When it comes to characters bursting out of comic book pages and exploding on the big screen, much of the recent focus has been confined to the big guns of the Marvel and DC universes. However, director Joe Carnahan hasn’t forgotten about the lesser-known comic book heroes out there.

In fact, Carnahan has his eye on Reverend Jesse Custer, the star of Vertigo’s Preacher series, which was created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, and ran for 75 issues from 1995 to 2000.

Out promoting his latest movie, The A-Team, Carnahan has confessed to Superhero Hype that he would love to get his hands on Preacher, a project long-slated for cinematic adaptation, perpetually held up by one setback after another.

A cult hit – so to speak – Preacher keeps to that Vertigo trend of being a little left of center. It is the entertaining story of Reverend Jesse Custer, a once down-on-his-luck Texan preacher who becomes possessed by a supernatural being that, itself, was born out of an ‘unauthorized’ coupling of an angel and a demon.

Suffice to say, the whole crazy union makes Custer one hell of a powerful ‘Man of God’, albeit a little in the dark when it comes to knowing exactly why he has been ‘blessed’ in the way that he has. Teaming up with his ex-girlfriend and an alcoholic Irish vampire, he sets off on a journey of self discovery across the United States, encountering equally strange characters including, among many others, the ghost of John Wayne.

Carnahan, who was also the writer-director behind Smokin’ Aces, told Superhero Hype:

“I’m a big Garth Ennis fan and I love that series and that’s out there, and that might be something… I really love that.”

While not quite in the same league as Watchmen, the movie version of Preacher seems to be following a similarly troubled path as that of Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel, which took well over two decades to become a live-action release.

Ennis himself wrote a few drafts of a Preacher screenplay in the late ’90s when Rachel Talalay was hired to direct, but the controversial nature of the story led to the film’s investors backing out. It was a similar story several years later, when a TV series was in early development at HBO.

Acquiring the rights to the film in 2008, Sony Pictures appears serious about finally bringing Custer and co to life, while staying true to Preacher‘s dark and twisted past. That likely mean the film will be R-rated. Last word was that they would be using a script by John August, but Sam Mendes dropped out of the running to direct.

The wonderfully twisted world of Preacher

While he hasn’t confirmed that he’s actually had any discussions with Sony producer Neal Moritz, Carnahan has an idea for where he would like the Preacher movie to go.

“You gotta do the Allfather and all that crazy sh*t and I haven’t seen a script and I don’t know what it is, but yeah, we’ll see. Who knows?”

The Allfather Carnahan speaks of is D’Aronique, Custer’s distant uncle and leader of The Grail, a secret organization controlling the governments of the world and protecting the bloodline of Jesus. Don’t expect anything like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, though. Preacher is cut from a very different cloth.

If he can’t get his hands on Preacher, Carnahan revealed he would also welcome the opportunity to unleash Marvel supervillain Taskmaster on the masses in his own movie.

Marvel villain/anti-hero The Taskmaster

Movies adapted from cult comic book series like Watchmen, Constantine and Kick-Ass have have hardly set the world on fire at the box-office, but that fact should not deter Sony from pushing ahead with Preacher. Certainly Carnahan is the man to make it work – of course, a lot may depend on how The A-Team goes.

Source: Superhero Hype