Perlman, Delany in Amazon’s ‘Hand of God’

HandofGod_S1_35_101_0170.CR2“Hand of God” (Amazon Prime, streaming) the latest online drama from the home of “Transparent,” starts crazily, with a powerful judge, played by Ron Perlman, found naked in a public fountain. He’s babbling about something — a religious transformation. But shaken by the rape of his daughter-in-law and near-death suicide of his son, he hears a celestial voice: That the son will spring from his coma once the rapist is found.

Perlman’s character goes on a religious warpath to do so, and some fly-by-night evangelicals take advantage of him along the way. The judge has never been a saint, but his wife, played by Dana Delany, has stood by him and is showing a little concern at this manic turn.

“Hand of God,” which was created by Ben Watkins (“Burn Notice”) and executive produced by director Marc Forster (“World War Z”), has quite a splendid cast that includes Garret Dillahunt as an addled soldier of god, Andrey Royo (“Bubbles” from “The Wire”) as the mayor, and Alona Tal as the daughter-in-law. And though I’ve not finished its 10 episodes, I can say it gets stronger as it goes along.

For her part, Delany says over the phone she’s enjoying working with Perlman, whom she’s known over the years but have never worked with. “He’s always playing these gruff, kind of scary guys, and underneath it all, he’s just a nice Jewish boy who is kind of a love bug actually.”

The actress who’s previously starred in “China Beach,” “Body of Proof” and “Desperate Housewives” — and who stars on French TV this fall in a miniseries based on Harlen Coben’s “No Second Chance” — enjoyed delving into the world of a limited, streaming series.

 “It’s great to do a show that’s only 10 episodes because then you have freedom to do other things,” Delany says. “So I can do theater, I can do movies, I can travel, which is my passion.”

At the same time, she wouldn’t mind “Hand of God” going on beyond its 10 original episodes. “I like Marc Forester a lot. I think he’s a really good filmmaker. He brings kind of a European sensibility to the piece that I think it’s really beautiful to look at, there’s kind of an elegance to it. Somehow that combination with Ben Watkins, the writer, he’s got this crazy mind, he’s already played out five seasons in his head. Some of the stuff he comes up with is like, Wow, OK! If that’s what you want to do. He has a very unique way of looking at the world.”

For his part, Watkins says, “I’m fascinated with the what I consider the concept that more than one thing can be true at once.”

Talking to reporters at the TV Critics Press Association summer press tour, Watkins says “the approach we wanted to take is that the answer can be one or the other. The answer could be multiple things. I wanted to give fodder for both sides of it. And that puts the audience in the position where they have to draw the conclusions. And I’m really interested to see how that happens because then the answer is different for everyone, and it’s really based on their beliefs, how they were brought up, and their agendas.”

Delany says she likes doing all of the episodes first and letting the season drop so viewers can watch them in a one-day binge if they so choose. “As an actor, it’s great. Because there’s nobody to interfere and say,  ‘we didn’t like that, change that.’ And Amazon as I’m sure you’ve read, are very hands off. They try to support people and whatever’s going to fulfill their creativity.”

The rest of the interview I did with Delany can be found here.

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