Producers Evan Goldberg and James Weaver talk Adapting PREACHER for TV, the Look of the Series, Where It Fits in Their Schedule, and More

     May 5, 2014


A few months ago, we reported that Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin (Breaking Bad) would be bringing the acclaimed comic series Preacher to television.  For years, various filmmakers tried to fit Preacher for the big screen, but I think it will work much better on television since it’s a sprawling, epic story with loads of characters.  Because of their background in comedy, Rogen and Goldberg may seem like unlikely choices to adapt such dark material, but it turns out that the comic was a huge influence on their lives.

Steve recently spoke with Goldberg and co-producer James Weaver at the press day for Neighbors, and they also talked about Preacher.  During their conversation, they talked about the look of the series, mapping out the budget, where it fits in their schedule, the support from AMC, and more.  Hit the jump for what they had to say.

preacher-tv-seriesAlthough the wheels are turning on Preacher in a way that looks like it’s crawling out of development hell, Goldberg and Weaver explained that they’re too early in the process to figure out the specific look of the series, and right now they’re nailing down the story:

EVAN GOLDBERG: We have not had “look” conversations with them yet.  Garth Ennis and Neal Moritz are involved and Sam Catlin, who did Breaking Bad, is doing it with us, and AMC and all of us are just talking about the three main characters right now.  We’re not talking about the visuals whatsoever.  We all agree it’s a story about three characters, and we need to crack that for television, and we’ve been meeting with Sam to try and get that done.  But there have been no visual conversations yet, but I imagine it will lean heavily on the fact that it is a Southern American, Texas-based story for the large potion of it.  And when you chat with Garth, it’s clear that cowboy movies were a massive influence, so I feel like we’ll probably derive some of our look from that.  But we also want to be as original as possible.  We definitely haven’t gotten into the visual part of the conversation yet

JAMES WEAVER: We definitely set it up with AMC though that it needs to be an epic sort of series.  You’re going to have to be smart in terms of how you contain certain kinds of things, but at the end of the day the comic goes where the comic goes.  The comic goes to all of these places and you have to represent that stuff too.

Since this is Goldberg’s first producing gig, he’s not sure how they’ll break down the show in terms of cost, but Steve explained that on other shows, the studio provides a budget for the season, and then the showrunners figure out how to disperse that budget across the episodes.  Goldberg responded:

GOLDBERG: That will work great with Preacher because there are some episodes that are just like road trips.  There’s one whole story—I don’t know if we’ll use the whole story—where they go to New York and they’re tracking a serial killer, and there are no visual effects in that at all.  But then there are tank battles with 300 tanks in a desert with an unkillable cowboy blowing them up with a gun that kills everything.  That will cost money.

preacher-tv-seriesHowever, Goldberg and Weaver have a very full plate.  They have The Interview coming up later this year, they’re working an untitled X-Mas movie that will reteam 50/50 director Jonathan Levine with Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and beyond that, it’s tough to say, but Goldberg definitely wants to have a heavy influence on Preacher:

GOLDBERG: We won’t be there 100% of the time I imagine, but you never know because we are obsessed with this project, and Seth and I—much of what we are is because of Preacher.  It came out as we were ascending in our writing abilities, so Garth Ennis is a massive influence on us, so essentially we’re getting to make the thing from the guy who made us who we are in our opinion.  So I wouldn’t be surprised if we get caught up and don’t want to leave ever, but our initial plan is to make sure it’s an “us” thing and it has our influence and we direct a bunch of them, but I don’t know if we’ll be there all day, every day.  We’ll see.

WEAVER: Yeah, but we have The Interview, which we’re finishing up and comes out in October, and then we have X-Mas, which is the Jonathan Levine movie with Seth and Joseph Gordon-Levitt that we’re going to go make this summer here in New York.  And then after that there are things on the table, but there are so many things that have to happen for something to get made.  We have a lot of irons in the fire in terms of producing, which is nice because we can turn our attention to whatever one pops, essentially.  We kind of know where we are this year with stuff, but after that we’ll see what happens.

GOLDBERG: With Preacher, there’s too many talented people involved to know who’s going to do what quite yet.  Like Sam Catlin, we didn’t really know him, and it’s like, “This guy is a fucking genius.”  He’s so smart.  And Neal Moritz is a producer that can make anything happen.  I don’t know how the boat will be manned.

breaking-bad-amc-bryan-cranstonFinally, AMC lost a heavy hitter when Breaking Bad ended, and Mad Men will finish up in 2015.  Weaver went into detail about why Preacher is a big deal for the network:

WEAVER: It feels like that moment HBO was in after The Sopranos where The Sopranos is finished, and they’re looking around and saying, “What’s the next thing that’s going to be our big deal at the network?”  And I think they’re hoping against all hope that it’s this thing; this tentpole thing they can pair up with The Walking Dead.  So they couldn’t be more supportive and awesome.  We actually made a pretty specific choice that they were the right home for this, so we’re definitely hopeful that they’re going to be supportive and behind, to be blunt, the craziest version of this because that’s the only thing that’s going to work.

Here’s the video of the interview.  Click here if you missed what Goldberg and Weaver had to say about their R-Rated animated movie Sausage Party.  Look for more with Goldberg and Weaver soon.

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