Godless and Roman J. Israel actress, Elisa Perry, talks new Netflix show and upcoming projects


Image credit: Courtesy of Netflix

In anticipation of Netflix’s Godless premiere, Elisa Perry sat down with us to talk about her role on the series, as well as which projects she’ll be in after.

Over the past week, Perry took the time to answer questions pertaining to her role in Netflix’s Godless series, which follows Western outlaw, Frank Griffin as he goes on the hunt for his ex-partner in crime, Roy Goode. In an attempt to shake Griffin off his tail, Goode hides out in the small town of La Belle. There, a town made up solely of women reside.

Elisa Perry Talks Netflix Series, Godless

Elisa Perry and Jessica Sula at Netflix’s Godless premiere

On Netflix’s Godless, Perry plays June Hobbs, the matriarch of the Hobbs family. She’ll be in a recurring role on the series, starting with Episode 3. When asked to elaborate on her character, Perry had this to say about June Hobbs and the Hobbs family:

"“I play June Hobbs, the matriarch of the Hobbs family. She has one daughter, Louise (Jessica Sula). Her husband is Elias (Erik LaRay Harvey).  June’s brother, John Randall (Rob Morgan) also joins them. The Hobbs family is one of the only African-American families who own land in the region, and they’re also a family with roots tied in to the 1800’s Buffalo Soldiers. Soldiers with a reputation of being upstanding individuals, likely to help in the fight against Griffin.”"

While Perry doesn’t reveal much, she does give the indication of the Hobbs family staying out of the fight for La Belle. With June’s top priority being to protect her family, she’ll feel hesitant to join the fight. Nevertheless, the women of La Belle are going to need all the help they can get when Griffin comes a calling. Hopefully, having patriotic individuals like the Hobbs family around will benefit the town’s residents in the long run.

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Once discussion of her role on Godless ran its course, Perry went on to tease at an interesting subplot involving her onscreen daughter, Louise. When asked to elaborate, Perry gave this brief tease:

"“An interesting friendship between Louise and Whitey springs up."

From Perry’s comments, we can discern one thing about Godless: it won’t merely follow the shootouts we expect of a Western gunslinger series. The lives of people in the midst of all this fighting are also going to be explored. People like Louise and Whitey are just two examples, but there’ll likely be more character centric arcs to explore—outside of the main conflict.

In addition to commenting on the series itself, Perry took the time to talk about her experience on set. Here’s what she had to say:

"“It was an amazing experience. Shooting with Scott Frank was wonderful even though it was quite long. The cast even started joking about changing the series’ name from Godless to Endless because it wouldn’t end. Was also extremely excited to work with Jeff Daniels. I’m a big fan of his theater work.”"

Apparently, Perry was quite enthusiastic about working with legendary director, Scott Frank. Despite having their shooting schedule extended, Perry noted that she had a wonderful time working with Frank. Perry also praised her opportunity to shoot with Jeff Daniels, who she seems to be a big fan of. She also spoke very highly of Daniels’ theater work, which seems to go by the wayside most of the time. Perhaps Perry’s praises will garner Daniels the type of credit he deserves.

Elisa Perry Talks Roman J. Israel And Personal Experiences

Elisa Perry at Roman J. Israel premiere

Following our discussion of Godless, Perry commented on her upcoming film roles. Her next appearance being in Roman J. Israel. In that film, she’ll be playing Felicity Ellerbee, one of the featured characters. When asked to describe Felicity’s role in the plot, Perry gave these comments as a response:

"“Felicity hires George Pierce’s (Colin Farrell) law firm to handle her nephew, Derrell’s (DeRon Horton) case. One in which Derell is being wrongfully accused of murder. Pierce passes on the case to Roman (Denzel Washington) to handle. Even after Roman promises to take care of Ellerbee and her family, she still grows weary of his intentions. But despite not trusting Roman or Pierce, she needs their help to save her nephew from prosecution. At that point, Felicity has invested practically everything she had into legal counsel for her nephew. Having built up a life, saved to buy a home, she gives it up for Derrell."

According to Perry, Felicity hires Pierce’s law firm to defend her nephew in court. Accused of murder, Derrell needs adequate representation. To get him the help he needs, Felicity invests everything she has in a defense team. In doing so, she gains Roman and Pierce’s help. Although, it’s unclear if their help will be worth the sacrifices Felicity makes.

Perry added that her role in Roman J. Israel hit quite close to home, encountering issues kin to her character from the film:

"“For me, playing Felicity was like life imitating art. My nephew was experiencing similar issues and did everything I could to get him fair counsel in Philadelphia. I called every attorney in Philly, along with five of the most high profile lawyers in the city to make sure he was treated fairly.”"

Usually, actors have to do quite a bit of practicing to get into character for roles like Perry’s. But for Perry, she had real world experiences to recall on. With her own nephew finding trouble in the legal system, Perry wound up in the same position as Felicity. Allowing Perry to truly place herself in Felicity’s shoes gave her a sense of character most actors struggle to achieve. That said, Perry’s experience on and off camera is one that effects many others.

The judicial system constantly places Americans in positions where they need adequate counsel, but are unable to acquire it. Generally, attorney fees aren’t cheap. Individuals who don’t have a large savings to dig into have to give up their homes and everything they own, just to pay for a decent defense team. When they can’t, people have to rely on public defenders—and their form of legal counsel can only do so much.

Public defenders usually receive a high quantity of cases to cover, which means they can only dedicate so much time to each one. As a result, individuals who need their legal counsel to go the extra mile to prove their innocence, can’t rely on a public defender to do so. Therefore, the costs fall on individuals and their families to pay for legal defense who can do just that, defend them. Fortunately, Perry’s family was allowed some resolution—without losing too much, but not every individual is as lucky.

After Roman J. Israel, Perry Moves On To Ready Player One And Ad Astra

As for Perry’s future projects, Elisa Perry will be taking on a bit part in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One and then Ad Astra shortly after. Perry briefly describes her role in Ready Player One as one of the shoppers in the future.

"“It’s a bit part in the film. My character is one of the shoppers seen in the future.”"

For those unfamiliar, Ready Player One takes place in a semi-realistic version of Earth 2045. In this world, a virtual reality called the Oasis reigns supreme. Most of the population dives deep into Oasis, leaving the real world behind. Perry’s character, however, will be one of the people in the real world. The context surrounding her appearance hasn’t been revealed, meaning we can only guess when and how we’ll see her.

In 2019, Perry will take on a bigger role in Ad Astra, with Brad Pitt. The movie follows Roy McBride as he ventures into space to rescue his father. But before Roy goes into space, he’ll need The Woman In White Pants (Elisa Perry) to help him get there.

If you’re wondering whether or not there’s a bigger significance to Perry’s character name, you’d be right to do so. When asked about this aspect of her character, Perry had this to say:

"“The reason why my character doesn’t have a name is because the world has become very, very boring. It’s a gray world. When you see her, you’ll know why she’s called the Woman In White Pants.”"

Without inferring too much from what Perry said, it appears as if the futuristic universe of Ad Astra will be a plain version of the Matrix. Rather than all black getups, we can probably count on most characters wearing generic tops and bottoms. Although, we should keep our minds open to this gray world being completely different from our initial expectations.

Next: Here's everything that's coming and leaving Netflix in December 2017

Where Will Perry Go Next?

Where Perry will go after Ad Astra is anyone’s guess, but she obviously has the momentum of someone who truly wants to become one of the best at her craft, so the possibilities are endless. Perry herself, mentioned that she’s eager to take on more quality, which means we should anticipate seeing her in more high profile projects like Ready Player One. All things considered, Elisa Perry is one actress we should be on the lookout for in the next few years.

Netflix’s Godless series premieres November 23, 2017. Roman J. Israel is currently in theaters everywhere. Ready Player One opens in theaters on March 30, 2018. Ad Astra will be released on January 11, 2019.