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Andy McQueen On His Genre-Bending Show Mrs. Davis - Exclusive Interview

Contains significant spoilers for "Mrs. Davis" 

Fans love a good genre-bending TV show, and Peacock's new series "Mrs. Davis" is filling that void. Between heavy action, comedy, unique takes on history and religion, and a heavy dose of sci-fi and AI components, the Betty Gilpin-led series has it all. Though the series certainly has homages to projects that have come before, fans will tear through the eight episodes of the show with the sentiment that they've never seen anything quite like it. Part of that goes out to writers Tara Hernandez and Damon Lindelof and the series' directors, but the cast takes it to the next level.

Andy McQueen plays the character Jay, who — spoiler alert — turns out to be none other than Jesus himself. His scenes primarily revolve around Betty Gilpin's character Simone, and his performance is certainly memorable. McQueen comes from TV projects like "Outer Banks," "Coroner," and "Station 11"; he's also been known to take on film roles in movies like "Fahrenheit 451." Looper spoke to him during an exclusive interview where he broke down his role in "Mrs. Davis," the historic inspirations of the show, and what it was like working with Gilpin.

Tackling history and religion

This show is a fascinating mashup of history, religion, and science fiction. How do you think this setup enhances storylines and offer something for everyone?

It offers something for everyone because it's as everybody's been saying: It's genre-bending. It has comedy, there's drama, there's heartbreak, and it's such a wild ride, as we've been saying. You are watching seven and a half episodes [at once] — that's proof in the pudding.

The show has a pretty unique and tangible take on religion. What do you think the series offers to both religious fans and atheists alike?

At the core of it all, what I hope people see or understand or glean from it is, at its heart, it's a love story. It's about connection — about human connection, about love, about belief, whatever your belief system may be. It's about connection; how I approached it was the same way. It is a love story at its core, so it's very cool to be a part of.

Jesus has historically been whitewashed in modern depictions. From a representation standpoint, what does it mean to you to get to play a more historically accurate iteration of Jesus that reclaims that history?

Personally, I never saw it as being Jesus. I just saw it as a love story between Simone and Jay. It's cool to see the representation more historically accurate than [in] the past, but getting lost in those ideas of the historical element of it would've taken me away from what, at its core, it was. I didn't want to also ... We're not trying to offend anyone in this interpretation, and the character of Jay was handled with such care and so thoughtful[ly] when Tara [Hernandez] and Damon [Lindelof] were breaking those stories.

I love the concept of nuns quite literally being married to Jesus in this show. How do you think the show can impact how we look at and translate the meaning of texts and the things that we read in pop culture?

Interesting — this is the first interview that I'm doing with someone who has seen so much of it. Again, I hope what we can learn from all of this is ... It's Simone's journey down this path with Wiley and with Jay. It's this wild adventure. But I hope that people can see the humor and love in the story specifically. I don't know if this is answering your question — it's so hard to answer it and try not to ... I don't want to offend anybody with anything. Every day we went to work, I approached it as this guy who was in love with somebody, so I hope that doesn't offend people.

The joys of one scene partner

You basically only work with Betty Gilpin throughout the show. What have been some of the highlights of working with her? Do you have any fun stories from set?

That was the best experience of my entire life. As an actor, I had such a great time. It was a masterclass going to work and working with Betty. I was so nervous going into it because it's Betty Gilpin, and that can be intimidating, but she was so ... This was definitely that opportunity, and this was definitely that experience for me. She's incredible at what she does and so giving, and every time we did a scene, it was different every take. Even when the camera wasn't on her, she was still alive. It was everything that I ever dreamed of as a kid, and all the reasons that I love acting and I love playing in the sandbox. That experience on "Mrs. Davis" was the dream of a lifetime. It was great.

The cool thing about your character is that he's hyper-focused in one set, and he's only working with one other character. What was the experience like of only having one scene partner to bounce off of, and how did that enhance your performance?

Interestingly enough, because it all takes place in a specific location, it allowed me to have a full understanding of this character in terms of his relation to Simone, played by Betty. Every time we went to set, or we went to work, it was, at its core, the love and respect that they had for one another and the caring nature of Jay and how he always wants to make sure that she's okay. Again, working with Betty Gilpin was an incredible experience, and it was ... It's hard not to compare it to other things going forward, that experience. It's really a lot of fun.

Are there any actors or characters that you wish your character had the chance to interact with during the show?

Absolutely. There's a bunch, but if I had to pick one, I'd say JQ [played by Chris Diamantopoulos].

The most chaotic character in the show, for sure ... Are there any plotlines that you like from the show that you wish you got to dip your toes into?

The one that I got to play in was a lot of fun, and that's where I'd like to stay with it. As much fun as everybody else was having ... Obviously, what was happening at Falafel's was very different. I loved being in that emotional place.

The holy grail of TV shows

Did you learn how to cook at all, or did you know how to cook already?

Well, I would tell you yes, and then my wife would tell you no, so I won't lie. I'm pretty basic when it comes to cooking. I wish I did know more, but I did get lessons [on] how to chop stuff on set, and that was a lot of fun.

"Mrs. Davis" also puts its own spin on the search for the holy grail. Is that a story that ever interested you prior to the show?

Absolutely. It's every kid's action adventure [or] dream, which is cool because I got to do another action adventure not too long ago called "Outer Banks." This one is different, but it's a lot of fun. Everything that I could have dreamed of as a kid was baked into this entire experience.

I get little hints of "Monty Python" inspiration throughout the show. Is that something that anyone ever talked about on set, or were there any other projects or performances that helped inspire the cast or the show as a whole?

I couldn't really speak to that ... That would be more so Betty and Jake [who] could talk to that more, only because it's very different where I'm at.

Due to the heavy historical and religious nature of the series, how much research, if any, and deep dives did you do to prepare? Or did you want to go in it blind on that front and take your own spin on it?

I approached it like I would approach any other character, with care and with being very thoughtful and understanding of what was happening — what he wants, what he needs to do to get it — and how that worked when getting to work with Betty. [We were] seeing how we could approach the scene with objectives and obstacles and what's all the in-between, what's the subtext.

The writing was incredible. Looking for clues within the text and going from there and getting to be opposite Betty was all that ... being as prepared as possible and then going in and doing the work.

The show is wild from start to finish. Did you get the scripts all at once, or was it periodic?

I got the first two scripts. I started to get drafts as we went along when I got the job, because I got it a little bit further down the road than everybody else. I came in a little late to the game.

Did anything surprise you in that journey of reading the script?

The whole script is always a surprise. Every scene, every page turn, it's a new surprise, and it's definitely ... Damon said this in an interview somewhere, where if you had taken the first four scripts and fed it to ChatGPT, it would combust. That's a cool way to look at it. There is nothing that is expected when you're reading those scripts or when you're watching the show itself.

When tech and AI take over

That's an interesting quote for the nature of this show, being so surrounded by technology and this AI component.

Yeah, and it's getting ... It seems like it's creeping up more and more. I read an article today that said that it's not enough to be [on] a hiatus for AI. It needs to be shut down. It's [a] very strange time we're living in, and our show reflects that.

Your character is pretty intense but also really loving. What are your thoughts on his motivations, and would you classify him as a hero, a villain, or a neutral character?

I would classify him as someone who wants to help Simone the best way that he can, the best way that he knows how, and to care for her and to be there for her, and to also listen to her, a great sounding board. I wouldn't say he's the hero of the story — the hero of the story is Simone. At the same time, their relationship is so special, and he's the guiding light.

It's interesting that we see his perspective and these indoctrinated [beliefs] he's been dealing with for 2,000 years and see how she shifts them a little bit with a modern way of thinking. What are your thoughts on that and how people can change because of how someone else impacts their life?

That's so interesting, and I'd never thought of that until you said it. It is such a great thing that Jay has changed throughout his journey with Simone, specifically, as well because he loves her at his core. I love that two people, regardless of [the] historical element of it ... At its core, these two people have found each other, and they both are able to positively influence one another.

Is there anything that you wanted to add about this project or anything that you have coming up?

I can't wait for people to see this. I'm glad that you've seen what you've seen because this is the first one of its kind, so it's very cool. I can't wait to see how people receive this show because Tara and Damon — and everybody from all of the writers and the cast and the crew — have put such beautiful work into this show, and I'm so proud to be a part of it.

The first four episodes of "Mrs. Davis" are now streaming on Peacock.

This interview has been edited for clarity.