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‘Parish’ Stars Giancarlo Esposito, Skeet Ulrich On Crafting A Show “Rich In Soul”


There’s at least one extended scene from AMC‘s Parish that didn’t make it into the final cut of the series.

During Deadline’s Contenders TV panel on Saturday, star Skeet Ulrich told the story of one 15-minute take where he and co-star Giancarlo Esposito ad-libbed far past where the cameras were supposed to stop rolling.

“The cut starts there, where he shoves me,” he said of the scene, the final version of which does see the pair going at it — verbally, at least. “But in one of them, I shove him back … well, he slipped off of this bank into the water. And I’m like, ‘Oh man, I think I just lost my job.’ So I reached down to grab him. He’s ad-libbing so far, and I reached out to grab him up, and he pulls me in.”

The pair continued to improvise for several more minutes before they reached what they felt should be the conclusion of the scene, when the crew erupted into applause, Ulrich said.

“Unfortunately, it’s not there [in the show], but in our hearts, it’s there,” he joked.

RELATED: Contenders TV – Deadline’s Full Coverage

Based on the British series The Driver, Parish follows Esposito as a taxi driver whose life is altered when he agrees to transport a Zimbabwean gangster mostly known for exploiting undocumented immigrants at the southern U.S. ports.

According to Esposito, who also executive produces the series, Parish took more than eight years to make. He shopped the idea around to several networks before it landed at AMC — fitting, considering the actor said he considers AMC to be “family” after working on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Shooting in New Orleans brought a hauntedness and authenticity that was needed for the series, Esposito said.

“You can have all the good and all the life, but you also have all the dark. For me, it was a great analogy for who Gray Parish really is in this moment that we meet him, and we want to see him move from one place to another and our audience to follow in that way,” he explained. “So in that way, it’s very rich. Rich in color … rich in music, rich in food as well, but rich in soul.”

Check back Monday for the panel video.



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