NEW YORK, May 20 (UPI) -- Seth Rogen says after he unwittingly incurred the wrath of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un with his 2014 comedy The Interview, the thought of Internet trolls potentially hating on his small-screen, comic book adaptation Preacher doesn't scare him.
"My barometer for controversy has been so drastically readjusted over the last few years that a few angry tweets doesn't even register on my Richter scale anymore," the 34-year-old, Canadian actor and filmmaker told reporters at a press conference in New York Thursday. "Unless a world leader is condemning me, then I don't consider it a problem. A few angry nerds don't bother me. If you have nuclear weapons, then I am a little worried."
The Interview -- which saw Rogen and James Franco's fictional broadcast journalist characters recruited by a covert CIA agent to embark on a mission to take out Kim Jong Un -- made headlines when its theatrical release was first canceled, then limited to independent theaters, TV and digital platforms because of the real-life leader's fury.
The computer system of Sony -- the studio behind the movie -- was hacked by an anonymous group known only as the Guardians of Peace, which cited its outrage over the film as its motivation. Tens of thousands of private documents, including copies of unreleased films, screenplays, financial information and personal emails, were released online. The FBI has said the attack came from North Korea.
Theater chains initially announced they would not carry the movie out of fear for their patrons' safety when the hackers threatened violence at screenings. Sony then canceled the release, but reversed its decision after detractors argued it was a blow to American artists' right to freedom of speech.
Rogen's latest project Preacher, a 10-episode, supernatural drama/black comedy about a Texas minister with a violent past who is now seeking redemption, is to premiere Sunday night on AMC. The critically acclaimed show stars Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Ian Colletti and Joseph Gilgun.
Rogen, who is executive producing the series and directed the pilot with his longtime creative partner Evan Goldberg, said he has been a huge fan of the Preacher graphic novels since they were published in the 1990s.
"I was in high school and, so, it was also around the time I was starting to write and act and perform and, so, it was very creatively impactful on us in a lot of ways, then as soon as [Goldberg and I] had any ability to organize a meeting with someone who owned a comic-book property, we organized a meeting with the guy who controlled Preacher at the time and we were like, 'People adapt comics into things, can we be one of those guys?'" Rogen recalled.
"They went with someone else and that kind of kept happening for the next decade or so, but we have no pride or shame, so we would just constantly talk about -- to anyone who would listen -- that we wanted to make it, that we thought we could do it and then, eventually, that just paid off. [Producer] Neal Moritz was the guy who was controlling the property and we knew him and he eventually, I think, after probably crapping out with a few more qualified people brought it to us and that was maybe less than two years ago. I think we so rabidly wanted to do it that from the time we actually got it, it was a pretty quick road until now. But the road to get it took forever. And it's amazing that we actually did it and that I think it's good and that a lot of people said it was impossible to turn into anything and, so, it's very gratifying, so far."
Asked why he cast Cooper -- a Brit -- as Jesse, a distinctly American character, Rogen laughed and said: "That's what you do in TV -- just cast British people. We're standing on the shoulders of giants."
"Jesse tonally needs to encapsulate everything that's in the show, which is a lot," Rogen explained, adopting a more serious tone. "He needs to be an action star. He needs to be a romantic lead. He needs to be a comedic lead. He needs to be in a buddy movie sometimes. He needs to be in a B horror movie sometimes and Dominic had just done a lot of those things, honestly. I had just been a fan of his. ... He's one of those guys who he'd pop up and I was like, 'There's something I really like about this guy.' And that was really it. And his look was incredibly analogous to how Jesse looks in the comics and then we met him and he seemed to get it and he seemed excited and it just seemed like it would work."
Pressed to reveal if he has heard from celebrity fans of Preacher, who want guest spots on the show, Rogen replied: "I haven't. I'd be curious to know if there are any good celebrity fans. GOOD celebrity fans."
Given the fact that his big-screen comedy Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising hits theaters around the same time as the Preacher premiere, Rogen has been on a non-stop promotion trail.
So, is he planning to get any sleep at all this weekend?
"I'm going on vacation Saturday for three weeks," he chuckled. "I'm not even staying through the weekend. I'm leaving. I don't even know what's going to happen. I'll be in Europe."