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WONDERCON: “Preacher” Screening and Q&A with Cast and Showrunner

by  in TV News
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The TV adaptation of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon‘s seminal DC/Vertigo comic book series “Preacher” is set to debut May 22 on AMC, but before that, two of the stars of the series and the showrunner appeared Friday evening before the WonderCon crowd at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga, who star as Jesse Custer and Tulip, were both in attendance, along with showrunner Sam Catlin.

The panel is starting about 20 minutes late to accommodate the very full crowd, but it’s about to begin — first with the pilot screening. Laptop is closing, but we’ll be back in about 45 minutes for the Q&A!

Q&A is starting! First question is for Catlin, about the previously publicized choice to have Tom Cruise to be exploded by Genesis in the pilot. Catlin said they were looking to cast a wide net in men of faith being visited by the entity.

Cooper said he was “desperate” to play Jesse. “It has everything you want as an actor,” he said. “There’s so much more to discover, and I think that’s what I’m relishing in playing him. There’s such complexity to him.

Negga on Tulip: “It’s not every day you read a script with scenes like that. But it’s not every day you meet Tulip. She’s a broad character, but she’s everything a human being is. She’s extremes, she’s deeply vulnerable, she has a terrible temper, but she’s also loving. She has her own idea of what love is.”

All three of the panelists praised the show’s stunt coordinators. “It’s like a dance they come up with, it’s amazing,” Catlin said.

Catlin talked Arseface’s look on the show as compared to the comic book. “We didn’t want him to be so deformed and so hectic looking that it was a distraction, but he had to have a face that looked like an arse,” Catlin said. “And we sort of took it from there.”

“We wanted to do Garth Ennis’ ‘Preacher,'” Catlin told the crowd. “We never had any interest in doing an approximation of that. Obviously, we have a different starting point from where we start with Jesse. But everyone wants to do Garth’s ‘Preacher.’ It’s really our Bible, it’s our road map — that world, that crazy, fucked up, upside-down world, why do anything less than that, unless someone says no? And no one’s said no so far.”

Negga discussed Jesse and Tulip’s relationship on the series. “He’s her reason for being, and I think that she doesn’t understand why he doesn’t feel the same way at the moment,” she said. “She views him as the yin to her yang. She has to short of figure out a life where maybe she might have to stand on her own and separate from him — and that’s kind of scary.”

First fan question asked about how much work it took to put the fight scenes together. “A lot,” Negga answered. Cooper said it’s also to the credit of the show’s editors. “When you’re fighting, you have to be very aware that you can’t actually make contact,” Negga said. “If you’re watching it when they’re filming, it’s like a ballet.”

Next fan asked if viewers will meet The Saint of Killers this season. “Do you want to meet the Saint of Killers this season?” Catlin asked. “All of those people are going to come, in their time. I promise.”

Was there any thought to setting the show in the ’90s, when the “Preacher” comic book was coming out? “The hair was too bad,” Cooper joked. “To me, and I think Garth agrees, it wasn’t a comic about the ’90s, it’s a comic about America,” Catlin answered. “There are certain things I miss, but there were too many things to gain by setting it in the present day.”

The next question concerned keeping the show friendly to newcomers to “Preacher” while also appealing to devoted fans of the comic. “The show has to work for ‘Preacher’ fans, but also has to work for all the people, like myself, who have never read the comic,” Catlin said, adding that it’s a lot of fun to put “hints and clues” for the comic book fans to pick up on, something that’ll be seen as early as the second episode.

Will John Wayne be in the series? “I can’t say,” Catlin answered.

The last fan at the mic asked Negga and Cooper what their favorite aspects of their characters are. “I think she has an innocence about the world,” Negga said of Tulip. “The way she views the world is, there’s shit you should do, and shit you shouldn’t do, and you’ve got to pay for the shit you shouldn’t do. She’s going to come knocking on your door.”

“He has the things I’ve always wanted: Make people do exactly what you say,” Cooper replied at the close of the session.