Everybody loves a solid, female character in their favourite shows. Talented actresses breathe life into the characters who bring the action to storylines that keep us at the edge of our seats. These powerful characters and those who portray them make waves in both fictional universes in which they exist and the real world, and Julie Ann Emery is no stranger to depicting these roles for our screens.
Fans of the Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul may recognize her as Betsy Kettleman, but she’s going to be back on another AMC series this summer, Preacher. Based on a comic book and developed for television by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, the series is sure to be one to get viewers hooked this summer. It follows Jesse Custer’s discovery of his own powers, and his quest for God. Julie Ann Emery returns to the show as a series regular, Lara Featherstone, who has the ability to change her appearance within seconds.
With the third season of Preacher in full swing, CelebMix was able to chat with Julie Ann Emery about the show and her time playing the role of Lara Featherstone!
Preacher has just returned for its third season this summer! How would you describe the third season in three words?
Bat Shit Crazy.
What initially drew you to the role of Lara Featherstone?
I was already a fan of Season 1, and I LOVED Tulip. Such a badass. When I read Featherstone I thought, “Wow, they are bringing another female character onto the show but they are letting her be a badass in her own right”. That was impressive to me. Not a ton of TV does that. Also, the transformational aspects of Featherstone are so thrilling to me as an actor, and she is so incredibly sure of herself and what she is doing all the time. I’d love some of that to bleed over to my own life.
In what ways are you similar to or different from Lara?
We are both highly organized, motivated, self-starters, and we like to be fully prepared. I, however, am not a trained assassin. I’ve also never blown up Harry Connick Jr’s house with a drone missile. Sorry Harry, big fan.
Was there anything specific that you did to prepare for Preacher and Lara?
I read the comics as quickly as I could and dove into as much character history as possible. There is something dark and flat inside Featherstone as herself that allows her to take actions most of us would question. I needed to get to the bottom of how, when, and why that dark spot entered her life and soul. But the truth is, I was hired on a Friday night and had to move to New Orleans to begin filming Season 2 on that Tuesday. It all happened very quickly and I felt I was playing catch up for the first couple of episodes.
Before filming, what do you do to get into the zone, or headspace of Lara?
I always choose music for my characters, either a musical artist or a specific song. I like to play it in my trailer in the mornings before I start shooting as a jump start into my character. For Featherstone herself, I chose massive choral hymns, like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings. So when Onward Christian Soldiers popped up in the writing this season, I was absolutely delighted. Incidentally, for Featherstone, I also choose specific music for her Personas. Jenny and the Jazz singer had their own music in their heads.
Since being a part of the show, do you have a favourite episode or moment in the show so far?
That’s a tough one, but stripping the glock that Herr Starr was planning to shoot Hoover and I with and then putting it back together was pretty great. Challenging. I worked with our Armourer, TJ, every day for 10 days, as much as he’d let me, taking that gun apart and putting it back together until I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore. And the sequence of scenes with Ruth Negga, when it seems she has figured out Jenny is not who she seems, and then we beat the crap out of Rodney/Hoover… those are pretty great.
In the past, you’ve also taken on some other strong roles such as Betsy Kettleman in Better Call Saul, Ida Thurman in Fargo, and Vanessa in Suits. If one of your past characters were to help The Grail for a day, who would you pick and why?
Oh Betsy Kettleman, no question. Betsy lives in her own world, for sure, but give her a task to complete, a mission, and she will go to any and all lengths to achieve it. She does not believe in giving up. Betsy is also an AMC character, so she’d fit right into the family.
What would you say is a lesson you’ve learned through your career so far?
All careers have ups and downs and twists and turns. Have faith and put your energy into honing your craft. If you do that, the right creatives and projects will find you. Also, when you have a delicious character to play, enjoy it, savor it, dive deep. Not every character is a twisty, unique ball of complexity.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
I have always been so grateful just to be a working actor, that the idea of fans still blows my mind. I love talking to y’all on twitter. Thanks for the kind words and thanks for watching! The best is yet to come!
How excited are you to watch the third season of Preacher? Let us know by tweeting us at @CelebMix!