For directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, “Preacher” has been a long time coming.
The pair started developing AMC’s new dark comedy as early as the filming days of 2007’s “Superbad,” but Rogen said they’ve been fans of the comic book that inspired the show since childhood.
“We are huge fans of the comic so it’s always been about how [to] make a TV show that's great and still does all the things, as fans of the comic, that we would want,” Rogen said. “As the show moves on, I think it will become more familiar to people who are fans of the comic books.”
The hour-long television show, which debuted at Paramount Theatre on Monday afternoon, centers on Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a preacher in a small West Texas town. While interspersed with comedic moments, the show is darker and more violent that most Rogen projects. The opening scenes alone use enough fake blood to turn off more squeamish viewers, and the show’s gorey theatrics never let up enough to win them back.
Actress Ruth Negga, who plays Custer’s “badass ex-girlfriend” Tulip, said the stunts are about “99 percent” real in “Preacher” — a feat that resulted in what actor Joseph Gilgun called “endless injuries” for the actors during fight scenes.
The narrative jumps from storyline to storyline, following characters in different parts of the world and muddying backstories that are already unclear to those unfamiliar with the comic series.
While the settings range from outerspace to Russia to Kansas, the West Texas town remains the focus of the series’ plot, centering the action in one place. Texas cliches from cowboy hats to Confederate Civil War re-enactors are scattered throughout the pilot episode.
"Texas is big part of show and if you're a Texan, I think you'll enjoy what we are doing for you,” Rogen said.
Rogen said he and Goldberg had no experience working on television series. Goldberg said one of the series’ writers, Sam Catlin, who worked on “Breaking Bad,” taught them that you never know what character in a series is going to end up being the crowd favorite.
“You can’t choose,” Goldberg said. “In a movie, we knew like ‘People are going to love McLovin, let’s put him in the movie a lot.’ But with this, you don’t know so you kind of have to be a little more patient and hold back.”