Mark Steven Johnson, the comic-book fanboy who directed Daredevil and Ghost Rider, has apparently given up his efforts to try to develop an HBO series from one of the most controversial and dark graphic novel series’ out there – Garth Ennis’ Preacher. This is sad, because HBO was the best shot this had at becoming a live-action work, and the material would lend itself fairly well to a cinematic interpretation.
“We were budgeting and everything and it was getting really close to going. But the new head of HBO felt it was just too dark and too violent and too controversial. Which, of course, is kind of the point! It was a very faithful adaptation of the first few books, nearly word for word. They offered me the chance to redevelop it but I refused. I’ve learned my lesson on that front and I won’t do it again. So I’m afraid it’s dead at HBO.”
This is an understandable position, considering the fact that Preacher is a western about a barfighting Texas priest from a horrible, horrible family who is inhabited by a strange angel/demon crossbreed that grants him the commanding power of Word of God, and he intends to use it to declare war on the Almighty himself and make him answer for the tragic mess that is the Earth. This would be why HBO and its freedom from “Standards & Practices” would have been the best place for something this blasphemously belligerent and brazenly provocative, and that is why this is sad news. However, all may not be lost.
“I’ve heard someone is in the process of getting the rights to turn it into a feature film. I hope that happens. But I hope it happens as a series of movies as one movie couldn’t do it justice. I really love that story and I dedicated a lot of my time to honor Garth’s work. But it wasn’t meant to be.”
There have been rumor to this effect for quite some time, but now that HBO has washed its hands of the project, perhaps the movie efforts can gain more steam. Johnson may not have the best track record, considering that his two comic movies are often cited as some of the worst in the genre, but he’s right that any Preacher film should be part of a series of films, and not try to cram it all into one. Then again, Zack Snyder is doing that with Watchmen, and at least one comic nerd, Kevin Smith, says it’s astounding.