At the Television Critics Association press tour on Friday, executive producer Seth Rogen discussed how and why Preacher will deviate from the 1990s Vertigo Comics series, created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, that the show is based on.
"It didn't seem, at first, that we should do it that way but then we talked to Garth [Ennis]," Rogen explained (via LA Times). "And Garth very much encouraged us to make a lot of small changes and to make it a good show first and foremost. Our big thing is we want fans who love the comic to get everything they want, but to also make some new twists and turns." He added, "And for them to be surprised and not know what to expect on a weekly basis."
Another deviation will be the look of Arseface (played by Ian Colletti), a teenager whose face is mangled from a botched suicide attempt with a gun. "First we had to know what his face looked like and his body structure and all that," said executive producer Evan Goldberg. "And then try to figure out how to make him look realistic but not cartoony in any way or silly."
Over the years, Arseface fans have created comic book-accurate prosthetics, which Rogen is well aware of, but a live-action television show needs to think about more than just accuracy.
"It's interesting, there had been something online that existed in some test that someone had done, that looked exactly how it looked in the comic," Rogen said. "And as soon as I saw it, I knew we should try and make it not look exactly how it looked in the comic, and we should take some license and try to make it something maybe a little more -- palatable, might be the word. And we wanted the kid to be sympathetic, someone you really rooted for. There's a threshold that becomes difficult in short bursts."
"Also just technically, we had to make sure -- the actor's face, we had to make sure you could see him be sad and be happy," added Goldberg.
Though, the biggest departure from the comics is the exclusion of Jesse's quest to find God himself in the pilot, which is a main driving force in the comics. Could that be set up later on? "We've never made anything with any mystery involved in it," Rogen offered. "And so we've never been in a position where we can be like, 'We don't want to answer that question.' But yeah: We don't want to answer that question."
Preacher follows Reverend Jesse Custer, a tough Texas preacher who has lost his faith, and has learned that God has left Heaven and abandoned his responsibilities. He finds himself the only person capable of tracking God down, demanding answers, and 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. On his tail is one of the most iconic bad guys in print – an immortal, unstoppable killing machine named the Saint of Killers —a western lone gunman archetype whose sole purpose is to hunt and kill Jesse.
Preacher will premiere on AMC this May.