It’s hard to believe that Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher comic book series is finally, officially moving toward becoming a TV series after so many aborted attempts to adapt it for screens large and small, but it’s true. The story of a preacher who speaks with the voice of God and his friends – a drug addicted Irish vampire and an expert markswoman-slash-ex-girlfriend – seems just a little too odd for Hollywood. And yet Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen are partnered to produce it with Breaking Bad‘s Sam Catlin on board as showrunner and Ennis himself in the mix, consulting on the creative side. The sure-to-be-bizarre product of their combined efforts will air on Breaking Bad‘s former network, AMC, and Goldberg/Rogen promise plenty of weirdness and edge-pushing TV in the vein of The Walking Dead.
Goldberg and Rogen spoke frankly about their experiences so far in a recent interview with Ain’t It Cool News. “The weirdness is in,” Rogen said in reference to the comic’s unusual blend of popular myth, religious iconography, and over-the-top satire, which many observers have rightly targeted as the most challenging aspect of a mass audience-friendly Preacher adaptation.
“It seems like the language is going to be the most restrictive thing, but that I’m not worried about,” Rogen continued, recounting a recent meeting that brought him, Goldberg, Ennis, Catlin, and AMC executives into a room together. “[The] religious stuff, they’re totally cool with. The violence, they’re totally cool with. The nudity is hard, but we can find ways around that.”
The biggest potential obstacle – securing creative input from Ennis – hasn’t been an issue at all. Goldberg and Rogen admit that certain aspects of the story laid out in the comic will inevitably change in their treatment “to make it a TV show that functions properly,” but they’ve been encouraged to see that Ennis’ primary concern is just making sure the heart of what makes Preacher special carries over.
“[Ennis] sent us a document and it essentially explained ‘You can f**k around with anything, just not the three main characters and their dynamic. That’s the story. It’s a character story,’” Goldberg said. The meeting between the producers, Ennis, and AMC was productive in that regard: The comic creator approved of the approach that’s been pitched for the series, and AMC appears to recognize the potential for another hit.
“They’ve implied they want us to go on a Walking Dead-type path. That seems to be their strategy,” Goldberg said of the network response.
One other item of note: the character Arseface. He’ll be part of the show, of course, and his face will be transformed by physical makeup rather than computer wizardry. For those not familiar with Preacher, think about the name “Arseface” and what it could mean. If you’re not envisioning a literal interpretation, you’re probably not close to what the character looks like in the comics. Can you spot him in the header image up top?