×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Preacher’ Premiere: AMC’s Comic Adaptation Converts New Fans and Pleases the Faithful at SXSW

AMC has already seen plenty of success with one popular comic book adaptation, and “The Walking Dead” looks set to have fine company in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s long-gestating “Preacher,” judging by the rapturous reaction the pilot received at SXSW on Monday.

In its world premiere screening at the Paramount Theater, the TV iteration of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s controversial comic drew raucous laughter, applause and outright cheers from the packed house, even in scenes that Rogen later admitted he wasn’t sure would earn a laugh. “I turned to Evan during the screening and said ‘we’re in a room with the most f—ed up people,'” he quipped during the post-episode Q&A.

The property has been a passion project for Rogen and Goldberg since they were kids, the co-directors and executive producers said, and they’ve been fighting to adapt it for 10 years. “We read the comic book from when it first came out, and as soon as we had any power in Hollywood, we tried to make it,” Rogen said. “It’s always been in the hands of more successful and more talented people than us, and somehow they all f—ed it up and it rolled downhill into our laps somehow, which I’m very grateful for. I think it was just persistence; we always made it clear that we were interested in it, we were vocal about what big fans we were and we were really just in the right place at the right time.”

Sam Mendes, Rachel Talalay, DJ Caruso and Mark Steven Johnson are among the filmmakers who have previously been attached to tackle the property in various mediums since the comic book was first published in 1995.

“There was a degree of interest straight away,” Ennis recalled of the comic’s journey to the screen. “But it’s been a long, long trail to get this far — we went from movie to TV back to movie to this. It seems like this is the right time for it. I think TV has finally caught up with comics.”

Rogen, Goldberg and Ennis were joined on the panel by showrunner Sam Catlin and cast members Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga and Joe Gilgun.

Despite being set in West Texas, the show’s three leads all hail from the United Kingdom. “It hasn’t been easy,” Cooper said of his on-screen accent for titular hero Jesse Custer. “I feel awful sitting here in Texas — it’s a work in progress!”

“You watched a lot of ‘Friday Night Lights,'” Rogen joked of Cooper’s preparation for the role. “‘More like Coach Taylor,’ that was our big direction.”

While Gilgun, who plays Irish vampire Cassidy, was born in Lancashire in Northern England, the actor said that the role felt like a perfect fit. “[Cassidy’s] not too dissimilar to who I am, to be honest with you… I’m a terrible drink and drug addict so I’m not having to dig deep or anything,” he laughed. “It’s been f—ing awesome. It’s one of the better jobs I’ve ever had … it’s being paid to be an a–hole for the whole day. People hold an umbrella over my head so I don’t burn my vampiric scalp.”

Jesse’s ex, the deadly Tulip O’Hare, may have been drawn as blonde-haired and Caucasian by Dillion, but Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga seemed a perfect fit for the capable, charismatic character, providing one of the most crowd-pleasing scenes in the pilot, which involved a brutal fight inside a moving car and a homemade bazooka. “When I read the script, I thought ‘please let me play this character,’ ‘cause it’s usually the boys who get to do that — people think girls aren’t capable of extreme violence,” she laughed. “We’re in the throes of filming the season now and it just gets even more exciting. She unfurls more and more in such an unexpected, exciting way … I think remorse is something she quells. She does have an extreme sense that justice should be served, but it’s her justice.”

As with any adaptation, the show has some differences from the comic, but the producers reassured fans that all of the most iconic beats will be included. “It starts in a different place … There’s challenges we have in that the comic starts going at 200 mph and doesn’t really sit in any one place, and because we’re a television show we have to be in one place. First season, we wanted to localize it in this little West Texas town,” Catlin explained. “But the world of it, the comedy of it, the action of it, the characters of it all should feel like ‘Preacher’ … for ‘Preacher’ fans, if they haven’t seen something, just give us time, we’re going to get to all the great setpieces and characters.”

AMC will premiere “Preacher” on May 22, following the midseason finale of “Fear the Walking Dead.”

More TV

  • Fox News Logo

    Former DNC Chair Donna Brazile Joins Fox News as Contributor

    Donna Brazile, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, will join Fox News as a contributor, the cable-news network announced Monday. Brazile, a veteran Democratic strategist, will offer political analysis across both Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network’s daytime and primetime programming. She was expected to make her first appearance on Fox News’ [...]

  • TV Ad Sales Upfronts

    NBCUniversal, Sky Make Joint Ad Offering As TV Upfront Looms

    NBCUniversal and Sky PLC will offer joint packages of advertising services, a new effort to monetize the European satellite broadcaster, which was purchased by parent Comcast Corp. for $39 billion last year. Advertisers will be able to reach customers in sundry international markets as well as the United States, using inventory across NBCU and Sky [...]

  • Robert Iger and Rupert Murdochcredit: Disney

    Wall Street Applauds as Disney Nears Finish Line on Fox Acquisition

    Wall Street is rooting for Disney as the media giant reaches the finish line this week in its 15-month quest to acquire most of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV empire. Fox shareholders, on the other hand, are being a little more cautious. Disney is poised to close the $71.3 billion deal that took many twists [...]

  • Skam Season 2 Bows on Movistar

    Spanish Remake Of 'Skam' Returns to Movistar + on March 28

    MADRID — Movistar +, the pay TV unit of telco giant Telefonica, has set a March 28 release for Season 2 of “Skam España,” the Spanish remake of Norwegian cult web-TV hit teen drama “Skam” (“Shame”) whose plot, at least in the second season, begins to diverge from the Nordic original. Produced in collaboration with [...]

  • HBO Asia Unveils Three New Originals,

    HBO Asia Unveils Slate of Originals, Renews ‘Teenage Psychic’ for Second Season

    HBO Asia has unveiled a trio of new original series and a second season of its hit “The Teenage Psychic.” The new shows bring the number of original series commissioned and distributed by the Singapore-based offshoot of HBO to 15. “Dream Raider” will be HBO Asia’s first Asian sci-fi drama, an eight-episode hour-long series that [...]

  • Supergirl -- "O Brother, Where Art

    Jon Cryer Breaks Down Playing 'Sociopath' Lex Luthor on 'Supergirl'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” the Mar. 17 episode of “Supergirl.” After seasons of build-up, Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) made his “Supergirl” debut in the fourth season episode entitled “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Initially, the supervillain positioned himself as a sick man, eager [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content