I have a juvenile sense of humor and a weirdly conservative, vengeance loving, completely ridiculous outlook on life. When Preacher was being put out, I read every single issue. I loved it and would crack up over and over at the ludicrous ultraviolence and absurdly masculine Southern gothic characters.
It was dumb, loud, funny, sort of philosophical, and referenced a canon I admired: Bill Hicks, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Westerns, Cormac McCarthy, Muscle Cars, Nirvana, and 1970s exploitation films.
A few weeks ago I was reading some comments in a story about the first trailer for the show and one jumped out at me. It said, “I loved this comic, but I grew up.” Fuck that. For better or worse, I’m basically the same as I was since I was a teenager, taste-wise. I picked up a Preacher graphic novel at a used book store recently, flipped through it, and it still made me laugh. I’m pretty much the target audience for this show.
But I was worried. Hollywood generally fucks up more than it wins. Some critics are concerned about Seth Rogen’s hands being on the wheel. I’m not so worried about that. He’s a real fan of the books and when someone loves the material, they’re going to try n and do their best. What I was most worried about is the casting. After the first episode, my concerns are lessened, but my enthusiasm remains guarded.
The lead role of Jesse Custer is played by Dominic Cooper, an Englishman. I don’t know what the fuck is up with AMC and casting Brits as Southerners. I’ve never seen this guy in anything else, but he’s decent so far.
There was always a bit of a difference in Jesse Custer’s face in the pages and on the cover of the comics. I think Cooper’s look nails the cover art, but for the actual story, I think someone like the dude who played Shane in The Walking Dead and The Punisher in Daredevil would’ve been more to my liking.
The cover faces seemed a bit weirder or manic, whereas the pages portrayed Custer as a little more square jawed and with a stronger nose. The people who did the costume nailed it, though. I never saw those goofy metal collar tips in real life, and they look as I thought they might.
Cooper’s accent is ok, I guess. The first episode takes place during a part of the story where Custer is a drunk sad sack. I’m curious if he’ll pull the wreckless, fun loving wildness off.
Jesse Custer’s girlfriend, Tulip O’Hare, is played by Ruth Negga. I really like her energy and acting in the role so far. My only real complaint is that she’s not a corn-fed looking Texas blonde.
Now, I’m not freaking out about it like those creeps who hated on Rue in The Hunger Games being black or the army of twats who freaked out over Idris Elba playing James Bond. I didn’t even mind Anthony Hopkins in black face playing Othello (it must be seen to be believed). Tulip’s buxomness and blondness were interesting because she was supposed to sort of look like a Texas bar bimbo, but be super deadly. Who she really was played against what she looked like.
Also, as Rusty James said in S.E. Hinton’s Rumblefish, “I just like blondes. I don’t care how they get that way.” Negga is beautiful, fun to watch, and will probably crush it. My pick would’ve been January Jones if she looked convincing with a pistol or, after seeing the abysmal second season of True Detective, maybe Rachel McAdams.
Ian Coletti plays Arseface, a teenage character who tried to kill himself with a shotgun, but survived, majorly disfigured. There’s not much to say about his performance. He mostly just mumbles unintelligibly. The picture above is from an early version of the makeup and is much truer to the comic. His face is supposed to be so disturbing that it causes people to vomit when they see him.
The character the show absolutely nails is the Irish vampire Cassidy. He’s played by Joe Gilgun, who really delivers on the humor and weirdness portrayed in the comics. I don’t want to spoil the fight scene that introduces him on the show, but it is really funny.
So far, the show seems pretty enjoyable and true to the spirit of the comic. There are some touches that really seem to be Seth Rogen calling cards. The opening scene’s kind of cheesy, nostalgic cheapness reminds me of the opening of Pineapple Express (the one that’s in black & white at the army base). The super fake opening gives the show a stylized four color comic feel reminiscent of HBO’s Tales from the Crypt series.
The plot has already deviated quite a bit from the comic, which I think is probably a good thing. I don’t know how they would’ve portrayed some of the shit that happens in the comic on television.
Anyway, what do you think about the show? Did you read the comic back in the day? I feel like I should pick them up again. It’s been like 20 years since I started reading them. Crazy.