In April, we visited the set of AMC’s upcoming supernatural drama “Preacher.” We spoke to the show’s holy trinity — Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), Tulip O’Hare (Ruth Negga), and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) — about the weird, wild, and violent ride fans of the comic and newcomers should expect when “Preacher” premieres on May 22.
1. Tulip O’Hare
Ruth Negga is an inspiration as Tulip O’Hare. She understands the nature of who the Garth Ennis and Steve Dillion character is from the “Preacher” comics, while not being afraid of adding her own flair to the character. When asked what she felt was kept from the comics Negga mentions Tulip’s “anarchic quality” as well as her relationship with Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), which she describes as one of “near hatred.”
Fans of the comics will know that sums up Jesse and Tulip’s relationship perfectly at the beginning. “We get much more sense of her history and how she came to be the woman she is,” says Negga. Which in Tulip’s case will no doubt involve a questionably violent past, with baddies in hot pursuit. But, as Negga says about Tulip, “What’s wrong with being flawed?”
He’s foul-mouthed and inappropriate, making Joseph Gilgun the best Cassidy “Preacher” fans could’ve hoped for. A larger than life personality in his own right who’s no stranger to playing odd violent men (i.e. Hydell in Lockout and Rudy Wade in “Misfits”), Gilgun says that he’s worked to keep Cassidy’s core elements: “He’s jovial, but he’s a sociopath.”
If fans were looking for a real-life embodiment of the surly Irish Vampire, Gilgun brings as much humor and heart as the Cassidy from the comics. Having found a family on the set of “Preacher” with his co-stars, Gilgun whole-heartedly believes there are “no limits with Tulip, and Cass, and Jess.” He explains, “You put them anywhere, put them through anything, and I think they’ll come out the other end.”
3. Jesse Custer
At last we get to Jesse Custer, the all-mighty Texas badass himself, but if you’re a fan of the comics you might be wondering if we’ll see that Jesse in AMC’s “Preacher.” Like Custer’s introduction in the comic, Dominic Cooper says when we first find Jesse he’s “lost, alone, dark, drunk, fighting against something he wasn’t.” Fans also know about Custer’s mean streak, and to that Cooper says, “[Jesse’s] trying to mask that all the time. He’s desperate to be good. But we often can’t hide the true monster that’s lying underneath the skin.” There will be plenty of time to see this monster come out as AMC’s “Preacher” continues.
4. Odin Quincannon
Very little is known about Odin Quincannon (Jackie Earle Haley) – except by fans of the comics. But the question is: Are they the same beast? While walking on set, I was treated to a scene being filmed with Haley’s portrayal of Quincannon. And in that vignette, Haley conveyed a range of excitement, cold indifference, and outright hatred for his fellow man with chilling ease.
In the comics Quincannon is a ruthless meatpacking entrepreneur with a dark secret discovered by Jesse Custer. Whether AMC’s “Preacher” will mirror Quincannon and Jesse’s meeting is yet to be seen, but either way fans are in store to an amazingly dark portrayal of Quincannon by Haley.
5. Savage violence
“People get kicked in the balls repeatedly,” says Joseph Gilgun about the kind of action and violence people can expect. “It’s good fun.” The “Preacher” comics are known for a kind of hyperviolence that borders on hilarity, and that’s exactly the tone captured in the show.
One direction Dominic Cooper thought was important for both Jesse’s character and the scene was during filming of a bar fight. “They said ‘Enjoy this,’ and I’m smiling,” Cooper said, describing the bright side of a brutal fight scene from the pilot episode. “Amongst this violence there’s this joy, and it really unlocked a part of [Jesse] that he’s trying to suppress but actually he relishes and loves.”
6. The cast has become a family
Cassidy is a vampire older than folks know, and he’s just stumbled on his newest family in Jesse and Tulip. This aligns with Gilgun’s view of the “Preacher” family on set. He explains: “My word is all I’ve got and loyalty really matters. We have no agenda as a cast. We have no agenda as a crew. At the moment we’ve got everybody coming together. This is a unique and special job in that the stars aligned, and we all found each other.”
7. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are superfans with a plan
Keeping in line with Gilgun’s feelings on the cast, crew, and show, I sensed from my set visit that everyone working on AMC’s “Preacher” feels this show is special, collaborative, and sure to wow long-time fans and newcomers when it premieres. At the heart of this is the infectious enthusiasm of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
“Seth and Evan are not just producers and writers and directors in this; they’re super fans,” Ruth Negga says. And she’s right: From small-set details like art from the “Preacher” comic finding its way into the stained glass windows of Jesse’s church to the care Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga and Joe Gilgun have taken with the “Preacher” trinity of Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy, this show is poised to satisfy both old and future “Preacher” fans.