preacher casts jackie earle haley

Preacher was never going to make it to television without undergoing its fair share of changes. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon‘s blasphemous and brutal comic series is very much a product of the ’90s, a story that gives political correctness a big middle finger being stomping its face in with a steel-toed cowboy boot. It’s certainly not unadaptable, but it features characters, storylines, and images that feel specifically built for a comic book, where things like “budget” and “good taste” don’t have to exist. To adapt Preacher is to recognize the spirit of the thing – to bottle its acerbic wit, grotesque slapstick, and surprising humanity – even if it means taking the story in a separate direction.

Now, a piece of casting news has revealed just how far from the source material writer/producers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin and planning to stray. Academy Award nominee Jackie Earle Haley has joined the cast as a villainous character whose presence in the show’s first season defies the comic’s original storyline in a huge way.

IGN reports that Haley has been cast as Odin Quincannon, whose television incarnation is described as “a small, decrepit man with the unscrupulous iron will necessary to be the most powerful man in Annville County, Texas. The chief employer in town, Odin runs Quincannon Meat & Power, a 125-year-old family run cattle slaughterhouse business.” That basic description mostly aligns with his comic book counterpart, but there are plenty of grotesque mysteries still waiting to be discovered about this guy. In a series full of villains that bring up a little bile every time they appear, Quincannon is among the most vomit-worthy baddies of them all.

And here’s why this casting is especially interesting: Odin Quincannon doesn’t make an appearance in the Preacher comic until issue #42, where he plays a major role in an arc that is a direct response to a whole bunch of spoiler-y stuff that can’t be talked about in public yet. By bumping him up to season one of the show (Haley is set to appear in episodes 6-10 of first season), the Preacher series has made it very clear that it will play fast and loose with its source material, moving around pieces as it sees fit.

He’s a bit younger than the Quincannon of the comics, but Haley is inspired casting for this part, mainly because he’s so damn watchable and so comfortable wallowing in the grotesque. Although he’s an Oscar nominee for his work in Little Children and a frequent supporting player in prestige films like All the King’s Men, Lincoln, and Parkland, Haley is best known amongst the comic book set for his performance as Rorschach in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen and for playing Guerrero on the well-liked but short-lived Human Target. Preacher can only be helped by his presence.

We’ve already seen one trailer for Preacher (that dodges the show’s supernatural elements for some reason) and the pilot screened to mixed responses at the Television Critics Association. We’ll be able to make up our own minds when the series premieres later this year.

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