American Beauty director Sam Mendes, along with company partners Pippa Harris and Caro Newling, recently signed a two-year first-look deal with Focus Features. The deal with Focus (who were the distributors on Mendes' recent flick Away We Go) includes the acquisition of two projects that could end up being directed by Mendes. But what's most interesting is the lack of a mention of the graphic novel adaptation Preacher, which Mendes has already been signed on to direct.
One of the projects included in the Mendes/Focus deal is Butcher's Crossing, which will be co-produced by Mendes and his Neal Street Productions partners Harris and Newling. It is described as, "an epic adventure based on the 1960 revisionist Western novel by John Williams." The other project is called Middlemarch, which is to be adapted from a George Eliot novel set in the 1830s. A script for it has been written by Andrew Davies (Bridget Jones's Diary).
So, what does this mean for the Preacher adaptation? Although there is no release date set for it yet, one would assume since Mendes was officially signed on a few months ago as director, that the project would get on its way fairly soon. But this two-year deal with Focus now commits Mendes, and that commitment does not include Preacher.
According to Variety, Mendes, "has not committed to his next film as a director." But with this deal, I think we can expect it to end up being either Butcher's Crossing or Middlemarch - I'd be very surprised if he had the kind of freedom written into this contract with Focus that would allow him to make Preacher (or any other movie for that matter) before those two movies are acquired.
If this does mean that Preacher has been put on the backburner, I think it's a shame. I was looking forward to soon seeing what Mendes would do with the Preacher as his thoughts on the original comic series a few months ago certainly showed that he's passionate about adapting it.
I really hope Mendes is still going to be directing Preacher - here's hoping in two years he focuses his attention back on the project.
Screen Rant will keep you up-to-date on whether or not Mendes is still directing Preacher.
Do you think Sam Mendes' deal with Focus Features will mean a delay of Preacher? Do you think it will be passed onto another director?
Sources: FirstShowing and Variety