Pleasing longtime “Preacher” fans is a nerve-wracking task when moving the comic books to the small screen, but who better to take on that challenge than major fans of the comics?
Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin, who developed the series for an AMC drama, say their main priority is to strike a perfect balance between keeping the comic book fans excited while also creating great TV for viewers who have never heard of “Preacher.”
“We’re fans of the comic. We love the comic. And we’re going to make a show that we like, so we hope that translates to people that love the comics, as well,” Rogen said Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., on a panel for the upcoming series. “But first and foremost, our goal is to make a great television show.”
Rogen’s directing partner, Goldberg, agreed: “We want fans who love the comic to get everything they want, but also get some new twists and turns.”
Expected to debut in mid-2016, the hour-long series will premiere its first episode at SXSW in March.
As for how similar the show will be to the comics, which were created by Garth Ennis for DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, Goldberg said there will be some differences — which were welcomed. “Garth very much encouraged us to make a lot of small changes,” he said.
On that same note, Rogen chimed in, saying that the slight changes should prove to be beneficial. “I don’t know if you could translate the comics directly to television — everyone involved thought we should not do that directly, including Garth — but we love the comic. There’s tons of stuff from the comic that we hope to include.”
Still, the series will speak to the hardcore fans, Catlin assured. “For people who know the comics, there are all sorts of Easter eggs… that don’t obviously confuse people that are just coming to the show for the first time.”
The cast was also mindful of the original comics when taking on their darkly comedic roles. Dominic Cooper, who stars as Jesse Custer, a small-town preacher with a checkered past who struggles to motivate his flock while also staying out of trouble, said he was “desperate” to play the character, but also nervous.
“It is an absolute honor to play him, but such a responsibility for the fan base who has decided who this guy is,” Cooper admitted. “So I was very nervous and I’m still finding my way, so that’s what will be exciting about this journey.”
Ruth Negga, who plays Tulip O’Hare, Jesse’s trouble-seeking ex, said that she never expected to see herself in this world, but she knew of the comics because her cousins are fans. “I was kind of familiar with the comics, but when I first read the script, I was kind of blown away. I was knocked off the course. I had never read anything like it.”