There’s no doubt about it, you can’t take your eyes off Reverend Paul on Filthy Rich. When he speaks, people listen, much to Margaret’s dismay sometimes. Reverend Paul definitely has some selfish tendencies when it comes to his career, and he’s definitely plotting behind Margaret’s back.
HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Aaron Lazar about what Reverend Paul has up his sleeve the rest of this season. Despite going head-to-head with Margaret, Aaron admitted that the Rev ultimately just wants to be accepted by her. He also discussed Reverend Paul’s thoughts about Ginger and Becky. Read our Q&A below.
Reverend Paul is definitely larger than life. How did you prepare to play him? Did you watch famous ministers?
Aaron Lazar: I was the last cast member to get cast and sort of thrown right into the deep end and didn’t have a ton of time to do a lot of research and work. I sort of did that as the season went on. I did as much as I could to keep developing this character. He’s a lot of fun. I watched a lot of preachers and a lot of ministers on YouTube. I had spent so much time in the car in LA traffic listening to Joel Osteen on Sirius XM Radio. This was years ago, and I was like, this guy’s interesting. He’s a really good speaker. He’s a very good speechwriter, and the stories about his father and how this church got started… I was like, I’d love to play Joel Osteen one day. And then this script comes across last year, and it’s like a sexy Joel Osteen, Christian music artist, and I was like, oh my God, it’s happening. It’s like full circle.
At the end of the episode, Reverend Paul is clearly plotting something to keep Margaret and Ginger at odds. What can you tease about what he’s cooking up behind the scene?
Aaron Lazar: Well, you meet some of the most powerful men in New Orleans in episode 3, and you also meet a guy at the end of the episode who seems to be
a little bit scary and a little bit shady. I can tell you that the Reverend is definitely involved with those guys, and it ends up being very interesting. If you’ve watched any of a show on Netflix called The Family, which is basically a documentary but they dramatize some of the scenes from it, it’s all about the Christian brotherhood of power in Washington D.C. So I can tease a little bit, but that has something to do with what the Reverend is getting into.
Reverend Paul and Margaret definitely have a push-pull dynamic. How will that dynamic evolve over the course of the season?
Aaron Lazar: As Margaret says, she found him preaching out of a double-wide and made him this big star. But we certainly think his star shines brighter than hers. His ministry is sort of the sexier side of the Sunshine Network. He’s very popular. His sister, Becky, is married to Margaret’s son, Eric, and I think the Rev wants to be accepted by Margaret as family, but Margaret is just not having it. They are kind of at odds with each other about who should have power, who should be in control of the network, and what direction the network should be headed in creatively. When the Rev sort of can’t get Margaret’s attention and compliance, he’s just going to do what he needs to do to get what he wants.
I feel like a lot of the friction is that he’s part of the new guard and new era of ministry, while she’s the old guard. That clash comes from her not wanting to forget the past, while he wants to move on into the future.
Aaron Lazar: I think that was cool for me. I mean, I’m a nice Jewish boy from New Jersey, so it was great getting into the whole world of like: what is today’s progressive Christian church? What does that look like? What are some of these ministries? Some of the preachers are really cool, man. There are some amazing churches out there doing some really cool stuff with some very dynamic personalities that are at the helm. I think you said it really well that the Rev is definitely looking towards the future, and Margaret is definitely based in what got them there up to this point. So they do clash as to what direction they see this network heading.
In the previous episode, after the whole Ginger and Margaret showdown, the Reverend seemed genuinely concerned about whether or not Ginger was okay. Could this be the start of a friendship or alliance between them?
Aaron Lazar: That’s a great question. I can’t say much about it, except to tune in, and you’ll definitely see the answer to that. In episode 2, you see that he’s impressed that Ginger knows a lot. Ginger knows a lot about Christianity, a lot about the Bible, which is one of the fun twists of her character. I think the Rev didn’t expect that and was really impressed by it. Also, he just thinks she’s a total star. So whether the Rev’s intentions are as honest as you give him credit for will become clear as the show goes on.
What can you say about the Rev’s relationship with his sister? They’re both in key positions with the Sunshine Network.
Aaron Lazar: It’s Shakespearean in that way. There are the people in power, and then there are the people who are right there next to them. You never know what they’re up to. I can say even less about that, except that you are in for such satisfying twists with Becky. The wild ride you’re going to go on with Becky is one of the more fun rides for the characters on the show. She is about to get really interesting.
Does the Reverend trust anyone? Does he even trust his sister?
Aaron Lazar: That’s a great question. And I’ve only been asked that question once before, and it sort of stumped me because I had never really had to think about that. I think what I have come to say about it is he doesn’t trust anybody. He only trusts himself. If there’s no other character that he trusts, he trusts God. That’s it. He doesn’t even trust the sister.