What would happen if God checked out of heaven and went on the lam?
That’s exactly what transpires in AMC’s new Preacher. Based on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s 1990s comic series, Preacher centers on Rev. Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper, Agent Carter), a world weary, cig smoking, smokin’ hot Texas padre who, in one strange moment at the pulpit, is possessed of a godlike power as God himself goes AWOL — leaving Jesse the only one who can track the big guy down and hold him responsible for what ensues.
Along for the ride: Jesse’s ballsy ex Tulip (just try to take your eyes off the gorgeous Ruth Negga) and liquor-loving, skull-cracking vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun).
Preacher superfans Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Superbad) teamed up with Ennis and Breaking Bad writer/producer Sam Catlin — and together, they defied the raft of heavy hitters who took a shot at adapting it for the big screen, and six months later, presented a gorgeous, gory thrill ride of a series to AMC.
“It’s definitely a show that probably couldn’t have been made five, six years ago,” says Catlin. “It’s really out there. … Garth’s world has so many different notes in it — violence and romance, perverse humor, action, and then also, like, people talking about God. It’s a lot to wrestle into a whole. But that’s the fun of it, for sure.”
You’ve read the comic book? Great! (Arseface arrives in the premiere.) Never heard of it? That’s fine, too. (Wait till you meet Arseface!)
“What we want to do in Season 1 is see Jesse as a preacher, see this guy with these incredible dark impulses and supernatural abilities and tangled history still try to be a spiritual sheriff to this little town in West Texas,” says Catlin. “We really love the idea of elaborating on Garth’s Western law vibe of the comic itself, and localizing things in this little West Texas town of Annville was a great place to start. I wouldn’t say there’s anything in Garth’s comic books that we’re leaving out — it’s just a question of when we get to it.”
But fair warning, newbies. Though they’ll probably want to see it, like Breaking Bad, this one’s definitely not for the bedtime set.
“We have different kinds of violence in the show,” Catlin explains. “When Jesse fights, it’s usually pretty real. When some of the other characters fight, it can become sort of ridiculous. It’s something we always have to calibrate. But it’s all part of this story of outlaws and vampires, vigilantes, demons and angels that’s the world of Preacher. It’s a bloody, gory, silly, perverse, dark mess.”
One Catlin knows could stir up some serious ire.
“Everyone has opinions about God and religion, which is, to me, what’s fun about it,” he says. “We have characters that take God and religion very seriously and are very devout. But then we have others who are just like, ‘This is just all a pile of horse@#$%.’ We’re not oppressive with religion, but we’re not dismissive of religion either. What’s great about Garth’s comic is he’s taken this old idea — man’s search for God — into, like, the literal sense. God as a fugitive. ‘We’re going to hunt down God. Like a posse for God, we’re going to hunt him down!’ That’s what’s so fresh and so crazy about the comic. It’s a great opportunity for us.”
And the answer to adventurous TV lovers’ summer-series prayers.
Preacher premieres Sunday, May 22 at 10/9CT on AMC