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Ron Perlman is a Hollywood veteran with an extensive and impressive resume. But that’s not the only thing that made him appealing to Hand of God creator Ben Watkins (Burn Notice).
“The clinching factor for us was when he said he was scared,” Watkins said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour Monday. “Not that he didn’t want to play the role, but he was scared of what it would entail.”
Indeed, Perlman’s latest role is unique mix of legal, mystery and supernatural elements. He stars in the Amazon drama as a hard-living, law-bending married judge who suffers a mental breakdown and goes on a vigilante quest to find the rapist who ripped his family apart. He begins to rely on visions and messages he believes are being sent by God through his comatose son.
Coming off of his celebrated turn on FX’s long-running hit Sons of Anarchy, Ron Perlman knew what he wanted to do next. Or more specifically, he knew what he didn’t want to do.
“For me, the notion of just having a gig that kind of reflects a bunch of stuff I’ve already kind of visited upon doesn’t have nearly as much resonance as coming into something that is a pure adventure where there’s no playbook for it, there’s no precedent,” said Perlman.
“That fact that Amazon was able to meet that head on and celebrate the originality of it and how in your face and uncompromising it is with their own set of uncompromising values and resources — this is the most exciting period I’ve ever seen in television and its probably the most exciting place to be if you’re a storyteller.”
Perlman was effusive in his praise for the online retail company, which has left a big mark on the TV industry in 2015 thanks to original series like Transparent, which received two Golden Globes in January, 11 Emmy nominations and was recently renewed for a third season.
“[Amazon is] diving in with the biggest splash the only thing that allows them to grab the attention of the audience out there is originality so that’s where you want to be,” said Perlman. “It’s the reason why coming from another phenomenal little dream factory called FX, I was insistent on… seeing if it was possible for lightening to strike twice, and at Amazon, its just kind of been a love affair.”
Dana Delany, who plays the judge’s wife, also gave Amazon high marks after her many years spent on network TV (China Beach, Desperate Housewives and most recently Body of Proof). “They do give you freedom,” she said. “For women, there’s always that thing on network television of the likability factor and that’s something that Amazon really never mentioned and really was against it, I think.”
More similar to the many other serialized series on the air, Watkins fielded questions about when viewers will get answers to Hand of God‘s biggest questions – particularly who the rapist is, which “will finally pay off in episode 10,” according to Watkins.
However, he also warned that not all viewers will reach the same conclusions. “I’m fascinated with what I consider the concept that more than one thing can be true at once,” said Watkins. “It’s really based on their beliefs, how they were brought up and their agendas.”
The first season of Hand of God will premiere Sept. 4 on Amazon Prime.
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