In the Season 2 finale of Paramount+’s Evil, Katja Herbers‘ Kristen confessed to newly ordained priest David (Mike Colters) what viewers had known for quite some time: that she’d murdered serial killer Orson LeRoux and gotten away with it. (Read a recap.) Here, TVLine Dream Emmy nominee Herbers and director Alethea Jones break down Kristen’s catharsis and how it morphed into something entirely different when she and David kissed for the first time immediately after the confession.
KATJA HERBERS | As any actor, or probably any person, to have to do this, you draw from your absolute worst. How did you sound? How have you seen other people be at their absolute worst? How did they sound? And then, how can you ground that somewhere inside your body and find this kind of truth, whatever it is, and make it work?
ALETHEA JONES | I knew that the whole season had been building to this moment in many ways. I’d spoken to [executive producers] Robert and Michelle King about how important this moment was in terms of Kristen’s arc. She’s held it together for the whole season, and we’ve never really seen a real meltdown from her.
HERBERS | I had already worked with [Jones] on a previous episode that season. I work best when somebody just really leaves me alone, and she knows that.
JONES | [Laughs] I’m actually very hands-on. I’m very actor-driven as a director, but Katja doesn’t need it… You usually shoot the wide shots, you usually shoot your master first. But knowing that she was ready to go, I set my cameras on her first, and then worked with Mike to make sure she was getting what she needed out of the scene.
HERBERS | Mike Colter and I, we work so well together… I just felt very helped by both Mike and Alethea in this space of having to act with that kind of vulnerability and shame and whatnot.
JONES | The shining jewel of the scene is Kristen’s confession, but the important piece of storytelling as well is being on David Acosta as he’s processing and synthesizing this information. It’s a lot to take in. So, [I was] making sure that those reactions are landing, and making sure that I caught them on camera, the rising thoughts and realizations
HERBERS | When we were blocking it out… The hug took a little too long, and then, you just feel some kind of energy shift. He felt it in me, and I feel it in him. I’m ashamed to show my face, but something has shifted entirely. The electricity between these two people is palpable, and I like that they didn’t make either of us initiate it.
JONES | The reason I really enjoyed doing Evil and was drawn to that show as a director was its propensity for film craft and beautiful visuals. So we were really particular. Look, we’re in a room where someone is taking confession, but there is a sexually charged dynamic between these two, and there’s a bed in that room. So, you want to be really careful when you introduce the visuals of the bed… There’s a point where David goes over to his bed and gets a pillow, and I remember Robert King saying we wanted her kneeling on the pillow so that it wouldn’t be too difficult, leaning into the erotic. So, the introduction of the pillow was like dipping your toes into what was about to come.