AMC wastes as little time as Preacher's comic writer, Garth Ennis, in lifting the veil on what an utter racist prick Sheriff Hugo Root is — if there were ever a veil to lift in the first place. From his day job as a crooked cop to his life as a neglectful father, his character is undoubtably one of the easiest characters to hate from the original comic series, though his treatment in the TV show differs slightly.
However, before we get onto character representations, let's take a look at what caused Root to become the foul-mouthed beast Jesse Custer encounters.
Well, spoilers, he's always been a bit of a shit. Having worked as the Sheriff of Annville, Texas for many years, all Hugo Root truly desired was respect, yet his rash and abrasive attitude resulted in fear and loathing from the general population. It goes without saying that these traits didn't win him any friends — especially when he'd run around ranting about "martian niggas" being the cause of America's ills — not that he lost much sleep over that.
Martha, his wife, didn't love him either — she drowned her sorrows with alcohol and valium — and his son, Eugene, spent his days listening to rock and roll, getting stoned and avoiding verbal and physical beatings from his dad. And these were just the good times.
His world soon came crashing down around him when Eugene tried to off himself in a similar fashion to Nirvana's Kurt Cobain (a gunshot wound to the head), except he failed miserably; he lived, required months of reconstructive surgery, ended up with a face that looks like a shriveled bumhole, and was given the nickname Arseface. Root's only words to his son on the matter?
"Shoulda put it in your mouth, you dumb little fuck."
Charming, no? Well, his wife seized the opportunity to run off shortly after that whole mess, taking advantage of Root drinking himself into oblivion every night and Eugene being in the hospital. This meant that his sphincter-faced child — whom he despised — and his career were the only things left to him. Until he meets Jesse Custer — more on this later.
Sheriff Root: Character Difference Between The Comic And TV Series
While there's not a mammoth difference between his character from the comic books to AMC's show, it's interesting to note that the TV adaptation has softened him slightly. This was most apparent in the episode "He Gone" where he seemed genuinely concerned for Eugene's whereabouts, a fatherly trait that wasn't shown in the comic at all. In fact, Root only ever acknowledges him with hate and disgust.
Now, this might not seem like much, but it could indicate that we'll never get to see a TV rendition of the following debatably most brilliantly fucked up scene in comic book history.
Will They Actually Go Through With This One Scene From The Comic?
** For those of you who've not read the first four chapters of Preacher: Book One please note there are SPOILERS ahead. **
So, as mentioned above, Sheriff Root barely communicates with Eugene; in fact, within the comics, this scene is the only one in which he talks to him at all, and as you probably guessed, it wasn't to right past wrongs. It was way, way better than that.
In a showdown with our dear Rev. Jesse Custer shortly after Root loses 14 of his best policemen to the Saint of Killers, Custer uses his Voice of Command (a.k.a the spirit of Genesis) to suggest Root "go fuck [himself]."
So, while lying in an ambulance with an asshole clogged with the severed remains of his own dick, Root first addresses Eugene. He asks his son to bring him his revolver and he, utterly stoked with the acknowledgment, does so promptly. And then Root shoots himself in the head.
Now, as AMC has buttered up Root's character a tad and, since they're not actually allowed to use the F word, how they'll be able to recreate this literal fucking of himself for cable TV is beyond me — but I'd definitely love to see them try, wouldn't you?
5 Fun Facts About The Man Behind Preacher's W. Earl Brown
1. He's bagged roles in a number of great shows and movies
Such as: Seinfeld, Scream, Deep Impact, X-Files, There's Something About Mary, Deadwood, American Horror Story, Rogue, Black Mass, Wild, American Crime, True Detective just to name a few!
2. And still loves one of them in particular:
3. It's more than Sheriff Root that ties him to Preacher
The painting "Christina's World" by Andrew Wyeth has been referenced in multitudes since its creation in 1948 and Preacher is no exception. Not only is it recreated on the front cover of Issue 43, but Jesse Custer's mother is called Christina and in the AMC series you can see it hanging above his father's bed.
For those interested, pop-culture nods to "Christina's World" can also be spotted in:
- Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey — it's one of two paintings Dave Bowman sees hanging on the wall at the "reception stage" of his journey.
- When Jenny falls before her childhood home in Forrest Gump.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, with Mr. Burns in place of Christina.
4. He studied with John C. Reilly and Gillian Anderson!
At the Theatre School of DePaul in Chicago.
5. He's a 'Scared Cowboy'
Country through and through!
Who's your favorite character in AMC's Preacher?
Source: Comic Vine