can he ride?’ Did I need to really ride because you kill my horse within five minutes? It was interesting, and in fact I’ve only just gotten to know these people. I’m in isolation, some strange quarantine out in the desert. I look forward to hopefully seeing more of them.

I think there’s an interesting theme for many of the characters, this struggling to suppress possibly their true natures, or certainly a great deal of their true natures. Trying to keep the darkness I suppose that we all carry around us, trying to keep that in check. It is very interesting to explore that.”

Graham on the most surprising thing about The Cowboy:

Graham McTavish: “I really love my guns, but I guess I was really surprised about how heavy they were. They’re actually a lot heavier than you think when you have to hold them, so that was a shock. But I got over that and continued. I love the fact that he’s trying to be a good family man. That’s really what I love at the beginning of that story. Why he becomes who he becomes, that’s what’s really interesting about him. Then the levels to which he goes to, there are some shocking things, shocking things. I think it’s interesting. It’s very rare that you read something – I have a very high tolerance for a lot of stuff – when you read something in a script and you’re shocked. You go, ‘I’ve got to do that.’ That’s what I find so interesting, the fine edge that the show walks and will continue to walk.”