Good Omens’ New Beelzebub on Her Demonic Transformation

Good Omens’ New Beelzebub on Her Demonic Transformation

When Good Omens returns next week, fans of Prime Video’s Neil Gaiman-Terry Pratchett adaptation will notice some interesting things about the supporting cast. There are familiar faces playing new characters—and an unfamiliar face playing a familiar character: Shelley Conn (Bridgerton, Gen V) as Beelzebub.

(This interview was conducted prior to the start of the SAG-AFTRA strike.)

We get to see a lot more of Beelzebub as part of her surprising arc in season two; no spoilers, but any fan of Good Omens knows most everyone in its universe is prone to doing some very unexpected things. Let’s just say she’s a lot more than Satan’s underling and the oft-exasperated boss of Crowley (David Tennant), Shax (Miranda Richardson), and other demon characters this time around—though she is still both of those things, too.

The appearance switch is addressed, then cleverly hand-waved away—hey, even hell’s most sinister creatures like to change things up from time to time. For Conn, who steps in for season one’s Anna Maxwell Martin, the opportunity was too juicy to pass up. “I’d seen the first season and thought Anna Maxwell Martin did a phenomenal job. I really enjoyed what she did,” Conn explained to io9 at a recent Good Omens press day. “And I felt that with the sort of handing over of the costume—which is exactly the same as she wore, apart from we swapped the big fly for the bowler hat, and I put some fishnet gloves on and I think I had a little pin that was new, a little fly pin. But it felt like somehow what had been established still remained. And then, it was there to sort of be built upon because I think there is character development, as there is with all of the characters, and I was able to kind of grab the baton and carry on running, with a sense of the spirit of what came before with me.”

Beelzebub’s costume isn’t the only physically distinctive part of her character. As fans of season one will recall, her make-up is also rather memorable. Or memorably gross, to be more specific. That carried through into Conn’s portrayal, with some modifications.

“We came to the makeup chair, starting with the teeth, and that was a deal because they were enormous,” Conn recalled. “Then it was like, ‘Alright, so what do we do now?’ We didn’t want to do too much. We found the wig placement. And then we were like, ‘Oh, we need to kind of just enhance the eyebrows a little bit more,’ and then we found these kind of—what we sort of thought [looked like] like fly legs coming down as eyelashes.”

Speaking of flies, Beelzebub tends to be surrounded by them—and they influenced not just the character’s eyelashes, but what Conn calls “the scabby-ness” of her skin. “The convention that’s been set up is that when [the demon characters] are in hell, they look gross and dusty and moldy. And when they’re [on Earth], they look a little bit more presentable,” the actress laughed. “I remember talking with the makeup artist, and she was like, ‘I feel like I just don’t know what it is. It’s like we need to name it.’ We were kind of like, ‘What is this, like, maggoty egg thing?’ And then we were like, ‘It’s fly poo and fly vomit. Now we know what it is. Let’s get to work.’ And then it’s scary how little time I spent in the makeup chair to transform to that. It’s like, ‘Oh, well, I’m done. All right.’ That’s not actually that far removed from my own actual face.”

Good Omens season two arrives July 28 on Prime Video.

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