The second season of Preacher has been full of surprises, but none have been so shocking as the when Eugene befriended Adolf Hitler in Hell.
Noah Taylor’s been raising eyebrows in the role, but sadly was not on hand when Preacher‘s co-creator Seth Rogen and castmembers Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Ian Colletti, and Graham McTavish for a rousing press conference. But Rogen was eager to talk about the show’s controversial inclusion of Hitler.
Speaking to the press at Comic-Con International about the scene where Eugene joins in on the beating of Hitler at the end of episode four (“Viktor”), Rogen said, “Yeah, that last scene–I don’t want to ruin what happens. But we’re definitely trying to play with ideas of redemption and rehabilitation. And if there is a Hell, what’s the point of it? Could you change in Hell? Is there a point to changing in Hell? Is it bad to change in Hell? Because if you become good, then it goes against the idea of Hell. I mean, I don’t want to ruin where it all goes.”
Defending the choice to humanize a genocidal war criminal — arguably the worst man in history — Rogen explained how he and the writing team came to their take on the dictator. “It would be very expected to show the just pure evil version of Hitler, basically. It’s a lot that’s more interesting to explore, like they’re all people. Like — even Hitler was a person, the worst one at that. If you kinda embrace the idea of having him as a character on a TV show, then we obviously treat him like any other character as far as the thought put into it. And for Eugene, again — he’s nice to him. He inherently believes in the Christian philosophy of forgiveness. Things like that, he’s in Hell, which he also believes in… It all adds up, is what I’m saying. It’s weird, though.”
Speaking to the show’s signature brand of irreverence, Rogen was asked about how often he has meetings with the network’s execs over shocking moments. He was earnest in AMC’s support of the show, and his and Goldberg’s creative vision. “They’re phone calls, normally,” he teased. “No one looks to look each other in the eye when they’re talking about this shit. But there’s been a few of them. Hitler? Yeah, that required a few conversations.” Mostly, though, AMC simply wanted to understand the “overall plan” behind such bold moves, to be assured “that it’s not just us doing it because it’s funny or incendiary or something. Blowing up Tom Cruise [in the pilot episode] took maybe two conversations… There’s a few things every now and then that does require a conversation. But they are generally pretty cool with it. If anything, when I watch the show — like I have with most things (I’ve done) throughout my life — I’m generally shocked at the things we are able to get away with, not what we’re not able to get away with.”
Preacher airs Monday nights on AMC.
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