Columbia Pictures has acquired the rights to Vertigo’s popular and highly-acclaimed comic series Preacher and has attached Sam Mendes to direct the film adaptation.

Sam Mendes, who won an Oscar for directing American Beauty, will not be the first director who has been signed to direct this project. Before being picked up by Columbia, Preacher has sat in development-limbo for nearly a decade.

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 to Electric Entertainment with Rachel Talalay directing a script written by Ennis. After suffering through investor issues due to the controversial religious content, Ennis approached Kevin Smith and company to help finance and produce the film. The project got to the point where James Marsden was signed on as the lead back in 2002 but eventually the project was abandoned.

But that’s not the end yet.

In 2006, HBO stepped up and hired some writers to create a television pilot. HBO loved the pilot script and asked the writer to continue to write the storylines for the entire first season. Once again, the project was abandoned – this time as a result of the new HBO executives simply not liking the idea. It’s too bad really as this would have made a great adult HBO series and the story could have been really told properly.

Preacher tells the story of Reverend Jesse Custer who becomes host to an angel-demon hybrid entity known as Genesis. Due to its split-nature of pure good and evil, Genesis is powerful enough to rival God himself. The plots follows Custer on his adventure discovering who he is and what he can do as he hunts down God who abandoned Heaven as Genesis was born. Joining Custer on the trip we have Tulip O’Hare, his old lady-friend, and Cassidy, an Irish vampire who loves the booze.

I’m glad to see the rights picked up again and I hope it gets done right this time. If possible, I’d also like to see James Marsden picked up again for the role of Jesse. I heart James Marsden. That’s right, I said it. My girlfriend knows it too! I wish there was a Cyclops spinoff to make up for how mistreated he and his character, Cyclops were through the X-men films.

Are you up for Preacher on the big screen? How about Marsden as Jesse Custer?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter