‘Preacher’ EPs Explain Why an Exact Adaptation Wouldn’t Work

     May 13, 2016

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It’s tough for book readers or comic fans whose beloved works get adapted into TV series or movies. You want to love it, and yet, you can’t help but also want to compare every aspect of it (I went through it with Game of Thrones, and it’s still a struggle!) That’s something that Preacher fans will have to contend with when AMC’s series launches in a few weeks. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who brought the project to life, want to keep fans happy, but there will be some changes along the way.

Recently, Rogen and Goldberg mentioned to EW that their original pitch of Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon’s comic to AMC was for it to be a 100% faithful adaptation. “We actually pitched, ‘It’s going to be like Sin City, frame-for-frame, almost. We’re going to be really true to the comic,” said Goldberg. Rogen added, “And we totally just threw that out the window.” Totally fucking hurled it,” Goldberg agreed.


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Image via Sony Pictures

During the TCA panel for Preacher, the duo said that,

“We talked with Garth, and Garth very much encouraged us to make a lot of small changes and to make it a good show first and foremost. Our big thing is we want fans who love the comic to get everything they want but also make some new twists and turns.”

Though critics were given the Preacher comic (the first trade collection) to accompany the screeners, I held off until after I’d written my review, knowing that the most important thing is for the show to stand on its own without prior comic knowledge. Though I think that knowledge will definitely help understand where the show is going, Rogen said at TCA that,

We love the comic, and we are going to make a show we like. So we hope that that translates to people who love the comic as well. But, again, our first and foremost goal is to make a great, entertaining, fun television show that, if you’ve never heard of the comic book, you love. We talked a lot about that.

One major difference from the comics is explained by another of the show’s executive producers, Sam Catlin, who told EW:


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Image via AMC

“Narratively, it starts at 110 miles an hour. I don’t know how you tell that story in the narrative television form. So, came up with the idea that we would see Jesse as a preacher — because he’s only very briefly a preacher in the comic, and then he’s just kind of a bad-ass guy in a preacher collar. We thought there would be an opportunity to see someone try to do their job, be sort of the spiritual sheriff for the town. There’s so many big set pieces and crazy, over-the-wall violence, comedy, stuff like that. We wanted to ground it in something familiar, so that it didn’t feel like a bad acid trip.”

In fact, the series — set in Texas, though filmed at Albuquerque Studios — is the total opposite of what they originally pitched to AMC. Rogen said that an AMC executive confronted them while they shot the pilot and said, “Don’t think it got past us that you pitched us one thing and now we are here filming something which is 100 percent different than the thing you pitched us.” But apparently they trusted them, with Rogen adding, “‘Oh, good. We thought they just didn’t notice.’ They’ve been outrageously supportive, honestly.”

Preacher stars Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, and Joseph Gilgun, whose characters you can meet in the new featurette below. The series premieres on AMC Sunday, May 22nd, and we’ll also have recaps from our comics expert Evan Valentine following each new episode.


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Television