Warning: Preacher season 2 spoilers are discussed during this interview.
One of my favorite shows on television is AMC’s Preacher, which is based on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s comic series and brought to life by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin. Loaded with crazy characters, graphic violence, sick humor, and really well done action set pieces, Preacher consistently surprises and it’s like nothing else on TV.
If you’re not familiar with the story, Preacher started off with an inaugural season that was essentially a prequel to events that happen throughout the violent graphic novel, which revolves around a preacher (Dominic Cooper) who has inherited a power called Genesis (a supernatural entity that has chosen his body as a host and gives him the power to make people do whatever he says). Now entering its third season, the show is using more of the source material as it follows Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), his girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga), and his friend and vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) as they search for God.
With Preacher season 3 starting up Sunday night on AMC, a few days ago I got to speak with Ruth Negga. She talked about what it takes to make an episode of Preacher in eight shooting days, what the third season is about, how much she knows about each season going in, the unique nature of the show, the changing relationship between Tulip, Jesse and God, if she was nervous Tulip wouldn’t survive being killed at the end of last season, and more. In addition, Negga also discussed getting to work with director James Gray on Ad Astra.
Check out what Ruth Negga had to say below and tune in Sunday night if you want to see some fantastic television.
Collider: How are you doing today?
RUTH NEGGA: Good. How are you doing?
I’m doing excellent. Let me start by saying how much I love Preacher, and I’m super happy you guys got a third season.
NEGGA: Thank you so much for saying that. It means a lot, genuinely. It’s nice when people like what you spend five months and sixteen hours a day doing.
I think that’s what a lot of people don’t realize about the making of television, or movies, is the insane hours. It’s not glamorous.
NEGGA: It really isn’t. It’s not glamorous. It’s grueling. It is. But at the same time, you’re doing what you love, so.
NEGGA: I just wish it was like eight hours a day.
(laughs) Sure, I think everyone would– absolutely. So let me jump in. The last season ended with your character dying. My question is before you get that script, is Sam [Catlin] or someone pulling you aside and saying, “Look, we’re gonna kill you, but we’re really not gonna kill you,” or is he making you read that in the script and you’re like, “WTF?”
NEGGA: I’m like, “Come on, guys. You can’t kill off Tulip.” Who in their right mind would kill off Tulip, unless I was being an asshole on set and they needed to kill me off?
(laughs) Completely. No, but do they give you– do they tell you in advance, “This is the storyline. This is what we’re gonna do,” or do they mess with you a little bit…you know what I mean.
NEGGA: Sometimes they do. They’ll give you the old heads up, yeah. I mean, to be honest, it’s not like– if this is your run-of-the-mill, not bonkers TV show, you’d be like, “Oh, my god. There’s a chance I’m not coming back.” When it’s Preacher, you’re like, “Of course they’re gonna kill me, and of course–” nothing surprises me anymore, you know?
One of the many things I love about the show is that it blends this really twisted stuff with violence and action and humor. It’s like nothing on television. Can you sort of talk about that aspect of the show?
NEGGA: I don’t know how to talk about it really because a lot of it is so visual and a lot of it is really pushing the envelope, really, and pushing the boundaries of what you can do, but at the same time, it’s not done with any malice. To me, it’s basically a rumination of how ridiculous this world can be. I think that’s what the comics were, a treatise on, “Look what we do to one another ’cause of all these stupid rules we make up. Do we really believe all this stuff? And look what happens when we do.” At its center it’s not just about blowing up sort of a narrative, just like normal television just to show we can, or from arrogance, or kind of some state of “look at us,” or, “aren’t we so cool?”
And there’s a depth to what we’re doing, and there’s an engagement with our characters, not just the three leads, but everyone who comes in and out of our show. And I think that’s why it appeals to people because we’re not here to destroy. We’re here to inquire about the world we live in, in a way that is not just– not in a heavy-handed, somber way, which is fine and cool, but it’s really asking, “What the hell are we doing here, and why?” But also, it sort of has this sort of intimate moments between these characters.