Seth Rogen talks PREACHER – Changing the source material and high quality

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If there’s one comic book show that we;ve been keen to see get adapted, it has to be Preacher. A modern day western that has aged beautifully since it was printed in the mid-1990s, it’s the comic that everyone should read. The AMC channel is feeling some of that cult love right now, with Seth “This is the end” Rogen and co-director Evan Goldberg looking to adapt the comic for the small screen. But it’ll have big screen ambitions and attitude.

Preacher cast

“We’re still in the writing phase and we’re signing on to direct the pilot if it gets picked up to get made,” Rogen said to Collider about the upcoming pilot which will hopefully seal the deal on this show.

[AMC wants the script] probably sooner than they’ll get it (laughs). We really have to shape the whole series to some degree before you start writing the pilot, and we really want to change some of the ideas, not just to change them, but to expand on them and emphasize some and deemphasize others, and to shape some things that aren’t that well shaped, and to answer some questions that aren’t answered and also, I honestly want to make it so that if you have read the comics that you don’t know what to expect.

It’s pointless just to make a literal interpretation of the comics, if you want that experience you can go read the comics, so we’ve had to do a lot more work than I expected before we could actually start writing the pilot, honestly. We kind of have to shape the whole series in a weird way and think like, ‘Oh, what season would this character come in? When would you fist introduce his guy? Where does this go? Why is this guy here’ So that’s kind of what we’re doing now is shaping almost the whole series.

Much like any other show or movie, Preacher will be cherry-picking the best bits from that saga and tweaking the tale here and there in order to create a more coherent TV product. “What’s amazing is talking to Sam, it’s like then some idea might come up in two months, we’ll do three episodes and some writer will have an idea and we’ll throw out the bible and completely do something else,” Rogen explained.

Like we’ve famously seen on Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul was supposed to die at the end of the first season and they just liked him so they kept him around. And [Sam] was saying how Mike Ehrmantraut’s character was originally hired because they couldn’t get Bob Odenkirk one day and they just needed a guy, and then they liked him and he became one of the instrumental parts of the series. So that’s really interesting to hear, just how fluid it can be as well.

Visually I wouldn’t say there’s anything on TV that we’re really looking to. There’s some things I think production value wise, like Game of Thrones and stuff like that is so- I mean, it looks like a movie and that is definitely an aesthetic to strive for [laughs]. Obviously finances have something to do with that, but if you’re smart about it you can achieve that with not a lot of money. I mean, we both love Breaking Bad and are obsessed with it, which is why we pursued getting Sam Catlin from Breaking Bad to be the showrunner for the series.

As for budget and quality, Rogen would love to see a series that equals the HBO hit Game of Thrones when it comes to shaping their pitch. “So we’ve been working with him, even as we write the pilot, a lot just to really—it’s just amazing to get his insight as to how they shaped that show and the series, and how their ideas evolved along the way, and the different things they planned versus the directions the show ultimately took,” Rogen said.

That’s been very helpful because it’s one of my favorite shows of all time, so to have one of the people who’s directly responsible for it, to have direct access to him as we’re writing all of it—and we’re really writing it with him—it has been very, very educational.

I‘ve got high hopes for Preacher. A lot of folks will say that it’s blasphemous, pushes the envelope too far or that the idea of a kid trying to commit suicide and ending up with a face that resembles a Limp Bizkit album title is just wrong. But to me, the thing about Preacher that I always loved, was that it was one of the greatest love stories ever told. Throw in some true camaderie and one of the most twisted villains ever in the form of Herr Starr, and this could be the next big thing on TV.

Last Updated: May 8, 2014

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