Those of us who’ve read Preacher have been waiting a long time to see it brought to life in a live-action adaptation. While things were so close with director Sam Mendes helming the project and the first draft of the script submitted last summer, we weren’t close enough.

Collider had the chance to talk to Producer Neal Moritz last week and in their discussions they talked about one comic book adaptation of particular interest to me and on that’s been in development hell for a decade. Read on to see the current status and plans for the Preacher movie.

The comic series, which was published from 1995-2000, was created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. The film rights of the series were originally sold back in 1998 while the series was still running but investors dropped it due to its controversial religious content. A bunch of names including Kevin Smith and James Marsden (X-Men) were attached at one point a few years later but it still fell through. In 2006, HBO was about to launch a series for Preacher but they also ended up abandoning the project after the new executives came in and avoided the material as well.

That’s just the first eight years of this mess.

Fast forward to October, 2008 and Columbia Pictures had acquired the rights to Vertigo’s Preacher comic series and attached Sam Mendes (American Beauty) to direct the film adaptation. Things were seemingly looking good and a mere few months later, screenwriter John August (Big Fish) was signed to pen the screenplay for Preacher. A few months after that Mendes talked about the movie and said August’s script was good and that the structure would not allow for all nine volumes of the series to be told in a single film; It would definitely be a film franchise of sorts.

From that time in May of last year to September, August completed the first draft of the script and director Sam Mendes had great things to say about it, revealing that we weren’t too far away from the movie actually happening. A great time for the fans, right?

Not quite. During that time last summer, Sam Mendes signed a two-year first-look deal with Focus Features which included acquisition of two projects that he could direct and one that may have been his next project. The Preacher film had nothing to do with this deal so it was reportedly not on his immediate to-do list. Oh, and he also is now directing the next James Bond feature film, starring Daniel Craig.

Sam Mendes drops Preacher to direct Bond 23

Long story short, this went from cool to bad to worse to even worse to good to awesome to bad to what now? When are we getting a Preacher movie and who’s going to bring it to us? It’s only been 12 years.

As I mentioned up top, Collider spoke with Neal Moritz who is producing the film and he clarified some details which hint that they have some sort of schedule going forward. They’re still going with the John August script and confirmed that they’re talking to another director as Mendes is definitely out now (helming Bond 23).

Moritz also confirmed that the Preacher movie will be rated R and if you’ve read any single issue of the series you’ll quickly understand why this is absolutely necessary. August’s is spreading the story over several films and is actually interested in directing himself.

If things go right this time, we could see Preacher begin production next year with a release in 2012. To some, that might be a big “if.”

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Source: Collider