Ask Damien Thorn, and there’s not such thing as a relationship of any kind, but to Ann Rutledge, who has devoted her whole life charting and protecting Damien, he is everything to her. Is it sexual? Is it subservient? Is it an unhealthy obsession? Maybe it's all of those things and more. To Ann, Damien is messiah of the other kind, and she’s willing to endure all of the good and bad that comes with that loyalty. For now, their relationship is very one-sided, but as Damien learns more and Ann is there to try and make sense of it, he is forced to figure out who and what he really is. Ann is willing to wait until he comes around. It’s one of the best dynamics of the show and is not easy to predict.
“I’m pleased that you’re not able to pinpoint what the relationship is,” James explained. “That’s the joy of having someone like Barbara, you have that facility to have a very wide range of what that relationship could be.”
After spending four seasons on Once Upon a Time as the Queen of Hearts, Hershey’s portrayal of Ann Rutledge is pure bliss as she tries to awaken and seduce the agent of destruction. You cannot pull your attention away from Ann, because you never know what she’ll do next, and you don’t quite know or understand what her motives are and how she has twisted her duty to Damien in her mind. Hershey tried to explain what it’s like to love the Antichrist in the way that Ann Rutledge does.
“She does love him on lots of different levels. It’s a huge factor for her, but she also has a belief system. It’s as if you have a very religious Catholic person who believes something fervently, and it’s the same way, it’s just on the other side. Those words are very stacked. The real meaning of 'apocalypse' is revelation, ‘Lucifer’ means bringer of light. Demons in Roman times were muses. The apple in the Adam and Eve story is knowledge. So, she believes this is an age of enlightenment. The Christian version of the bible is their PR, but the reality is something else, it’s bringing it to another level. It’s really interesting to look at it from a different door, which is what I’m doing. If we can unhook ourselves from the adamancy of that story and look at it from this different door, it’s fascinating.
“When you think of a series as an actor, it’s a grab bag. In a film or a miniseries, you have a beginning, middle and an end. In a series, you get general strokes, but we don’t know any more than (the audience) knows. As we were reading it, we were finding out, as well. The stuff that was so fascinating kept coming. I’d call Glen and we’d talk about it. Then, a lot of it (figuring out the relationship) happens on the set, it’s unexpected and not always programmed. It’s a lot of fun to act that and be in that sphere with Bradley.”
And what about John Lyon’s interest in Damien? He’s been posing as a longtime friend of Damien’s when, in reality, he’s been watching him and employing Ann Rutledge. He appears to be more straightforward as far as what he wants with Damien, but he, too, must watch himself around Ann.
“John and Ann have parallel and competing interests. They’re both want to control Damien.” Wilson ponders. “There’s something interesting about that, and something scary as well, if you think you can control a force they believe that he has. If you can, you’re the man or the woman. If you can’t, you’re setting yourself up for a long fall. [Laughs]
Mazzara also said much of the dark humor in Damien comes from Ann and Barbara Hershey’s’ delivery. “She has a way to cut things down and is so much fun to write for. Once Damien embraces this darkness and this absurdity around him, people start realizing this world is absurd. Everything’s been turned upside down.”