In the mid-1990s, no other comics imprint did alternative and mature-oriented books like Vertigo, a semi-autonomous offshoot of DC Comics. Publishing such titles as The Sandman, The Invisibles, Hellblazer, and Transmetropolitan, Vertigo put out so many now-classic runs of comic books that it's somewhat astonishing.
Among all these greats, Preacher stood out not only for its aggressive profanity, gleeful blasphemy, and brutal violence, but also for its well-written characters and captivating storyline. Its enduring popularity has made the property a prime target for adaptation – a proposition that may at last come to fruition via AMC.
Badass Digest has announced that AMC has ordered a pilot for an ongoing television series based on Preacher. The property would be the second comic book adaptation for the network after the ultra-popular The Walking Dead.
Written by Garth Ennis and illustrated principally by Steve Dillon, Preacher concerned a beaten-down Texas pastor named Jesse Custer – a man whose priest's garb hides a violent, lawless past. When Custer bonds with a cosmic entity known as Genesis (killing his entire congregation in the process), he decides to use his newfound powers to track down a God who has apparently abandoned His Creation. With his gun-for-hire girlfriend and a drunken Irish vampire in tow, Custer embarks on a journey that brings him face-to-face with sexual deviants, killer hillbillies, a powerful secret society, and a gunslinging divine enforcer known only as the Saint of Killers.
For well over a decade, multiple attempts have been made to produce a feature film or television series based on Preacher. No less a director than Sam Mendes (Skyfall) was prepping to helm a Preacher film at one time, dropping out due to conflicts and the realization that a single movie would not be able to do justice to Preacher's unruly sprawl. At another point, HBO expressed interest in creating a Preacher series, but soon passed on the opportunity.
Let's get down to brass tacks: For the moment, we should treat the news of AMC's acquisition of Preacher with kid gloves. With no source, production staff, or timeframe given, the initial report is exciting but tenuous. So many different such announcements about Preacher have been made over the years that the base reaction to them should be caution, if not outright skepticism.
This is not to say that an AMC-hosted television adaptation of Preacher would be unwelcome. Not only has the network made many good decisions regarding its acquisition of content, AMC has also shown that it is willing to push the limits of basic cable standards for sex, violence, and language with Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. That sort of leeway would be essential if the core voice of the Preacher comics is to be faithfully replicated for the small screen.
Of course, the source material's copious use of the F-Bomb will have to be scaled back, to say the least.
For the moment, we at Screen Rant are waiting anxiously for some kind of official confirmation of whether or not AMC is really attempting to move forward with a serious Preacher series. If this turns out to be legitimate, we will be cheering quietly from the sidelines as the show moves into production. If not, it will merely be yet another case of a missed opportunity – to be filed away and remarked upon in passing during the next inevitable attempt to bring Preacher to life.
UPDATE: A fascinating new wrinkle has popped up in this now-accelerating saga – apparently, the main movers behind the Preacher pilot are none other than Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, lately of This Is the End. Last night, Rogen shared via his Twitter feed:
Looks like about seven of years of hard work are about to pay off. I may get to bring one of my favourite stories ever to life.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) November 16, 2013
This cryptic message was followed by a far more explicit reference to some of Preacher's most memorable supporting characters:
Arseface. John Wayne, The Saint of Killers.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) November 17, 2013
This early in the game, it is yet unknown what full influence Goldberg and Rogen will have in the production of Preacher. It is currently thought that they will executive-produce an eventual series. The duo have worked extensively together in the past, including such projects as The Green Hornet and Pineapple Express.
Rogen's messages lend an air of momentum to the project missing from earlier reports that lacked any specific details about the pilot. With such currently hot names behind the production, we're gaining some optimism about the eventual fate of a Preacher adaptation.
For the moment, Preacher remains an unknown quantity. Keep watch on Screen Rant as more information comes over the horizon.
Source: Badass Digest