10:56pm PT by Josh Wigler
'Preacher' Premiere: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg Tease "Unpredictable" New AMC Series
It was the time of the Preacher, and the cast and crew of AMC's new comic book series were burning it on both ends.
Less than twenty-four hours before the show's Hollywood premiere at Regal LA Live on Saturday (May 14), the Preacher team was in New Mexico, wrapping up shooting on the first ten-episode season. As a result, stars like Joe Gilgun — who plays breakout character Cassidy, a hard-drinking Irish vampire who finds himself stranded in small-town Texas — were walking the red carpet feeling "a bit bewildered."
"I'm still under the influence of quite a bit of Xanax," Gilgun told The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm a nervous flyer. That's the excuse; the reality is I f—king love being out of my mind, more than anything else." He leaned into the recorder, gripped it with both hands, and reiterated: "More than anything else."
With that, welcome to Preacher, a show with a tone that perfectly matches Gilgun's enthusiastic mania. It follows Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a failing preacher with a dark past, and an unpredictable future, thanks to the almighty ability to command the word of God. He's joined in his quest to understand these new powers by a colorful cast of characters, including Cassidy, and trigger-happy ex-girlfriend Tulip O'Hare, played by Ruth Negga.
Negga, like Gilgun, felt the fatigue of wrapping shooting on Preacher and immediately attending the show's premiere — and that was just the start of an adventure, as she was set to fly to France for the Cannes Film Festival that same night. Despite her packed schedule, Negga felt more than up to the task of explaining the show's extraordinary premise, describing herself as a "huge fan" of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's comics on which the show is based.
"You're getting into anarchy, essentially," she said about the show's premise. "It's an anarchist, nihilistic view of the world with a super intelligent spin. It's all about questions, really. That's super important in our lives — questions — but you enter a world which is fantastical, and also rooted in reality."
Sam Catlin, executive producer and showrunner, said Preacher is unlike anything currently on television: "It has crime drama elements, it has Western elements, it has Tarantino elements… all of these great and exciting genres, but you've never seen them put together. There's nothing else on TV we can point to and say, 'It's like that!' There's elements of Walking Dead you could point to, but that lives within a specific genre, whereas Preacher lives within four or five different genres."
For his part, Catlin was not familiar with the comics until he came aboard the show. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, on the other hand, grew up with Preacher, reading the comic monthly as it came out.
"We were obsessed with it. We were huge fans of Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Luc Besson and — as Canadians — David Cronenberg," said Rogen, who developed the show and co-directed the pilot alongside Goldberg. "It kind of had all of that stuff in it. We just became obsessed with it."
Rogen and Goldberg spent the better part of a decade trying to secure the rights to Preacher, before it finally landed at AMC. "This is one of the best nights of my life," said Goldberg.
Imagine how it must feel to be Ennis and Dillon, co-creators of the Preacher comic, having lived through numerous failed attempts at adapting their material over the past two decades.
"It's been a long road," said Ennis. "It just feels pretty f—ing great at this point. It really does."
While others struggle to succinctly summarize Preacher, Ennis is seasoned in the art of selling the story: "I've gotten quite good at this. It's Wild at Heart meets Near Dark, and then Unforgiven shows up at the end to shoot everybody."
For those who don't understand the reference points, Goldberg points to a more recent pop culture touchstone: Game of Thrones. "This goes places metaphysically and intellectually and philosophically and emotionally that I don't think any other show has done or will do," he said. "In Game of Thrones, it's all about who's going to usurp who and who's going to cut whose penis off. This show is a little more unpredictable — and Game of Thrones is pretty unpredictable!"
Perhaps its best left said by the jet-lagged and hyped-up Gilgun: "Everyone constantly pisses and moans about wanting to see something different, how there's nothing 'different' on TV. Well, for f—k's sake, man, if this isn't it? Then we're all f—ked. Might as well stop watching TV."
Preacher premieres on May 22.