‘The Righteous Gemstones’ – How Danny McBride cast the series

Chemistry on screen and off

Danny McBride, star and executive producer of ‘The Righteous Gemstones’ Sunday on HBO


Q: Did your chemistry with Cassidy Freeman, who plays your character Jesse’s wife Amber on “The Righteous Gemstones,” come immediately?

A: You know, when you’re casting something like this, you’re obviously trying to find the best person for the role. But in that short period of time that you’re given to sort of be in the same room together when people are auditioning, you try your best to assess like what the actor’s personality is like, if it would be copacetic. And we really were lucky with Cassidy that she is just so talented, so funny, so smart but also just a great person to have to spend 12 hours a day with as well.

And that is sort of the prerequisite for anyone who comes in and works with us, is that you’ve got to want to spend time with them and be cool, and Cassidy is very cool. And I think that that sort of people genuinely liking each other off screen I think helps with the chemistry on screen.

Q: Is there room for a lot of improv in shooting the show?

A: You definitely can. We’re not afraid of improv at all and it’s not something that obviously if someone doesn’t feel comfortable doing anything it’s not required. … But I love for actors to come in and put their spin on things or add things to it. I feel like it’s part of what’s cool about the collaboration of creating film or television – the idea that you can have so many voices and everyone can sort of add to it. I don’t know, it’s what’s unique about this as an art form.

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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