With ‘Preacher‘ soon hitting the small screen on AMC showrunner Sam Catlin (‘Breaking Bad’,’The Great New Wonderful’) has opened up a little on the show and also promises that we aren’t going to be getting a heavily edited version of the comic book. While I am excited for the show, this is on AMC and there is only so much of what comes from the comics that can be adapted. We all know from his work on bringing Walter White to life that he can make a very dark and gritty series but a new property vs a very established existing one is a different type of beast entirely.
So let’s see what he had to say on the subject in his interview with Collider. First, he was asked what the most challenging part of bringing ‘Preacher’ to life was:
“The most challenging part? Where to begin, definitely. In terms of the story, where to start was the most challenging part. But the spirit of it is what we really hope is in the show, from the beginning, that crazy Garth Ennis world. We changed some things narratively from where we begin, but hopefully the world is recognizable as Preacher.”
Now on to my concern and that of any comic fan out there: We all know things are going to be changed but how much is the question. The very first sentence will have anyone worried. However, I’m less nervous when he goes into detail on how and why he made some of the changes:
“Well, I’d never adapted anything before, I didn’t know what the rules were. I didn’t know you could change things. So when I first started reading the comic, Seth and Evan brought it to me, and I was like, “I don’t know how you make that a TV show. That’s not a TV show, that’s an amazing comic book.” But once I started to figure out, “Okay, if the characters are here…” How do we make – Because if we were to shoot the comic book of Preacher, it would be like $400 or 500 million, we would be unproducible. So how do we make a show that is a TV show but pushes all of those boundaries in a similar way that doesn’t feel like “Preacher Lite,” or “Preacher TV.” So, yeah. Once we figured out a way to bring the characters together and started to realize how we could parcel out the story, once we figured out where we could start.”
With ‘Breaking Bad’ probably the most recognizable thing under Catlin’s belt he was asked about comparisons between the shows:
“I’d say Walter White is a good man trying to turn bad and Jesse Custer is a bad man trying to turn good, in a lot of ways.”
A major concern about the show is that it could be toned down for television but ‘The Walking Dead‘ has shown that there is a lot they can get away with but was there any issues for ‘Preacher’?
“No, there’s a sequence that’s under discussion towards the very end that is very – that’s the only time there’s ever been anything that’s like, “Is there a way to maybe…?” But they’ve been great.”
So only one scene that could be problematic for the series? I wonder if that means AMC is being very generous with what Catlin can get away with or if much of the visually darker aspects had already been slightly neutered. (I’m really hoping on the former here.) While he wouldn’t explain what scene it was, when answering that he still stressed that we’re in for a real treat with the show as:
“I can’t tell you, but it’s pretty fucked up. [laughs] But they’ve been really great. And the violence, there’s been very little… From the beginning, I’m sure people were like, “Well, I wish it were on HBO because you could do whatever you wanted and it would be so awesome,” but I’m telling you this is not Preacher TV, this is not Preacher for basic cable, it’s fuckin’ Preacher.”
One very big change though is that we’ll be getting a bit more backstory about Jesse. In fact, the main events from the comics won’t be starting until later:
“In one way that Season 1 is a prequel a little bit, which doesn’t mean that characters or situations or people obviously don’t appear until the end of the season.”
Honestly, I think that this is a smart way to do an adaptation. Unlike ‘The Walking Dead’ where comic fans mostly knew where things stood right off the bat aside from the artistic changes, this will be giving us something new right off the bat.
Do you think that the changes to ‘Preacher’ will hinder or help the series as it makes its way to the small screen? Share your thoughts below!
‘Preacher’ is a supernatural, twisted and darkly comedic drama that follows a West Texas preacher named Jesse Custer, who is inhabited by a mysterious entity that causes him to develop a highly unusual power. A tough Texas preacher who has lost his faith, Jesse has learned that God has left Heaven and abandoned his responsibilities. He finds himself the only person capable of tracking God down and is demanding answers, making Him answer for his dereliction of duty. Accompanying Jesse on his journey is his former girlfriend and a friendly vampire who seems to prefer a pint in the pub to the blood of the innocent. During their quest, they are thrust into a crazy world populated by a cast of characters from Heaven, Hell and everywhere in between.
‘Preacher’ stars Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy, Ruth Negga as Tulip, Lucy Griffiths as Emily, W. Earl Brown as Sherriff Root, Anatol Yusef as DeBlanc, Tom Brooke as Fiore, Derek Wilson as Donnie Schenck and Ian Colletti as Eugene/Arseface. The series is slated to premiere on Sunday, May 22 at 10pm ET/PT on AMC.