'Preacher' star Julie Ann Emery had difficulty with Featherstone’s ‘matter of factness’ about Hoover’s death
Julie Ann Emery, in an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), spoke about her feud with Ruth Negga's Tulip O'Hare on 'Preacher' and called it "an obsession" and "a fascination" and about the "twisty cast and crew" who brought the bizarre Garth Ennis comic book classic to our screen
Season 3 and 4 have not been kind to Featherstone (Julie Ann Emery) in 'Preacher'. From pulling off Grail-sanctioned cover identities like Jenny-the-battered-girlfriend or Lara-the-seductive-jazz-singer, she has been reduced to lurking behind the Lazarus coffee counter, disguised as a barista, eavesdropping on Herr Starr (Pip Torrens) to stay in the game.
But Featherstone was once Herr Starr's favorite Grail enforcer. Ruthless with a Terminator-like focus, she killed Tulip O'Hare (Ruth Negga), without batting an eyelid, despite a season-worth of bonding sessions. Once Tulip bounced back from the dead, it was the end of a sham friendship and the beginning of a real feud.
Julie Ann Emery, in an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), spoke about Featherstone's work ethic and her frustration about the loose end that Tulip represents. "Tulip is the one person, the one mission, the one assignment Featherstone can't beat. I mean, I killed her at the end of season 2 and SHE IS STILL HERE!" Emery revealed.
She added Featherstone is accustomed to being the best, better than anyone, except maybe Starr. But because she and Tulip are so evenly matched, "it becomes an obsession for her, sometimes even a fascination."
The Grail's objective (and Herr Starr's) has always been Jesse Custer. Has Featherstone lost her focus because of her feud with Tulip? Emery begs to disagree: "She doesn't believe she is throwing over her mission. Featherstone says to Starr, 'The girl is the key.' Tulip is Jesse's weakness. Featherstone knows this. She believes by capturing Tulip, or killing her, it guarantees The Grail another shot at capturing Jesse."
But after falling so out of favor that Herr Starr doesn't even have the time to kill her, can she claw her way back in? "I can't tell you what that game plan is, but you can be sure it will be bloody," said Emery. She reminded fans, "Featherstone ALWAYS has a plan."
Nothing exemplifies this more than her "flying-squirrel" technique this season, which she has used twice, successfully, to evade death. Once, after fighting Tulip on a cliff in episode 2 (incidentally also Emery's favorite fight sequence), and twice, while escaping new Hoover's bullet, in episode 5.
"I like to think her flying suit is a result of having her own version of 007's Q at her beck and call," said Emery, adding that as the "second in command" of Masada, she does have access to all "the latest and greatest Grail innovations".
The flying wire-work and stunts have been a career highlight for her. "Season 4 is my favorite Featherstone season in no small part to the amount of [stunt] work I got to do with our brilliant Stunt Coordinator and Second Unit Director John Koyama and his amazing team. They really did beautiful work on behalf of Featherstone this season. I couldn't be happier with it." Teasing her favorite moments this season, she says there are two scenes in the finale she is" immensely proud of".
"I am even shocked that they were written; that we see that side of Featherstone. But I can't tell you why because it would be a huge spoiler. Aside from those, the flying squirrel shoot was the most fun I have ever had at work," said Emery.
Given Preacher's conceit in bringing some pretty off-the-wall TV to us over four seasons, Emery revealed that the entire team, "in front of and behind the camera", felt the importance of going out in the best possible way. "Every effort was made to make this final season the best. The writing feels like a speeding freight train toward the apocalypse. And no matter how absurd the setting in any given scene, we [the actors] have always looked to each other to ground those scenes in some real human experience."
Describing 'Preacher' as a "twisty show with a twisty cast and crew", she told us that to get hired to work on a show like 'Preacher', meant "you are not your run of the mill human being". She elaborated, "[It means] there is something in you that digs and pushes the boundaries, and itches to color outside the lines. But once we all get together, that also means we see some sort of kindred spirit in each other. And it creates a really special bond."
"There is a scene in the finale with me and Ruth [who plays Tulip] that I will cherish forever. Both the writing of it and us shooting it together." In terms of acting partners, Emery also had a difficult time separating her own feelings from her character's while shooting the final scene of season 3 where Hoover dies, because of Featherstone's "matter of factness" about his death.
"Malcolm Barrett's Hoover felt so symbiotic to me that I wasn't sure how I would be Featherstone without him. I've only ever had that experience one other time on screen and that was with Jeremy Shamos playing the Kettlemans on 'Better Call Saul'. Maybe it's something about working on AMC," Emery shared.
It was equally difficult letting go of her Featherstone persona after 'Preacher' wrapped its final season. "I took Featherstone's cross necklace. It was her most cherished possession. And I placed a lot of the emotional life of the character in that necklace. It was a real touchstone for my work throughout the series. I also MIGHT have made off with one of the Lazarus reusable coffee cups."
While moving on from 'Preacher' has not been easy, Emery is excited about the movie, '3 Days With Dad', releasing in September, in which she stars alongside Tom Arnold, J.K. Simmons, Larry Clarke and a host of comedy actors she has long admired. Currently shooting season 6 of 'Bosch', Emery promises to return to our screens with this Amazon series that airs come spring in 2020.