Seth Rogen and his producing partner, Evan Goldberg, desperately wanted to bring comic book series Preacher to TV, and they wanted Sam Catlin, former Breaking Bad writer and producer, to be the point man.
So Catlin read the comics, loved them, and said, “No way.”
“I told them, it’ll never be a TV show,” Catlin tells B&C. “It’s too crazy, it’s too out there.”
Well, Preacher debuts on AMC May 22, and it is crazy, and it is out there, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s the story of a rather unholy holy man, played by Dominic Cooper, battling his demons and assorted rednecks in dusty west Texas. There’s a vampire and a gun-toting ex-girlfriend, and randomly exploding clerics. There’s loads of violence and a bit of dark humor. It’s very AMC.
Rogen and Goldberg can be persuasive. “They kept after me,” says Catlin, who admits, with some sheepishness, that he was unfamiliar with Garth Ennis’ Preacher series when they mentioned the comics to him.
AMC will air 10 episodes. Joel Stillerman, president of original programming and development at AMC, described Preacher as “above all, about great characters–something we look for in all of our series.”
There’s no shortage of work out there for Rogen and Goldberg, the brains behind Superbad and This is the End. Rogen is a very in demand actor as well, starring in the sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. But Catlin says the pair is “very much involved” with Preacher, directing the pilot and keeping on top of the subsequent episodes.
“We created it together—I wouldn’t be here without them,” says Catlin. “We talk almost every day.”
Rogen and Goldberg have been fans of the comic franchise since it came out in the ‘90s. “In many ways Garth’s sense of drama and comedy and [illustrator] Steve Dillon’s visual aesthetic helped form our style, and the idea that we are actually bringing Preacher to life is a dream come true,” the duo said in a statement when the project was announced.
Catlin, who spent five years on Breaking Bad, concedes that launching a series into today’s landscape is somewhat daunting, but he believes Preacher—very definitely not to be confused with Fox Television Stations series The Preachers—has the stuff to stand out. “There’s a lot of great innovative TV, but that’s the whole reason AMC and Sony took a chance on this,” he says. “People have to keep raising their game in terms of ground-breaking television. This is unlike anything anyone has ever seen on TV.”
Catlin’s TV tastes adhere closely to the AMC schedule, including Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead. He’s also a big fan of Game of Thrones. Quentin Tarantino’s influence on Preacher is readily apparent; Catlin also mentions the Coen Brothers and Monty Python as creative models.
He’d work again with Rogen and Goldberg in a heartbeat. “They’re great producers,” says Catlin. “And everything they do turns out to be a success.”
Take a peek at the first episode below: