Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon‘s comic Preacher has been on a long and winding road to reach either a big or a small screen. The 75-issue series begins with small town preacher Jesse Custer receiving the power to speak with the “Word of God” and command others to do his bidding, but the story then expands far beyond to include an Irish vampire, sadistic cousins who will fuck anything with a hole, a relentless and perverted operative, the “Saint of Killers” who can kill anything, and a character who, in a failed suicide attempt, blows his face off and takes on the name, “Arseface.” When the project was being developed by Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil) in 2006 for HBO, the network passed because it was deemed “too dark and too violent and too controversial.” So now, in 2014, it will go to AMC with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin (Breaking Bad) at the helm.
Hit the jump for more.
Several months ago, we reported that the comic had gone to pilot at AMC and Seth Rogen was circling the project. Today, THR reports that Rogen along with writing/producing/directing partner Evan Goldberg and Breaking Bad writer Sam Catlin will handle the series. Catlin will serve as showrunner, and presumably the three of them will handle the pilot. It’s surprising that the comic would eventually end up with this trio, especially Rogen and Goldberg, although Rogen previously tweeted that he’s a huge fan of the material.
The attempt to move the property to a screen began with Kevin Smith trying to convince Harvey Weinstein to adapt it into a movie starring James Marsden, but that fell apart because of the budget.
The property then moved to producer Neal Moritz (I Am Legend) with Sam Mendes directing. Mendes then dropped out to do James Bond, and screenwriter John August (Charlie’s Angels) came on to do a script that would be spread across several movies, and be rated-R. This was followed by a rumor of Darren Aronofsky possibly coming on board to direct, but the project then went to D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye) even though he clearly didn’t understand the material.
Caruso ultimately dropped out and the project languished in development hell until several months ago it reached AMC, and television is definitely the best home for the series. It’s a big, sprawling story, and while Preacher is unbelievably violent (Dillon’s artwork constantly features people looking surprised as they’re absolutely destroyed), gore no longer seems to be an obstacle when you look at The Walking Dead and Hannibal. There’s still the heavy sexual content as well as the inevitable controversy that will come from religious groups, but this could be a big hit for AMC.
Personally, I want to see how Rogen, Goldberg, and Catlin maintain the dark soul of the comics now that it’s managed to overcome so many obstacles just to get a greenlight.