I’ve a done quite a few articles already about comic books that should be adapted for the big/small screen. One comic I never had on any of my lists though, despite it being one of my all time favourites? Grant Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. It’s honestly one of the greatest comics ever written, but also one of the most controversial, which is one of the main reasons why several rather famous people have all failed in their attempts to adapt it.
I guess nobody told AMC any of this though, as they are about to start production on a pilot for it.
Preacher follows small-time pastor Jesse Custer who in a tragic incident gains the power of the The Word of God – allowing him to command anybody to do anything – when he gets possessed by Genesis, a supernatural entity born of the unprecedented coupling of an angel and a demon. Along with his hitwoman ex-girlfriend Tulip and a hard drinking 100-year old Irish vampire named Cassidy, Custer goes on a hyper violent cross-country roadtrip to find God – literally – to take The Almighty to account for abandoning his creation.
And if all of that wasn’t blasphemous enough, along the way they run into and battle the weirdest and most messed up assortment of characters including a beastiality loving aristrocat, a meat sexing businessman, and a secret organization of religious commandoes protecting the bloodline of Jesus Christ, personified in his inbred, mentally handicapped descendant.
Like I said, controversial.
There have been several attempts to adapt the comic into a movie (in my opinion a horrible idea given the story’s sprawling nature) with everybody from Sam Mendes to DJ Caruso attached to direct. HBO, who was a way better fit, also took a crack at it, casting cyclopean X-Man James Marsden as Jesse Custer, but after four years of pre-production, not a single frame was shot before the plug was pulled.
Now, according to a report from Badass Digest, AMC, fresh off the gargantuan success of The Walking Dead, think they can pull it off and have ordered a pilot episode to prove it. With Breaking Bad and soon Mad Men coming to a close, they’re going to need another big ticket draw, and Preacher could definitely be it. The question, of course, is how true they will stay to the comics. The Walking Dead proved that the network definitely won’t shy away from excessive violence, but I don’t think mid-west America will react with too much favour to a foppish aristocrat named Jesus De Sade having sexual relations with an armadillo.
Thus far there’s no word yet on any actors/actresses involved or who would be behind the camera, but according to BAD the names involved are “big and impressive”. And it appears that one of those names is, unexpectedly, none other than funnyman Seth Rogen.
Soon after BAD broke the news, Rogen took to his Twitter account with this enigmatic tweet that seemed to allude to his involvement:
“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.”
Soon after this though, he all but confirmed his involvement when he tweeted the following:
“Arseface. John Wayne, The Saint of Killers.”
All three of those are the names of characters that feature significantly in Preacher. Arseface is a horribly disfigured, failed suicide survivor who becomes a rock star; John Wayne acts as Jesse Custer’s spiritual guide; and Saint of Killers is a former deceased bounty hunter who becomes the Patron Saint of Murder and Assassination when the Devil would rather have him back on Earth than causing chaos in Hell.
Rogen doesn’t match up physically with any of those, in case you wondering, so it’s still anybody’s guess as to exactly what his involvement is. The “seven years of hard work” part would leave me to believe that he’ll be one of the producers, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him in the director’s chair as well for the pilot episode.
Now as I mentioned earlier, we have been at this point already, so until cameras actually start rolling, I would keep a little bit of healthy skepticism alive about this. However, if there’s currently one network out there that can truly make this happen, and happen as faithfully as possible (because some concessions will undoubtedly have to be made), it’s AMC.
Last Updated: November 18, 2013