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Interview: Actress Lucy Griffiths Discusses AMC's 'Preacher'

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Although still in its first season, AMC has put a lot of faith in Preacher, a dark, twisted and often funny television series based on the Vertigo comic book series of the same name.

That says a lot, considering everything it took to bring a live-action adaptation of Preacher to the masses, but that adaptation is now officially off the ground and about halfway into its first season, with a second season already approved by the network.

On Preacher, Jesse Custer has a devoted follower and helper in Emily, a character portrayed by actress Lucy Griffiths. Although Emily isn't a character from the original comic books, she plays an important part on the series as one of the few characters on Preacher not yet touched by supernatural forces.

In an interview, Griffiths spoke about Emily and how she fits into Jesse's macabre life.

Emily is one of those character that doesn't appear in the comic books. How did you go about preparing for the role and creating her for the television show?

Well, the character was very clearly depicted by Sam [Catlin, the show's creator] in the breakdown and in the initial episode, which is what my audition was from. And really, I had everything I needed to work from what he'd written. But actually, to go above and beyond, while we were doing the second episode, he gave us little points about our characters, extra help and insight, which seemed unusual to me: it was really helpful.

So, in terms of her, I definitely did have in mind mothers, not necessarily single mothers, but largely single mothers, young mothers, in particular. I know someone who used to nanny and had her first baby when she was 24, I would think of her her when doing certain scenes and think what she would do and what she would be like. There was really a singular personal experience of watching people who have been a working single parent.

How would you best describe Emily?

Busy. She's obviously a single mother. And she's smart and she's intelligent, but she's not educated: she's not been to college. She has probably fairly basic qualifications, but she's overqualified for her life.

Emily seems to go out of her way to please Jesse. Why is she so devoted to Jesse and the church?

She can see some qualities in him which I think she finds rare in her experience. And she believes that he can change the town for the better, if he can change or if he can own his power.

Now that Jesse is, literally, a changed man, and coming into his powers, will that change the way that Emily eventually sees him?

No, because she doesn't really fully understand the nature of his power or the realities of it. She knows something's up and she's not sure what it is. She knows something is wrong and she's heard, obviously, that Jesse sent Eugene to hell. She doesn't know how that could be possible, but it's happened. And I think her mind's reeling with the possibility of it.

So, how is Emily's affair with Miles going to progress throughout the season?

Um ... well, unless one of them drops dead tomorrow, it's got to pay out, hasn't it?

Preacher seems to be about people searching for something. What do you think Emily is searching for?

I don't think she's searching for anything — I don't think she knows what she's searching for, and that's part of the problem. I think that she is desperate for a sense of purpose and belonging and value. And I think that she's so busy that she doesn't have that much time to herself to even think about what she might be searching for. I think she's just trying to survive. I think maybe that she doesn't realize maybe that she doesn't feel free. And I think maybe she's searching for that subconsciously.

Preacher airs on AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. EDT.

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