Executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who directed Episodes 1 and 2 of AMC’s Preacher, discuss upping the action in Season 2, why the Saint of Killers is so scary, and why they’ll always have a soft spot for Fiore.
Q: Taking what you learned from Season 1, what was your chief creative goal coming into the second season?
Evan Goldberg: When we made the show originally — based off just how many comics, including Preacher, had different artists — we wanted to make the seasons and different locations have different vibes and create a different kind of cinematic language. So, we always planned on having the first season have one vibe, a little more mysterious and brooding, and the second one amp up the action and the road trip element, and kind of really embrace New Orleans, where we end up.
Q: Is it difficult to amp up the action and the crazier aspects of the show but still keep things a bit grounded? How do you find that balance?
Seth Rogen: Who knows if we do? [Laughs]
EG: I mean the balance of action is budgetarily something you just have to deal with. We’re always limited in how many fights we can have, but I feel like we got a much higher amount of cool action and a lot more tense situations into this season than the first one, because the first one kind of answered the basic mystery of “What is this all about?” and the second one has us on a mission to find God, and we are on that mission.
Q: How do you think having that mission changes Jesse Custer as a character?
EG: It definitely focuses Jesse and puts his eye on the prize, possibly to the deficit of his relationships with other people. It certainly starts to become strenuous throughout the season.
Q: How did directing these two episodes compare to the ones in the first season? Since you weren’t setting up the world as much this time around, were you able to dive into the crazy more?
EG: It was incredibly fun the first time, but [this time] the team was established and … the speed at which everyone worked and how well they all understood each other really enhanced the experience. And it just felt like whatever the opposite of putting on a wet swim trunk is. Putting on a nice pair of socks? [Laughs]
SR: The scripts are really different and the themes are really different. The show is kind of always throwing new stuff at us directorally. It’s one of the reasons it’s one of the most fun things for us to do because really, it’s always pretty different. There were no massive shootouts [or] weird ‘70s car chases last season. There’s more in the first few minutes of this season that’s different than what we did at all last season. So, it’s just always fun because we get to try new things.
EG: There will always be a soft spot for the Fiore story. The Fiore story was just so weird and not something I think anyone would ever be able to predict what happened because of how unbelievably weird it is. For me, that holds a place in my heart.
SR: That was a lot of fun to do. We enjoy doing non-verbally driven sequences, so it was cool to do a long sequence that really had no dialogue — that was kind of just visual joke after visual joke.
Q: What about Cassidy and Fiore’s day of debauchery?
EG: That was just fun to film because those kinds of things you always have no time whatsoever to film them. If you’re doing some kind of crazy montage you have to run around like maniacs just getting shot after shot after shot because you need so many to make a good one. It’s always fun to film something like that, and it’s fun to film Fiore and Cassidy together because they have kind of a magic, brotherly bond.
Q: What are some of the other challenges of doing those big set pieces?
SR: Sometimes it’s just logistical things, like for the vending room scene, the actual vending machine was not at the same place as the actual hotel and things like that. So there’s just little, logistical things like that you have to wrap your head around at times. But it was mostly just really fun, honestly.
EG: The emotional journey of the three main characters becomes pretty tumultuous over the course of this season. They start to find some fractures in their fellowship.
Q: What do you think having that triangle at the center of the show does for Season 2?
EG: Someone can always relate to one of the three characters. [We have] three big, main characters who have different agendas. It allows you to keep things feeling energetic and threatening at all times because different teams can team up and different dynamics can form over the course of the season.
Q: We know you guys love the Saint of Killers. What’s it been like seeing him wreak havoc in the modern world?
SR: That was actually maybe the most challenging part of the season was finding how to integrate him into the real world, because as soon as he’s not in Western town, you kind of have to reimagine his presence a little bit. But I think it turned out really well, and he’s very scary. He killed a lot of people. [Laughs]
Q: What aspects of the comic are you most excited to see brought to life this season?
EG: For sure, Herr Star.
SR: For sure. It’s a little different [from the comic] as to how it all plays out, but the cornerstones are the same.
Q: Now that you’re adapting the comic more directly, are you still in disbelief that this fantasy from your youth is actually coming true on TV?
SR: It’s crazy. It’s very exciting. We feel very fortunate, more for this than our own families. [Laughs]
EG: If you liked the first season, you’re going to get more of the same but with more action. And if you didn’t see the first season, you should see the first season, and then see this one!
Read a Q&A with Tom Brooke, who plays Fiore.
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