AMC’s newest comic book adaptation “Preacher,” developed by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and “Breaking Bad” co-producer and writer Sam Catlin, is taking a page from “The Walking Dead” and veering away from a faithful representation of Garth Ennis’ comic book.
“The comic creates a world where anything is possible and anything can happen. It’s very funny, but it’s also f—ed up,” said Rogen.
“Garth was a big advocate of taking a new path, to allow a new audience to discover the show and not strictly adhering to the comics,” added Rogen.
“We were proposing that we do a version extremely similar to the comics and he told us that was stupid,” added Goldberg.
“I think everyone was afraid to say it, and he was the first one to say, ‘You can just do this, you’re not going to get enough episodes. You have to change it,'” said Rogen.
Ennis’ one condition was not to change the core emotions of the characters and that they stay “somewhat true to the characters,” according to Goldberg.
One of the main differences it that you never see the main character Jesse Custer as a preacher in the comics. When the comics begin, he’s already “kind of done with it,” as Rogen put it.
“It’s called ‘Preacher,’ he’s dressed as a preacher … maybe you should see him being a preacher. We thought it was good to show what that part of his life was like as well,” said Rogen.
But Rogen also added that there will be some minor, yet significant changes that might not sit well with die hard fans.
“There’s a million little things that if you’re a fan of the comics that will be devastating, but I think you’ll get over it,” he said. “I think fans of the comics, as the season progresses, will be surprised at how much stuff we will be including as opposed to how little.”
Although the name “Preacher” indicates that there could be a religious component to the show, it’s not the “overriding umbrella under which the whole show exists.”
“There’s some theological elements, but it has more to do with the characters’ morality instead of whether they believe in God or not, or believe in this or that. It speaks more to the characters than us trying to make some statement about religion,” added Rogen.
“When we made this, we thought we were going to come under fire from a lot of religious groups. If it’s operating under any idea is that it’s all true. Not all the characters believe it and not everyone on the show likes it,” he said. “Just because people are religious, doesn’t mean they’re all willing to get up in arms about it.”
Some other changes include casting Ruth Negga as Tulip, instead of a white actress, as Custer’s ex-girlfriend. They updated Arseface’s backstory to resonate with younger audiences, eliminating his penchant for Nirvana. The changes were not limited to on-camera elements — they also extended behind the scenes. Out of the “six or so” directors hired to helm the series, two were women.
“It’s not good by any standards, but it’s a lot better than other TV shows,” said Rogen.
As far as his other comic book adaptation, Rogen thinks the filmmakers tried to fit too much into “The Green Hornet.”
“If you’re a fan of the comic, you’re probably not going to be upset at the end of the whole run and you also won’t be able to predict what’s going to happen,” added Goldberg.
Goldberg and Rogen’s next project will be “The Boys,” a comic book adaptation for Cinemax.
“Preacher” premieres May 22 on AMC.