If the dark comic Deadpool was long Ryan Reynolds’ passion project to bring to the big screen, the equally dark, graphic-novel netherworld of the West Texas-set Preacher has long been something Seth Rogen wanted to bring to either the big or small screen.
He did both Monday at South by Southwest when the pilot episode for the Preacher AMC series had its world premiere at South by Southwest.
The show will debut on the network on May 22 after Fear the Walking Dead,
Unlike Deadpool or The Walking Dead, also based on comic books or graphic novels, Preacher is harder to categorize.
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The title character is Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) who returns to his West Texas town as a possessed pastor who’s good in a bar brawl and befriends an Irish vampire (Joseph Gilgun). Together with the pastor’s ex-girlfriend (Ruth Negga), who can also more than take care of herself in a fight, they go on a hunt for God.
It’s an intriguing world that graphic novel creators Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, and now co-producer Rogen, have created. But, like Deadpool and The Walking Dead, it does not skimp on the ultra-violence.
At a post-screening panel with producers and cast, Rogen said he and producing partner Evan Goldberg “grew up together and read a ton of comic books and we read the comic book from when it first came out.”
“Literally as soon as we had any power in Hollywood, we tried to make it. So, for the last 10 years we’ve been trying to make it,” he said. “But it was always in the hands of more successful and more talented people than us and somehow they all [messed] it up and it rolled downhill into our laps.”
The Texas setting is important to Preacher, even though it was actually shot in Albuquerque, N.M.
“It’s a very big part of the show,” Rogen said. “If you’re a Texan, I think you’ll enjoy what we’re doing for you.”