Writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon’s Preacher comics series – about Jesse Custer, a Texas preacher who becomes supernaturally powerful when he accidentally bonds with an angelic-demonic force – has had a live-action adaptation kicking around town for what seems like forever. In the mid-90’s, Ennis sold the film rights to Electric Entertainment, and Tank Girl‘s Rachel Talalay was attached to direct. This crapped out. Then Ennis went directly to Kevin Smith (don’t think ill of Ennis, this was the late 90’s after all) in hopes that the indie maven and known comics nerd could make some magic happen. Smith naturally took the project to Miramax. This crapped out. Then in the early 00’s, Storm Entertainment joined forces with Electric Entertainment and Talalay was brought back into the fold. The project was greenlit and James Marsden was cast as Custer. This crapped out. In 2006 HBO announced that Mark Steven Johnson and Howard Deutch (reclaiming their creative magic from Grumpier Old Men) were going to turn the comics into a TV series. This crapped out. In 2009 Columbia Pictures got involved and Sam Mendes was announced to direct. Then Mendes left the project. Well, now director DJ Caruso has Tweeted this:
“My deal just closed on Preacher. Going back to the dark side and pretty fucking pumped!”
I have not been excited about any of the names that have been attached to Preacher over the years, but after this long winding road, somehow ending up with Caruso feels extra disappointing. While I don’t actively dislike Caruso or anything, he is also the exact kind of filmmaker who typifies glossy blah cinema to me. I enjoyed Disturbia as a minor thriller, and I have some friends who love The Salton Sea, but looking at his trajectory from Disturbia to Eagle Eye to I Am Number Four… I do not like where this is heading. Though, pragmatically speaking, considering the number of times Preacher has started and stopped over the years, it seems naive to assume the project will definitely move forward now. So who knows.