The adaptation history of Garth Ennis’ comic The Boys is long and, as of yet, unfulfilled. A feature film iteration of the antihero story has been in the works for over half a decade now, with Anchorman and Step Brothers director Adam McKay attached for a long while to bring it to fruition. It would have marked a significant departure for McKay, as the graphic novel is a hyperviolent story of a group of special agents who are tasked with policing the world’s superheroes and villains by any means necessary. However, according to a new report, the rights may have new owners, and they have a different kind of adaptation in mind.
Per Birth.Movies.Death., This Is the End filmmakers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are currently shopping a TV series adaptation of The Boys to cable networks, with Supernatural creator and Revolution showrunner Eric Kripke also involved. It’s unclear what their take on the material is, but Rogen and Goldberg already have a leg-up having just adapted Ennis’ Preacher for AMC—they directed the pilot and are executive producing that show, which has been ordered to series.
One would imagine the obvious choice for Rogen and Goldberg would be AMC since they’ve just established a relationship at the network, but BMD points out that they could possibly be hoping to land at a pay cable network where they could really let loose with the source material’s graphic violence.
Over the years, McKay always said the sticking point that kept The Boys from getting a greenlight was the budget. It needed something close to $100 million, but it would absolutely have to be an R-rated film. That’s not an easy sell for a movie studio, even if you have someone like Russell Crowe circling a starring role. If Rogen and Goldberg can get a series adaptation set up someplace like HBO, however, they could potentially have the resources necessary to bring this thing to fruition once and for all.
It’s still very early in the process, though, and it’s unclear if HBO is even interested at this point. They certainly have a bit of a drama series drought coming up, which will only get worse once Game of Thrones ends in a couple of years, but high profile new series like Westworld and Vinyl are on the horizon, and they’re talking with Zack Snyder about a Watchmen TV show. It’s tough to imagine a world in which they greenlight both Watchmen and The Boys, so it would likely be an either/or scenario. There’s also the question of whether Simon Pegg would play Wee Hughie, the main character in the comics who was physically modeled after Pegg. Though since this is only in the earliest discussion phase, it’s a bit premature to begin talking casting.
Rogen and Goldberg found a lovely niche in the film world with movies like This Is the End and The Interview, learning that as long as they kept the budgets reasonable, they could make movies that were a bit stranger and more creatively ambitious. With Preacher and now possibly The Boys, it appears they may be translating that approach to longform storytelling. As long as the results are as good as the films they’ve been making, I say keep it coming.