Jennifer Nettles Interview: ‘The Righteous Gemstones’
“I call him the godfather of southern storytelling in TV and film,” Jennifer Nettles says about Danny McBride, who created and stars in “The Righteous Gemstones,” on which she recurs as his late mother. “Aimee-Leigh is pretty natural to me, once I tapped into my Southern Baptist roots,” she reveals in her exclusive interview with Gold Derby about playing the matriarch on the HBO comedy (watch the video above).
Aimee-Leigh Gemstone features heavily in the 20-years-ago flashback episode titled “Interlude” that aired in the middle of the first season. Nettles explains, “They were realizing that they wanted to add in a little diversity, that they wanted to veer off from the direct story line and offer a little backstory of how this family came to be, because in addition to this being obviously a story that has commentary on religion, it has commentary on hypocrisy, it has so much — it’s also a story of family. That’s the biggest context.” She says about her role, “Aimee-Leigh was their rock and is definitely the most sympathetic.”
Half of the country music duo Sugarland, Nettles is a three-time Grammy winner who has ventured into acting in recent years with roles in the likes of “Harriet” and the Dolly Parton NBC movies. Nettles says about performing opposite Walton Goggins, who plays Aimee-Leigh’s brother, “I learned more from my scene work with him than I have in any of the training, in any of the workshops, in any of the classes and in any of the productions that I have been a part of prior to this.” She continues, “When he starts going, you are best served to start going with him and that was my first experience, in terms of on TV and film, with any improvisation in that way and he is fantastic at it and it was so much fun — so much fun. He really brings it to life.”
“I’m doing a lot of writing right now in terms of music; I’m working on a musical, which has been super rewarding and such a fantastic escape because it’s otherworldly,” Nettles reveals about some of her other current projects, as she is “still waiting” for her schedule and the relevant scripts from the second season of “The Righteous Gemstones.” She teases, “It is about a real, historical, marginal woman.”