The screen adaptation of Garth Ennis’ Preacher has been stuck in development hell for years. The latest incarnation has I Am Number Four helmer D.J. Caruso stepping up to the plate to direct the flick. /Film first mentioned his name in connection to the film last week, and now Caruso has announced the deal on his Twitter page. We have independently confirmed that the deal is in the final stages.
Preacher has had a rough road to the screen. Back in 2008, HBO decided to nix an adaptation directed by Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil). Then Sam Mendes got into the director’s chair with John August set to write the script. Mendes eventually moved on to do the 23rd James Bond film and it’s unknown whether or not Caruso will use August’s script. Hit the jump for my thoughts on Caruso getting the gig.
Coming off the success of Disturbia and Eagle Eye, Caruso had a hot 2009 and was attached to an adaptation of Y: The Last Man (which he eventually left), the video game Dead Space, and was in talks to adapt the non-fiction novel, The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter. A couple weeks ago, he was reportedly circling an adaptation of Josh Bazell’s suspense novel Beat the Reaper.
Which now brings us to Preacher and a sign of resignation on my part. For those unfamiliar with the Preacher, the comic series follows young preacher Jesse Custer (J.C., har har) who gains the power to speak with the voice of God, thus forcing anyone who hears him to do what he says. He’s surrounded by a colorful cast of characters including his assassin ex-girlfriend, a vampire, the Saint of Killers (who can kill anyone), a deformed man calling himself “Arseface”, and a special agent who eventually ends up looking like a giant penis.
There’s an irreverence to Preacher that I haven’t seen from Caruso’s recent work. He excitedly tweets that he’s “going back to the dark side” (presumably referring to his 2002 film The Salton Sea which I admittedly haven’t seen). But it’s not just that the series is vulgar and darkly comic. There’s a madcap energy to the books, like the countless images of people being astonished that their bodies are being shot to pieces. I’m not a die-hard fan of the books, but they require a spark of creativity that isn’t present in Disturbia, Eagle Eye, and I Am Number Four. Caruso strikes me more as a journeyman director and I’m not sure how he plans to bring Preacher to life beyond being pumped about returning to the “dark side”.