‘The Nevers’: Fire Eating, Androgyny, and Jack the Ripper — Just Normal Prep for an HBO Role

‘The Nevers’: Fire Eating, Androgyny, and Jack the Ripper — Just Normal Prep for an HBO Role
Rochelle Neil is recounting her audition for “The Nevers,” HBO’s new hourlong fantasy series set in a steampunk Victorian London in the aftermath of a mysterious citywide communal vision that leaves some of the populace with superpowers.

“She’s got a priest tied up, and she’s torturing him and throwing fire,” Neil said. “She’s sort of going on this spiel about her childhood, and what happened to her by this priest in this ministry. And she ends up burning an effigy of the baby Jesus. I have no idea what side of my personality I seemed to have showed for [the producers] to go: ‘She’s really good at torturing!’”

As “Bonfire” Annie Carbey, Neil plays one of “The Touched” — those who, after the mass (maybe?) hallucination (maybe?), attain abilities not generally in the human playbook. Conveniently, if one needs a person, place, or thing torched quickly and efficiently,
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