The series “The Righteous Gemstones”, broadcast in France on OCS and led by the brilliant Danny McBride, has just started its second season. A hilarious and sometimes frightening dive into the world of star evangelists in the United States, which we spoke about with its creator and actress Cassidy Freeman.
The Righteous Gemstones, delirious series by Danny McBride
HBO loves family stories and often makes big TV hits. Shows like the monument immediately come to mind The Sopranos and currently the exceptional Succession, which we can now compare, all proportions kept and in a very different genre, The Righteous Gemstones, series created, written, produced and performed by Danny McBride. Broadcast in France on OCS, this series, which swings between comedy and thriller, focuses on a family of star evangelical pastors and the phenomenon of mega churchs in the United States, where religion is a spectacle like any other.
Funny, full of dark humor, served by a beautiful cast, the series began its second season on OCS on January 10, 2022. On this occasion, we were able to ask a few questions to Danny McBride (Jesse Gemstone) and actress Cassidy Freeman (Amber Gemstone).
Meet Danny McBride and Cassidy Freeman
For latecomers who do not discover The Righteous Gemstones that now can you introduce your characters?
Cassidy Freeman : Amber Gemstone is very self-confident and dogmatic, and quite a pastor’s wife. She comes from a humble background, and she did everything to get to where she is today. She loves her husband and children, and she desires to see them rise again and be successful. And for that, she is ready for anything!
Danny McBride : Jesse Gemstone is the eldest son of the great pastor Eli Gemstone (John Goodman), so he is in pole position to take over. But obviously he didn’t do anything to deserve it, he’s a mediocre pastor who never did anything exceptional. He doesn’t really have any talent, but he pretends as best he can to give the illusion, and try to exist in this family who is very exposed in public life.
Can we say that you are one of the funniest but also the most hateful families in the history of series?
D.M. : (laughs) You know, I have a very heavy tendency to work on shows that feature loathsome characters, and Jesse Gemstone is maybe not the most loathsome, compared to what I have done before. . But yes, I imagine that you can define Gemstones like this!
The high quality of The Righteous Gemstones, it’s his balance between comedy and thriller, we go from laughter to fear in the blink of an eye. How do you create this permanent slippage?
D.M. : That’s the funniest part, thinking about how to find that balance. We don’t really have a miracle recipe for navigating between these different genres, but both actors and writers we are constantly trying to find that in-between. How do you keep the audience engaged when you constantly slide from one tone to another? We cling to that, because in this way we offer a unique experience, a show where anything can happen at any time. But not only on plot twists, also on these sudden changes of tones.
This is what motivates us, what makes us laugh, put the audience in a comic phase and send them a sucker punch with something serious or destructive. I have a particular sensitivity, and that’s what I’m also looking for as a spectator. Not everyone likes it, but I love it.
C.F. : Yes that’s exactly it, we work with a scenario that allows these shifts, and on the days when we shoot, we create with this freedom. There is thus a form of truth, of authenticity, it’s like filling in a text with holes, it gives realism and that’s why it’s both funny and scary, that we manage to have several genres in the same sequence.
Do you have a particular memory of the shooting of the first season?
D.M : Regarding the first season, I still have in mind the night spent with John Goodman and Adam Devine in a wave pool to baptize people, which is the opening scene of the first episode. It was really great fun! But there are others, working with the whole team of The Righteous Gemstones is a privilege, the cast, the technicians, they are people that I admire so every working day is special.
What to expect for this new season? More chaos?
D.M : I’m not going to reveal anything, but there are a lot of unexpected things that are going to happen in this new season. It begins as an exploration, understanding where Eli comes from and where he is going to go, or rather how far he is ready to go. This is the main theme of the series, but there’s also a lot of madness and mess that happens! It’s even exhausting to watch (laughs)!
The Righteous Gemstones S2 is broadcast on OCS in US + 24, from January 10, 2022.