In the Yellowstone prequel 1923, Sebastian Roché plays Father Renaud, a Catholic priest who runs a boarding school for Indigenous girls. The series portrays a real and dark time in American history. Native American children were forced to attend these schools and endure horrific abuse. Although 1923 has already shown graphic violence at the boarding school, Roché warns that things will get worse in upcoming episodes.
Father Renaud deals out horrific punishments in ‘1923’
For over a century, the United States funded government boarding schools designed to strip away Native American culture. Indigenous children were forced to attend these institutions, which were often run by Christian church leaders. There they endure horrific treatment and abuse.
In the 1923 premiere, a student named Teonna Rainwater fights back after Sister Mary continuously hits her with a ruler. Father Renaud then physically punishes both Teonna and Sister Mary.
“Father Renaud is one of these extreme ideologists, religious zealots who believes in the right of God, and that includes if one of yours oversteps their boundary, they should be punished,” Sebastian Roché said while speaking to TV Insider.
“But also, as that person has committed a crime against a sister by punching her in the face, she should also be punished as an example. He needs to have extreme discipline. He believes in extreme discipline.”
Sebastian Roché warns that there will be more violence against Indigenous students in ‘1923’ Episode 5
The series continues to show the horrific abuse endured by the students at the boarding school. Sebastian Roché warns that there is more violence to come when 1923 returns with episode 5.
“It gets worse in Episode 5,” Roché told TV Insider. Now that Teonna has escaped the boarding school and killed Sister Mary, Father Renaud will likely do whatever it takes to find her and perhaps even punish the students who were left behind.
“What I’m going to do in Episode 5 is pretty bad,” Roché continued. “And we’re not only talking about physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse. We’re also talking about abuse in the name of what? In the name of God? [Laughs] The co-opting of religion, of the message, is just appalling. We’re talking about sociopathic tendencies in these people who were basically running a sociopathic patriarchy.”
Roché compares Father Renaud to his other villainous characters
Though Sebastian Roché has portrayed villainous characters before, his role in 1923 was particularly difficult. “When you are recreating history, it makes it all the more powerful and painful,” Roché told TV Insider.
“Beyond being a fictional character, Mikael Mikaelson [from The Vampire Diaries] is a sort of invented species, so you can suspend your disbelief. I don’t know how many people I’ve killed as Mikael Mikaelson, probably thousands. But you don’t take it as seriously as when you’re recreating horrific history.”