EXCLUSIVE: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Ruth Negga has been cast as the female lead in Preacher, AMC’s drama pilot based on Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s cult 1990s comic. The project, from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, is about Jesse Custer, a conflicted Preacher in a small Texas town who merges with a creature that has escaped from heaven and develops the ability to make anyone do anything he says. Along with his ex-girlfriend, Tulip (Negga) — Jesse’s former and only true love — and an Irish vampire named Cassidy, the three embark on a journey to literally find God. Tulip is described as a volatile, action-packed, sexified force of nature, a capable, unrepentant criminal with a love of fashion and ability to construct helicopter-downing bazookas out of coffee cans and corn shine who’s not afraid to steal, kill or corn cob-stab her way out of a bad situation.

Negga is the first actor cast in Preacher, from Sony TV and AMC Studios. Agent Carter’s Dominic Cooper has been rumored for the lead, Jesse. Rogen and Goldberg developed the project for television and will direct the pilot, written by Sam Catlin who serves as showrunner.

Rogen, Goldberg and Catlin executive produce with James Weaver, Neal Moritz, Vivian Cannon and Ori Marmur as well as Ken Levin and Jason Netter. Ennis and Dillon co-executive produce.

Negga has comic book credentials with her recurring role as Raina on ABC’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. In features, she shot the titular role of the Irish drama Iona, directed by Scott Graham. Negga, repped by ICM Partners and Principal Entertainment LA, was recently seen in the Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side and next plays Lady Taria in another high-profile genre project, Warcraft. 

This marks the second consecutive comic book-based drama project, in which Sony has cast a minority actress as the female lead, drawn as Caucasian in the comics. Preacher joins the studio’s Playstation series Powers co-starring Susan Heyward.