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Spoilers below for the most recent episode of Preacher, so put on a jazz record and check out some of our other stories if you still haven't watched yet.
After a season and change of knuckle-busting road trips across the dusty countrysides of TV Texas (which is actually New Mexico), AMC's Preacher gave Season 2 a change of scenery by heading down to New Orleans to introduce some excellent new characters and storylines. CinemaBlend recently spoke with Julie Ann Emery, who stars as the villainous part-time crooner Lara Featherstone, and when we weren't talking about comic comparisons, she gave me several reasons why the big move to New Orleans is great for Preacher.
I mean New Orleans itself, just the landscape. My first episode was directed by Michael Slovis, who's one of the producers on the show, and he came from 'DP'ing the Breaking Bad world. And he's so visually gifted, I learned so much in my first episode from him, just watching his shots. Because there's nowhere that looks like [New Orleans]. There's nowhere that feels like it. And you almost visually feel the humidity, and there's always something about New Orleans that feels a little up to no good. You can almost see that visually in the show. It's really great.
As a Louisiana native who's spent quite a few nights walking the city's streets, usually with a bit of no good in mind, I firmly agree with everything Julie Ann Emery said there. Even during the winter, New Orleans might feel chilly, but it'll still look like a humid den of sin if you're watching from behind a camera lens. (Especially on wet, neon-lit street corners.) And is there a trio currently on TV more equipped to take on a den of sin than Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy? I think not. (Well, maybe Noah Taylor's Hitler, also introduced in the episode, but he's currently busy down in Hell.)
In the same way that other metros like New York City or L.A. are characterized in movies and TV shows, New Orleans carries a signature flair that sets an immediate tone on screen. And from how Julie Ann Emery talked about it, it sounds like Preacher will continue to let The Big Easy's energetic spirit guide the mayhem.
Season 1 shot in Albuquerque for Texas, and there's something kind of brown and flat about Texas and about the landscape in Albuquerque that made the characters really stand out in Season 1. I think New Orleans, just as a backdrop, is livelier than that. So like Season 1 felt like the characters were lively was just sort of plain. In Season 2, I mean, you can't point a camera anywhere in New Orleans without -- how do I put this -- interesting characters popping up. Even just the backdrop of New Orleans itself is varied and layered and spicy, so it definitely plays a giant role in the season.
Just in case you've ever wanted to see someone in an alley peeing on their own feet on TV, Preacher might accidentally be giving you that chance. Hell, we might get to see any number of things now that Tulip's past is coming back to haunt her while Jesse is off trying to touch base with the jazz club-loving God. Which, not coincidentally I'm sure, is precisely where we first got to see Featherstone in live-action.
If a TV show is going to showcase the music scene in New Orleans, particularly the jazz side of things, it wouldn't do anyone any good to have a newbie blindly picking tracks and mentoring the score. Julie Ann Emery put all fears to rest there by confirming Preacher did its homework.
We have a jazz consultant on the show from New Orleans, Jay Weigel, who's done a really wonderful job incorporating local musicians and advising them on local music and stuff. I worked with him, actually. He's really really wonderful.
In Episode 3, viewers got to watch a selection of musicians popping up in the different bars and clubs that characters were in and out of, and it's awesome to hear that Jay Weigel has been involved with putting some of that together. (Especially since it's not even on his IMDb page.) A New Orleans native, Weigel has basically spent his entire life engulfed in music, with jazz taking up a good chunk of that time, and he notably spent some years working with jazz icon Terence Blanchard. Not to mention all the operas he's produced, all the symphonies he's lead across the globe, or all the movies and TV shows that featured his work on soundtracks. Or the ones he's worked on in official capacities, such as Midnight Special, Our Brand Is Crisis andGet Hard, along with many Madea films.
So even though comic fans and casual viewers probably have bigger anticipations for seeing Herr Starr and the Saint of Killers wrecking shop in any location, at least we can all take comfort in knowing that adding New Orleans to the elixir is only going to make things better. She also talked about how much Preacher creator Garth Ennis was down with flipping things up from the source material and advising things, so his blessing is on all of it.