Ron Perlman talked about being both thrilled and terrified when he first read the script for Amazon’s new series “Hand of God” during the Los Angeles premiere at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel on Wednesday night.
“I’d never quite seen writing like this, I’d never ran into a character that is as emotionally compromised as mine is,” Perlman said. “I’ve never been quite so scared and then compelled to say, ‘If you don’t take this part you’re a p—y.'”
Perlman plays Judge Pernell Harris, who goes on a vigilante tear when he believes God is speaking to him through his comatose son.
“It touches upon everything that I find interesting about human behavior, especially when it is under a great deal of pressure,” Perlman said.
Ben Watkins, the creator and writer of “Hand of God,” said the inspiration for the show came from a fascination with zealotry. “I wanted to focus on how an individual can become powerful if they become singularly obsessed with something,” he said. “That’s where I got into this idea of ‘insane or inspired.'”
“Hand of God” was one of the shows picked up during Amazon’s third pitch season, in which pilots are made and picked up to season based on Amazon customer reaction. At first Watkins was apprehensive about this idea, but it grew on him. “My first reaction was ‘what the f–k?'” Watkins said. “Very quickly I came around to it, because no matter what, what you make is going to be seen.”
Alona Tal, who plays Perlman’s stepdaughter fighting to get her comatose husband’s life support pulled, said that the closeness between fans and creators is bigger than ever. “The accessibility is huge,” Tal said. “To be able to get that immediate reaction from the fans, and for them to know that we’re listening or that Amazon is listening, is priceless.”
There was still fun to be had despite the serious nature of the show. Perlman posed with a handful of people on the red carpet dressed like his character, judge robes and Ron Perlman masks included. Drinks were served both before, to the sound of a church choir singing music from the show, and after the screening of the first two episodes at the after-party.
The show also stars Dana Delany, Garret Dillahunt and Andre Royo and was directed and produced by Marc Forster. Also in attendance were Amazon’s Roy Price and Morgan Wandell.
“Hand of God” debuts all 10 episodes of its first season on Friday, Sept. 4, exclusively to Amazon Prime members.
(Pictured: Ron Perlman among many Ron Perlmans at the “Hand of God” premiere)