It’s official: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are adapting “Preacher” for Sony and AMC, with “Breaking Bad” alum Sam Catlin serving as showrunner and executive producer.
“Preacher” is one of the more acclaimed adult comic book series of the ’90s, telling the story of Texas reverend Jesse Custer and his friends as they learn that God has abandoned His place in Heaven and try to track down the Almighty to make Him answer for the sorry state of life on this here Earth. The series features angels, deadly saints, vampires, inbred hillbillies and all manner of depravation. It is a tribute to all the things that series creator Garth Ennis loves about America and American pop culture – the ghost of John Wayne is yet another character, and one of the most memorable story arcs takes place in Monument Valley – and it is a twisted, touching, hilarious piece of work.
It’s also one that has eluded adaptation for a few decades. Kevin Smith tried to produce a movie version at one point, before abandoning it. Mark Steven Johnson tried to turn it into an HBO series before abandoning it. Recently Sam Mendes and then D.J. Caruso were attached to a film version before, again, it was abandoned.
Now it’s time for lifelong geeks Rogen and Goldberg – who demonstrated a surprising flair for blending comedy, blasphemy and horror in last summer’s hit “This Is The End” – to make their attempt at it, with a lot of help from Catlin, who will run the show day to day if it becomes a series. (Right now, it’s just in development.)
“This is amazing!” Rogen and Goldberg said in a statement. “We’ve tried for seven years to work on Preacher and we’re so psyched AMC is finally letting us. It is our favorite comic of all time, and we’re going to do everything we can to do it right. Humperdoo!”(*)
(*) That last line will mean nothing to you if you haven’t read the comics, and everything if you have, and I would not dream of giving away what character says that line and in what context before you’ve read and/or seen it.
Word of this project first broke back in November, when Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci reported that Rogen and Goldberg were talking with AMC about bringing Jesse, Cassidy and Tulip to life. At the time, I said that I was skeptical that anyone could turn this into a show, especially away from pay cable – “The Walking Dead” is about as gory as the worst of “Preacher,” but it doesn’t contain material that will engender boycotts by various Christian groups the way “Preacher” will if Rogen, Goldberg and Catlin are completely faithful to Ennis’ work – but that “This Is the End” made me far more optimistic that these guys could at least handle the many messy and seemingly incompatible tones of the project.
Now that this is happening, what does everybody think? Are you excited to see these guys teaming up with a “Breaking Bad” vet – who, if nothing else, should have an excellent idea of how to film the various action in the Southwest? Do you think a reasonably faithful adaptation is even possible on a basic cable channel? And is there one scene from the comics that you especially want – or don’t want – to see on your TV in a few years? And any thoughts on who would be right to play the three leads (or other characters like The Saint of Killers and Herr Starr) who would actually be willing to do an ongoing TV series at this point in their careers?