AMC's Preacher panel is not for the faint of heart. The series, based on the comic of the same name by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, brought stars Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga and Joseph Gilgun as well as executive producers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Sam Catlin to Comic-Con International in San Diego to discuss the ongoing Season 3.
As the cast sat down, the moderator asked why "Once you go latex dog, you never go back," Rogen joked.
"Tulip dies in the comic, but yeah we just sort of moved it up the schedule a bit. We always knew we had to go back to Angelville. It wouldn't be Preacher if we didn't see Gramma," Catlin explained.
"After falling in love with the comics, the grandma and the family and what his past represents to him," Cooper added. He referred to the first season as a prequel to the comics. "It's great to play them out and the relationship with the grandma... he has the blood of the grandma within him and he realized why this entity... can exist within him. He's sort of half good, half email. Each and every episode Sam's created, I get excited about the possibilities... Such wonderful casting has been extraordinary."
"She's been fantastic and Betty has that sort of Broadway diva presence about her," Catlin said. "Angelville is very much her territory. She just has a great presence and authority to her... She also really loves him and cares of him, which is just another sort of weapon she uses to imprison him there. I feel like she's made grandma complex and to me, even scarier.... She does all these things in her mind for love."
"What I quite like is the peculiar weapons that she chooses," Negga said in reference to her character Tulip. "She just gets very creative. The writers got creative, and I followed through. That's a lot of fun. They're very tongue-in-cheek fight scenes and they're just so funny to do and I just love working... our fight director. He's very good working with someone who's... I'm not very good at fighting, and I've got two left feet as well."
"Are there really 7,000 people in here? We could really fuck shit up if we went out together," Gilgun joked. "We should all jsut meet in one bar. At 9 o'clock, we should all meet up in one place and fuck shit up."
"You get these incredibly brave stuntmen and they break it down for you and the first time they do it for you, you're like, 'I'm not doing that'... I look like an ill version of Solomon [Gilgun's stunt double]," he recalled. "We and him, we had a fight to learn and we were learning it everywhere, in the car park, alarms going off. The bugs out here are massive! They will fuck you up! Fucking creatures out here are not be messed with."
"At this point, the scripts pretty much just say 'a fight that involves a banana and this, an intestine,'" Catlin explained.
As to the love triangle, Cooper said, "I think there's too much at stake at the moment to focus on what that means, and Jesse is certainly aware that something is up and something is going on... The situation is so complex and difficult. All he has to do is get the people he loves out of danger... The truth is, they've never had people in their lives they've cared about so much... Hopefully, they find a way to resolve it... I'm not sure it gets resolved by the end of this season."
"I think I'd be a bit more hopeful about them. I think they're wedded to one another, this threesome. It's a very deep and soulful connection. I don't think any one of them would truly risk losing that. They are these outlier pariahs," Negga added. "Their friends becomes their family and I don't think they would risk losing that... they're just so copper-fastened to each other. Even though they're very independent and have gone their separate ways this season, they've got that bond."
As to why it was time for Grandma to appear on the show, Rogen said, "It just seemed like, in the hero's journey, you need to overcome these demons before moving on and these felt like Jesse's biggest foes... and he really needs the help of these people who have joined his orbit along the way."
Asked about the All-Father, Goldberg pointed out, "He has a little wand to stick down his throat to make him throw up sometimes."
"There's a scene where they eat a horse," Rogen laughed. "It was one of our favorite characters from the comics and is truly just a bizarre character and we hope to make good on that promise."
"A lot of sexy vampires, yeah!" Gilgun promised. "I don't know how much I can tell you without getting fucking bullocked... There's a lot of vampiric stuff going down. There's a lot going down."
"I love about Featherstone and Betty's character is that she really meets her matches with these ladies. I think she's so used to meeting people she can outsmart verbally and physically, and then she meets these women and has this begrudging respect for them," Negga shared. "We riff off one another. She's so funny and so deadpan and it's just really nice to see Tulip undercut... and I think the same with Betty is it's sort of fascinating to see these women where no one backs down."
"I feel bad for Tulip, because she has to sort of become," she added.
"The Santa Killer has a job to do, I guess sort of bounty hunting. He's gotta go get Eugene and he's got to go get Hitler," Catlin said.
"Who works at Subway," Rogen pointed out. He added that they couldn't actually use Subway, so it was a more generic brand of sub shop. "Hitler is too much for Subway. They've had some questionable sponsorship."
Asked how they wrote for Twitter, Rogen replied, "Just go on Twitter."
In reference to next week's episode, titled "The Coffin," Catlin said, "We absolutely knew from the very beginning that that's a sequence we have to do . It was fun to write just because it was nice to see Jesse completely, temporarily defeated and under the thumb and treated like a little child."
"It wasn't very fun," Cooper "I was submerged underwater in a coffin. There is nothing enjoyable about that whatsoever." Subsequently, Cooper and Rogen went back and forth about the scene, which Rogen didn't realize was actually filmed underwater. Cooper quickly corrected him, having acted the scene. "We'll resolve this later, Dom," Rogen said. "Everyone's fine. That's all that matters."
The panel paused for a moment to roll a clip, in which Jesse and Tulip threw down with T.C. and Jody.
"It's hard to improvise fight choreography because someone could get really hurt," Rogen said. "They fully do it and I'm always amazed how well they've learned the choreography and the only reason they're able to be shot in fun way is because they're doing. Sometimes we put Dominic into a coffin and lower him into the water."
Asked what Cassidy looks for in a woman, Gilgun said, "Someone who's in the market for a drug-abusing vampire. I don't think he has a type at all... I think he goes with the flow sexually... I think he's a funny spirit. I don't think he looks for a type. If he's there, fantastic. Beggars can't be choosers."
"I think it's one of the biggest episodes of the series. We sort of scatter our characters to the four winds," Catlin said of the finale. "It comes together in a pretty crazy way. The characters realize by the end of it that their fates are tied together." According to Catlin, Season 3 is about the three protagonists finding out how much they need each other to survive.
Despite some canonical changes, Rogen believes "tonally, it's hard to argue we've stuck close to the tone."
"We never guessed having Hitler on our show would be relevant," he added. "I wish it wasn't. When we first did it, we were like 'this is crazy'... but now it's like 'wow, there's a lot we could be saying' because we have Hitler on our show."
Asked if there was something too out there for the show, Catlin said, "In the comics, T.C. has sex with a gutted fish. We didn't see fit to show that story."
"Sex with dead things, we kind of shy away from," Rogen added.
"One of these days he's going to have to find God... and I think it'll look pretty similar [to the comics]... I think Jesse needs to hold Him to account, whatever that looks like," Catlin teased.
"This ends hinting at a really big one coming up," Golberg hinted.
"I think the season finale of this season really sets up the stuff that, if you're a fan of the comic, sets up the stuff you want to see," Rogen pitched in.
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC, Preacher stars Dominic Cooper as Preacher Jesse Custer, Ruth Negga as Tulip and Joe Gilgun as Cassidy the Vampire. Betty Buckley (Gran’ma), Colin Cunningham (T.C.), Jeremy Childs (Jody) and Liz McGeever (Christina) also star.