AMC’s Preacher is fantastic. It really, really is. It’s long been one of those properties that almost got made various times over the past decade but surprisingly it’s taken the unlikely combination of Seth Rogen and his partner Evan Goldberg and Breaking Bad alum Sam Catlin to make it work. And work it does. It’s odd, because the show really does veer off from the source pretty considerably. Normally that would be cause for concern but because of how assured everyone is in front of and behind the camera, and how they’ve obviously channeled into the soul of what makes the material work there is really nothing to worry about.
That’s a relief for fans, because the initial response to this creative team didn’t inspire a lot of confidence initially, due in no fault to their body of work. As it turns out, it took an unorthodox approach to pull it off.
I was able to watch the pilot episode a couple of times here at the convention but seeing it with a crowd was the real eye-opener. A packed house watched last night, laughing at all the right moments and fully embracing the dark and brutally funny nature of the series. Joe Gilgun was the big x-factor for me, as Cassidy is the most eccentric and difficult to nail from the comic. Dream casting the role was always difficult and I’m thrilled to say that Preacher‘s biggest success thus far has been in its choice for the Irish vampire who serves as the third piece to the show’s trinity of main characters. Dominic Cooper is also a great Jesse Custer and Ruth Negga is really fun, though her Tulip is the most drastically different from the comic. Not because of her race but because of how we meet Tulip and her relationship with Jesse at the outset. All three have all the tools needed to really sell the material and the supporting cast also delivers. It’ll be interesting to see how Arseface (see him here) develops because he’s such a pivotal character. I hope they make his mouth a little wetter and dripper as the series progresses because as gross as it can be at times, a drippy Arseface is a great Arseface.
Fans of the comic will appreciate the explosive gore, little bits of juvenile humor (the church sign is a great reveal), and in seeing all of the pieces starting to fall into place. We get to see Jesse Custer kick butt. We get to see Cassidy take on an airplane full of adversaries. We get to see Tulip take out a helicopter. The show is aggressive and has the swagger of a show that’s been around for years. Even the Pilot doesn’t feel like a Pilot. Typically the first episodes of shows are rough around the edges and sometimes unwilling to make definitive choices about characters. This stands on its own and knowing that one of the great minds behind Breaking Bad is helping steer the ship provides a lot of confidence for the future.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg nailed it. It’s nice to see Rogen’s power used for a good cause, because Preacher isn’t a get rich quick scheme for a show. It requires grace and patience. The fact that it’s a labor of love hangs over it like a golden cloud. His sensibilities marry well with comic creator Garth Ennis. May 22nd seems so long away. I had a chance to chat with the folks from the show and got a little more detail on some specifics. Some vignettes from our roundtable interviews:
Ruth Negga on maintaining the dynamic between Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip that is so vital to the comic:
“I think the three of us very tight now and great friends. We’ve all had enough experience in this industry to know you can’t do it on your own. If it’s a threesome in the comics you have to acknowledge that you’re going to have to make it work. It feels really natural and care very much for each other. It fascinates me, that threesome. It comes really organically.”
Dominic Cooper on being selected to play Jesse Custer and meeting expectations:
“They must have seen something in me that they thought could be Jesse. It was really excited. I really read the comics and saw that I’d missed out. I was never a big comic book person, I don’t know why and they’re just great. You’re using your imagination and turning it into a film. That’s why we have such an important job on our hands. To make these for everyone but for those people who have read the comics and made the film in their heads. They’re so visual and brilliantly written.”
The actor on being the epicenter of so many crazy moments.
“There has to be a stillness. There has to be sense to this whirlwind and I have to embrace it and be confident in the stillness and the weight of it. Which will change and it goes on a varied journey, but that’s what it needed to be.”
On us meeting Jesse Custer’s eccentric family:
“I can’t wait to see the family. They are so grotesque. Just the most vile people. I can’t wait to see some of those uncles!”
Before we go, a few things to keep in mind regarding the series:
- The first season will primarily stay localized to the small Texas town from the Pilot.
- We will meet The Saint of Killers soon.
- The way that the Voice of God is used will be toned down considerably.
- There will be a new actor cast to play Jesse Custer’s father. In the Pilot, Dominic Cooper plays the role in addition to Jesse Custer.
Keep it tuned to our WonderCon coverage right here.