AMC hasn’t released much for its upcoming comic adaptation Preacher, but critics and journalists at the Winter TCA Press Tour got a sneak peek at the pilot episode this past week. Though reviews are embargoed, I can say that the pilot was extremely visually striking, fully of great performances, and very, very violent.
Show creators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg talked to reporters about walking the line with the violence, and how the comic and the show will differ (you can read more about that specifically here). One of the most difficult aspects of the adaptation, though, is specifically relating to character Arseface (played by Ian Colletti). The way he’s drawn in the comic is extraordinarily visceral and a little, well, gross. But this is a character who shot himself in the face …
“I mean, I think the starting place was finding the Ian Colletti, the actor, because, like, you know, first we had to know what his face looked like, what his body structure was and all that. And, then, kind of just figure out how to make it look realistic and, you know, have impact but not look cartoony in any way or silly.”
“There had been something online that existed of some test that someone had done that looked exactly like how it looked in the comic, and as soon as I saw that, I knew we should not try to make it look exactly how it looked in the comic, and we should take some license and try to make it something maybe a little more … palatable, I guess might be the word. And we wanted the character to being sympathetic and ultimately, like, some one you really rooted for.”
Part of that difficulty was in how they had to make sure the character could still emote in a way the audience could tell if he was sad or happy. Even though producer Sam Catlin said that the initial conception for the character was one of hilarity, they ended up wanting to play it “as straight and real as possible.”
Still, it is Preacher, and things are going to necessarily be easy. When it comes to some of the extreme violence, they said they had “Talmudic arguments” about things like whether or not it was worse to show an ear being bitten off, or a nose. (They went for the ear). Rogen said that ultimately,
“We want the show to be fun for regular people with not sick sensibilities. Put that on a poster.”
As an addendum, a question was asked about similarities in apocalyptic themes between Preacher and This Is the End, to which Goldberg replied, “I mean, inherently, This is the End is just stupid.” Rogen laughed and agreed. Goldberg continued, “We’ve chosen not to do stupid stuff for once.”