SXSW Interview: On the Red Carpet with AMC’s ‘Preacher’

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One of our most anticipated screenings of the 2016 SXSW Film Festival was the world premiere of Preacher, the upcoming AMC television series based on the cult favorite comic series from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. The pilot episode certainly didn’t disappoint – but before we took our seats at the Paramount Theater, we caught up with some of talent behind the show on the red carpet.

Executive producer and showrunner Sam Catlin was in attendance, along with series creators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and stars Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga and Joseph Gilgun. Even Preacher comic book creator Garth Ennis made a surprise appearance to watch his characters come to life on the big screen. Check out the video above, or keep reading below for highlights from our brief red carpet conversations.

garth ennis preacher red carpet

Garth Ennis at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival (Photo by Alyssa Hankins)

Preacher comic book creator Garth Ennis on why the project is finally moving forward after going through so many incarnations:

“I think it was partly [AMC’s] determination to do it as a TV show. One of the attempts to do a film did result in a script – which was very well-written – but it proved that there’s simply too much material in Preacher to cram into two and a half hours. It can’t be done, so you need TV. You need that breathing space. As for AMC in particular, they had the good sense to go with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who want to do Preacher not because it’s some vague attachment, but because they love it. They live and breathe it.

And I think in a way, to an extent, TV has caught up with what we could do in comics 20 years ago – partly because you’ve got a smaller audience and less people are looking. But previous attempts to put it on TV – even HBO five or six years ago – there was a lot of talk about what couldn’t be done. These guys are all about what can be done, and I think that’s what’s made the difference.”

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Dominic Cooper at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival (Photo by Alyssa Hankins)

Preacher star Dominic Cooper on whether or not he’s worried about doing justice to the source material:

“Yeah, of course. But if you have that apprehension and that fear, you never get anything made. And of course, there are going to be people that are upset with our takes on certain characters, but you have to choose something, and you have to be bold with it. I love it, I’m really excited for people to see it – fans or non-fans of the comics. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. 

The things I grew up loving – Twin Peaks, when I was young, watching that and watching early Tarantino – this has a real sense of that, and a darkness. And also the comedy of it, and the danger of it, I’ve not seen anything like it. I never sit through anything that I’m in, but I’m really excited to sit through this and see people’s reactions to it. No one knows what’s about to happen, or what’s going to come next.”

On trying to get into Jesse Custer’s head:

“It’s a tough one, because he’s surrounded by such colorful characters. It’s like he’s the darkness at the center of this madness. And it’s always hard getting into the head of someone that you’re not, but I’m really enjoying discovering more and more about him. He’s really complex, and in [the pilot]you see him really struggling with it, and actually giving up hope. You see him really desperate to right the wrongs of his past, and try to save this town that he actually, genuinely cares about. And although he’s harboring so much guilt about his father, that’s the kind of thing that keeps him strong, and going, and desperate to save these people.”

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Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival (Photo by Alyssa Hankins)

Preacher series creators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg on experimenting with darker material:

Rogen: It’s really fun. We’re always fans of that stuff.

Goldberg: I read more dark shit than I read comedic shit, honestly.

Rogen: And I watch more dramatic movies and TV shows than I do comedic ones, so it’s fun to finally get to participate in it. I think it’s just something that never felt organic, and this was the first thing where we were like, “I actually think we might be the most qualified people to do this at this moment.”

Goldberg: It’s kind of like when we directed This is the End. Up until then, we had to say “couldn’t someone do this better?”

Rogen: It’s true. And with Preacher, we were just like “I think the version we want to do, we might be the best people to do it.” 

On whether or not iconic charters like Herr Starr and the Saint of Killers will be featured in the series:

Goldberg: Our big thing is, we want to keep all the characters people love, and make sure fans aren’t missing out on that chunk they love. 

Rogen: Yeah, and we’re [just]as big fans as anyone, so we have to make to make a show that has all the shit we’ve been wanting to see. 

Goldberg: I would be outraged if Herr Starr wasn’t in it.

Rogen: Exactly! But at the same time, we wanted to make a show that, even as fans, you wouldn’t know what to expect. And we’ll take you on twists and turns to get you to the place that you want to be. 


Preacher will debut on Sunday, May 22, exclusively on AMC. 

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