Anatol Yusef And Tom Brooke On Playing Preacher's Strangest Duo DeBlanc And Fiore

Preacher - DeBlanc and Fiore
(Photo: AMC)

The second episode Preacher, "See," aired last night on AMC and introduced audiences to two of the series oddest characters yet, DeBlanc and Fiore. The two made brief appearances in the Preacher pilot, but "See" gave us the first sense of why these mysterious characters have come to Annville.

Though they claim to be government agents, there's clearly something a little off about the duo. caught up with actors Anatol Yusef (DeBlanc) and Tom Brooke (Fiore) to gain some insight into the unorthodox team.

DeBlanc and Fiore have a definite interest in this entity that has possessed Jesse Custer. What can you tell me about their relationship to the entity?

Anatol Yusef: They are on a mission to retrieve it, and they believe that it's their job to do so, and if they don't, there's going to be some big problems for them and across the board.

Tom Brooke: Yes. I'm going to say "what he said" while I can do that. I just think that's very succinctly put and it doesn't give anything away, and I don't want to mess it up.

What kind of role would you say that DeBlanc and Fiore play in Preacher? Are they strictly antagonist, or villains, or could they possibly be allies to Jesse Custer? Does that role shift throughout the season?

AY: I think their role primarily is to represent, story-wise, the otherworldly and the unseen, which plays such a huge role in Preacher. That's the primary role, and they will shift between antagonist and allies and all those kind of things, but at the moment, they're antagonists to Jesse because they want what he has. Beyond that, their primary role story-wise is they're the first characters, I think, we meet who might be from another place and a place that is, as the story goes on, very important to Preacher.

TB: Yeah, they introduce an element of innocence and naiveté that doesn't crop up a huge amount in the other characters in the series, so that's quite fun to play with.

Was it particularly challenging to play such otherworldly characters, particularly when they're defining what "otherworldly" means for a brand new series?

AY: Yeah. It was. Initially, because we were reactive characters, really. What was appealing, for both of us, was that they were kind of set down on the Earth bewildered, much like babies, and learning things for the first time, but also much like humans feel a lot of the time like they don't really know what's going on. Just trying to bumble through, so that was recognizable. The specifics of it were awkward, but as the season goes on and they establish themselves as characters, there's more to be found about who they are and where they're from. Also at this point, they're not interested in revealing anything as characters. Their mission is they just want to get in and get out, at this point in the story. As the season goes on, things change.

TB: Also, we found at the beginning I didn't really know what they were. Because you only did a script at a time, every time we got a new script, I'd be like, "Oh, okay. They say that or they do that, so they're that kind of person." By episode 4 maybe, I began to go, "Oh, okay. This is how they want these to seem, to look, to be." Early on for me, it was just a case of showing them stuff, acting a certain thing in a certain way, until ultimately like, "No, not so much that, more a bit like this." So you'd know more about what they want than what they were until the scripts came through and you'd settle into it. In the beginning, no one really knew, did they?

AY: No, I don't think they did. I think both of us played different characters throughout the thing, really, which is also fitting of their character in a way, as they're trying to figure out this planet that they've been thrust upon. We played different characters all the way through, which is a combination of actors and creatives trying to find what it was. Also the general tone of the piece, but also was reflective of DeBlanc and Fiore's experience, of the world that they've been thrust into. Like always with these things, they kind of work themselves out, and you just learn to get out of its way as much as you can.

I find it interesting just how much of your characters you discovered during the filming process. How were the characters pitched to you originally?

AY: The attractive thing to me was that they were babies thrust on the Earth. They were from this other world, and until they arrived on the planet, they ... certainly DeBlanc felt a superiority to humans and human life because they'd watched so much. I imagined DeBlanc as a bit of a George Carlin character, finding their futility and the silliness and can't understand why they keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Like Carlin, the problem is that they've still got to be human, and that's when all his great stuff he did about war and the environment, that's when it slightly changes. That was my idea on who they were, that they came from a higher place and had these high ideals or whatever it is. Then they were put on planet Earth and they couldn't make a cup of tea. That was what was interesting about them.

TB: I was just worried that I was going to get stuck in an American series doing nothing. Originally they were going to make 13 and they offered 10 episodes out of 13. I don't even know if they're in 10 scenes in the comics. I asked them, "How are you going to offer that much when there's so little of them in the books?" They said, "Don't worry about that, we're not doing the books." So I thought, "All right, then," and that was all right, really. "All right, then, whatever." I love it. "All right, then. Just do it."

Is it safe then to say that your versions of DeBlanc and Fiore are going to be significantly different than the DeBlanc and Fiore of the comics, and perhaps a bit unfamiliar to fans of the comics?

AY: Yes and no, in a way because ... we made this point before, but this is a prequel to the beginning of the comics, so a lot happens to them in this season, but there's a lot of scope for them to become whatever as time goes on. There'll be elements of the comic in their character as time goes on.

TB: Yeah, also these two characters in the series are [executive producers Sam Catlin, and Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg's] take on those 2 characters from the books ... but this whole series is Sam and Seth and Evan's take on the books. They're not the books, they're the version of the books that three die-hard fans of the books have come up with. One of the amazing things about the series is that it's very much like the books, but it's also so different. Glaringly different to the books. They've really walked that line really carefully, and they've done so much new stuff, but at the same time, it's immediately recognizable as the same story. Not just because of the characters, but because of the feel of the thing. They've done that really beautifully.

Is filming a Quentin Tarantino-esque fight scene involving a vampire and a chainsaw as much fun as it looks and sounds, or did that have its own unique set of challenges?

AY: Did it look fun on screen?

It looked pretty fun to me.

AY: Well, that's all that matters.

TB: Yeah. We worked really hard, and we felt really good at the end of the day. It was our first day, it took a whole day. The stunt guys were amazing, so yeah, job done, really.

Now that Sheriff Root is aware of their presence in Annville, what's the next step for DeBlanc and Fiore?

AY: The next step is just simply how do they get to Jesse? How do they get this thing that's in Jesse, and get it out and take it back where they think it belongs? That's all their mission is currently. That's their primary objective, and their only objective at this point.

TB: Yeah, they're finding different ways to achieve their objective. If one fails, they'll try and find another one, and then they go, and on and on and on.

You've compared DeBlanc and Fiore to children in how they're experiencing the human world for the first time. Similarly, the object of their mission, this mysterious entity, has also been represented in a childlike fashion, using a baby's laughter and cries. Is this a reflection at all of the relationship shared between DeBlanc and Fiore and the entity, or how they interact or is this just something that's developing now because it is taking place on the mortal plane of existence?

AY: It's both, and that's one element of their relationship, but it's not the element. It's one element, and their relationship evolves the more time they spend on Earth, and the more we find out about where they're from, both and individually as time goes on. That's as vague as I can be.


TB: I'd go with that.

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