Already one of the most relentlessly entertaining and uncompromisingly ambitious shows on television, AMC's Preacher returns tonight at 10:00pm EST with one of its most unsettling story arcs yet: Angelville. As readers of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's cult comic book series know, a visit to Angelville is akin to hell on Earth for Jesse Custer, leaving the door wide open for some of the show's most twisted storytelling in the third season. To give readers an inside look at what to expect in season 3, Daily Dead recently joined a group of journalists on an interview call with Preacher executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, and we've collected some of the most memorable highlights from the insightful, candid discussion:
On their favorite part of adapting the Angelville story from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's beloved comic book series:
Evan Goldberg: Without a doubt, the best part of it is the characters of Jody, TC and Gran’ma, just getting into those fan favorites and personal favorites of ours, and getting to tackle characters who are unlike any characters we’ve seen before. We’ve had a lot of different characters in the show, but these people are psychopaths, and they are terrifying people. It is just a really fun and a really different thing to tackle. But yes, without a doubt, the main thing is just the actual characters that Garth created are just so fun, and these are three of the best ones.
On the difference between Tulip's journey in the comic book series and her adventures on the TV series:
Seth Rogen: The comics has a lot of Jesse facing Tulip, and a lot of Jesse telling Tulip to not do stuff because it’s too dangerous, and then he’s going to do it. It just felt like stuff that could be improved on and stuff that allowed us to give each character more opportunity to be active, and to be heroic, and to be making decisions. And that was really what we were trying.
I think most of the changes come from that type of thinking. It’s not like, 'How do we make the show better or how do we make the comics look better?' It’s mostly just how do we give these characters more agency? How do we give them more control over their actions?
And I think this season, especially, with Tulip and Jesse, he’s the one who’s kind of stuck this time, and so [we're] giving her more opportunities to try to get him out of the situation with his health. But they’re rarely working together, as opposed to just one being helpless and one saving the other.
On the elements of the Preacher comic book series that align with Seth and Evan's approach to writing and directing:
Seth Rogen: A few things. The tone, as directors, is the most fun thing to get to play with. And it’s why, of the shows we have—and we direct a lot of them—Preacher is in a lot of ways the most fun because there’s the least rules. When we are hiring directors, that’s what we say, more than anything, is that there are no rules, you can do anything.
If it seems cool, and it helps the story and supports the characters, go for it, and that to us is the best part of the show. It’s a horror show. It’s a comedy show. It’s a dramatic show. It’s an action show. It’s a kung fu show sometimes. It’s a suspenseful show. It’s a romantic show. And very few things come along that allow you to do all that; sometimes all of that within a five-minute period of time. That’s what we love about the comics and that’s what we tried the hardest to capture with the show.
On where Seth and Evan's genre-bending approach comes from:
Seth Rogen: I think it comes from just our sensibilities. I read once that you always want to make the stuff that you grew up liking as a kid. And I think looking at the stuff we’re making, it very much confirms that theory. We grew up loving action and horror and comedy, but of all the stuff we watched, I would say comedy was a pretty small subsection. We largely watched action and horror movies and dramatic movies and weird independent movies that we would find that we had never heard of, and just liked the looks of the box.
We went to high school across the street from two giant video stores, and each one had a deal where you could rent seven movies for seven days for $7. And that’s all me and Evan did was rent movies. When I watch Preacher, and when I get to do it, that is what it feels like. Its like, “Oh, it almost feels like all seven of those movies we would watch crammed into one episode of the show.”
On one of the more controversial elements of season 3:
Evan Goldberg: I feel like last year, we reached a pretty good crescendo. But I can promise that the Allfather—it’s intense and it’s crazy and if you’re a fan of the comic, you’re not going to think that we pulled the punches on the Allfather. And if you’re not a fan of the comic, you’re going to be like, “How the f--k did they think of this shit?” And the answer is, “Garth and his demented mind thought of it. And we’re just bringing it to you.”
On combining memorable music with amazing fight scene choreography on the show:
Seth Rogen: One thing I give the writers a lot of credit for is they really push themselves to come up conceptually with an idea for the fight. They try to give it something that instantly has a hook. So it doesn’t just feel like two people punching each other. And so, some of it’s done in the writing.
We have an amazing fight choreographer named John Koyama who we’ve been working with for years and years and years. And he’s a real part of the creative team of the show. He’s like one of the directors or one of the writers. We talk to him all the time.
He goes off and films the fights and edits them together with stuntmen. And then we watch them, and we give notes and thoughts and ideas. And then, he does it again, and then we give more, and after a few tries, we usually have something that we’re all really psyched about. But yes, it’s different. They’re each different, how they’re conceived, as some of them, like the "Uptown Girl" one was conceived to be to that song.
And some of the other ones, like the Herr Starr shootout in the third season, there always was some kind of light religious song behind it. The song itself kind of switched out a few times, but the idea was always kind of the same.
On the troubled friendship and love triangle between Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy:
Seth Rogen: There’s a big problem with their dynamic, and that is just Cassidy is in love with Tulip, and he cannot be in love with Tulip. And no matter how clear it is that she doesn’t love him back and that she in fact loves someone else very much, he just cannot get over it. And no matter what, it rears its head in some destructive way because he just isn’t able to accept the reality of the situation.
The 10-episode third season of Preacher kicks off on AMC tonight at 10:00pm EST, followed by new episodes every Sunday night this summer.
Photo credit: Above photo from AMC.