Seth Rogen Talks PREACHER, Directing the Pilot, Mapping out the Entire Series, Making It Unpredictable for Comic Fans, and More

     May 6, 2014

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With Breaking Bad over and Mad Men coming to a close next year, AMC is about to be without the two shows that helped build the network into what it is today.  As such, they’re currently looking for “the next big thing” that they hope will fill the void left by those two juggernauts.  One of their big gambles is on a television adaptation of the acclaimed comic series Preacher.  The show is being developed by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Breaking Bad alum Sam Catlin, and we recently spoke with Goldberg about where the show fits into their schedule and their visual approach to the series.

In addition to speaking with Goldberg, though, Steve also sat down with Rogen in anticipation of the release of Neighbors, and he also touched on their plans for Preacher.  Rogen said that he and Goldberg—his co-director on This Is the End—are currently signing on to direct the pilot as they work on the script.  However, he added that they’re also working towards mapping out the entire series before they really dig into the pilot script, noting that they hope to make enough changes so that the show is still surprising for fans of the comic.  Hit the jump for more.

preacher-tv-showWhile AMC hasn’t officially ordered Preacher to the pilot stage just yet, Rogen told us that they’re currently in the process of scripting the first episode and plan on directing the pilot should AMC pick it up:

“We’re still in the writing phase and we’re signing on to direct the pilot if it gets picked up to get made.”

Though AMC still has a few other new shows set to debut this year, the network is understandably eager to get Preacher going.  Steve asked Rogen when AMC wants the script, and Rogen revealed that they’re actually trying to get a “big picture” idea of the whole series first, adding that they aim to make the show unpredictable for those familiar with the source material:

“[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.”

preacher-tv-show-pilotThough they’re working to get a rough idea of the series as a whole, Rogen added that they’re also not averse to changing that plan once the show gets going:

“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. 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.”

Speaking of Breaking Bad, Rogen added that he “would love” to appear on the upcoming prequel series Better Call Saul.  So Vince Gilligan, if you’re reading, there’s a Bob Odenkirk/Seth Rogen scene waiting to be written.

When we talked with Goldberg, he said that they hadn’t yet begun discussing the visual look of Preacher because they were just focused on the script at this point.  Rogen echoed this sentiment, but mentioned the filmic quality of Game of Thrones as desirable:

“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.

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. 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.”

Look for more from our interview with Rogen soon here on Collider.  And here’s all our coverage on Preacher.

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