PREACHING TO THE CHOIR
Dominic Cooper gives us a sermon about Jesse Custer
PREACHER, GARTH ENNIS and Steve Dillon’s shocking, darkly funny comic about a man of God who turns on his creator, was long considered unadaptable. Well, Seth rogen and Evan Goldberg stuck a fork in that one with the show’s hugely enjoyable first season. At its core was a great turn from Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, the minister thrown into a world of angels, vampires, and a bloke with an arse for a face…
Did you know the comic before taking this on?
I heard the name of a script that was being bandied around and it was a good one. And I found a copy [of the comic] at my friend’s house. I sneaked off with it and read it and loved it. Then I started looking online, then got hold of the comics, then had a meeting with Seth and Evan, which was extraordinary — big hairy blokes talking about people who look like bumholes, scenes that could be set in heaven and hell and people that like sleeping with big chunks of meat. It was very hard to fathom. But by the end I was completely engrossed, and desperate to be part of it.
the pilot alone deals with religion and sci-fi, and has insane stunts and tom Cruise exploding.
It was an experience like I’ve never had. It was continually jumping from genre to genre while at work and that just kept us all on our toes. Each day was like a sort of gift of madness. And I’ve never experienced anything where I’ve been so desperate to get hold of the next script. I really wanted to know what was going to take place, where these characters were going to end up.
Your Jesse is not necessarily the Jesse of the comic book. Did you feel you had freedom to introduce your own take?
Yeah, I hope I’m not doing a disservice to Garth [Ennis] by saying this, because I think he’s written such an elaborate, in-depth, beautiful and mesmerising comic, but it wasn’t easy to get the full in-depth version of Jesse from the comic... So, I think we’ve all had to make our interpretations of who these people are. And I think they are quite different from the comic. What’s been very helpful is this has been almost a prequel to the comics, so there’s been much more evidence of Jesse’s commitment to the church. None of that’s in the comic. It hasn’t been easy to find him, but it’s been a very rewarding and eye-opening journey.
speaking of eye-opening, Jesse famously gets an eye patch in the comic, after a run-in with god. will that happen as the show develops?
He’s got to have the eye patch at some point. It’s a massive part of the comic…
PREACHER season 1 is out on 17 october on DVD and blu-ray
Cooper as former bad boy Jesse Custer. below: Tulip O’hare (Ruth Negga) and vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) have car trouble.