After Preacher returns with its second episode “See,” on Sunday Night, where Jesse (Dominic Cooper) unveils his new lease on life and embraces his role as the Preacher. Not that everyone in the town of Annville will make it easy for him, including his ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and those mysterious out-of-towners.
While Jesse doesn’t come close to having a full grip on his powers immediately going into the episode, expect to see some self-discovery throughout the episode. We quickly learn that everyone in Annville has a motive, and many of those motives revolve around Jesse. For Tulip, it’s all about getting Jesse out of the clergy and back on the road to revenge.
We spoke with actress Ruth Negga on Tulip’s unforgettable introduction, what makes her so likeable for the audience, and her complicated history with Jesse.
The TV Junkies: Before taking on the role of Tulip, were you familiar with the comic book series?
Ruth Negga: I knew of it, but I hadn’t read them. I quickly read all of them straight through, I couldn’t wait, and completely fell in love with them and Garth Ennis’s work. I was blown away by their unapologetic twist on humanity, which was my kind of thing, so to get to work on it was unbelievable.
TTVJ: What drew you to the character of Tulip in particular?
RN: I love the way she doesn’t censor herself. She feels what she feels and she’s unapologetic about it. I’m drawn to people like that because I think that’s incredibly brave and also unique. I love the way that she’s written and how Sam Catlin, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have created a character with many facets to her. So often you read scripts with women and they’re flat, 2D and with little substance. I thought this would be an incredible opportunity.
TTVJ: Her first scene was definitely one of the greatest character introductions I’ve seen on TV in a long time.
RN: It’s funny, isn’t it? People are really nervous when I eat corn now.
TTVJ: I think that little girl spoke for us all when she screamed “Awesome!”
RN: I loved that. I had that feeling when I saw it, I thought that’s so brilliant because they’re basically putting on screen what everyone is feeling, which is in awe of this incredible moment. What’s incredible is they’ve managed to have Tulip essentially kill loads of people and you fall in love with her. That’s master storytelling to me.
TTVJ: There is a lot of depth to the show. For me, Tulip has become the most compelling character to watch.
RN: I think people reach to her so positively because there’s something really lovely about people who are completely themselves. They might not be comfortable or happy, but they’re unapologetic about who they are. It’s quite freeing to watch her own who she is, as flawed and damaged as she is. She’s not going to let anyone make her smaller or diminish her because of those things.
TTVJ: In the Pilot you get the sense that there’s a deep history between her and Jesse. How is their relationship explored as the series progresses?
RN: You get more insight into how they grew up together and their history together as children. That gives you a glimpse into who they’ve become and how they’ve evolved into who they evolve into. You understand a little more why she is the way she is and it’s super tender and touching. When I read that script I bawled my eyes out because you saw a vulnerability to her that she tries to hide as an adult. You root for her even more. My natural instinct is to nourish her, even though she would hate that, because she’s obvious a bit damaged.
I think people will learn why she is the way she is and also how deep rooted their connection is and what they mean to each other. You’ll realize that Jesse is maybe the only one who’s ever stood up for Tulip in her life. She’s a very independent person, but I think that has stayed with her, that fidelity that he has towards her, that friendship has resonated with her. They’re soulmates, essentially. In a nut shell.
TTVJ: How did you go about creating that chemistry with Dominic Cooper?
RN: Chemistry’s a funny thing. I think it happens when two people are invested in their character development and in doing a good job. I think that naturally informs your relationship on camera. You both want to do a really good job and so you naturally look after one another, you want the other to do well, and that leads to a special sort of connection. I think it’s organic, I don’t think you can learn it. It’s not a learned behaviour. There’s a strange alchemy that happens when people act on set and, if you’re lucky, it’s good.
TTVJ: What can fans expect for Tulip and Jesse this season on Preacher?
RN: Expect the unexpected. This show sucker punches you and nothing I’ve read is like this. It’s as faithful to the comics as can be and what it’s most faithful to is the extraordinariness of those comics. It’s a rollercoaster ride, it’s fun, it’s inquisitive and it’s touching as well. It ticks all the boxes of a fantastic show.
Will you be tuning in for more Tulip this season? Sound off in the comments section below.
Associate Editor Kelly Townsend always had strong opinions on TV growing up, so it was only natural to evolve from couch musings to online journalism. She can't ever choose a favorite series, so please don't ask. Her writing has also appeared on IndieWire and Tribute.ca. You can find her on Twitter at @kellybtownsend.