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C'mon Hollywood: Don't fear the "Preacher"!

07.17.2012

With Comic Con 2012 now behind us, leaving a trail of teases and reveals to tide us over until next year, there is still a laundry list of projects that are left languishing in our peripherals; dream adaptations that have yet to see the production light of day. I could rattle off a dozen such projects from the top of my head, but for now I’ll focus on just one; the Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon opus known as DC Vertigo’s PREACHER.

Ah, yes, I have your attention now. For those who have no idea what PREACHER is, here’s the shortest synopsis I can muster for such an epic tale: Jesse Custer, a small-town minister who is losing his faith, comes face-to-face with Genesis, the product of an angel and demon mating, which instills Custer with “the word” of God. Teaming up with his hitman girlfriend and a centuries-old Irish Vampire, Custer begins a violent journey in search of answers from the elusive deity. No capes, no spandex, no alien invasions.

PREACHER is the signature series of mature readers comics. It has paved the way for a bevy of groundbreaking series’ and opened the doors for more mature content in comics, allowing readers to experience more than PG-13 superpowers. It’s a comic with balls of steel being dragged through a minefield. Widely known as one of the most revered and epic tales ever spun in modern comics, PREACHER ran for 75 issues and is the next generation’s WATCHMEN (and leagues better, in my opinion). It’s one of the most powerful, offensive, violent, hilarious, controversial, and satisfying reads you’ll ever have on the printed page.

So, if it’s that f*cking great, why the hell is Hollywood so frightened of it? Well, the answer is in the question. To succeed with an adaptation would be phenomenal. To fail could be potentially career ending, given the controversial subject matter. Or, is that just hyperbole these days?

Writer Garth Ennis sold the rights to PREACHER in 1998, even writing numerous drafts of the script himself. From that point on, a bevy of talent from Rachel Talalay, Kevin Smith, D.J. Caruso, Mark Steven Johnson, and most recently, Sam Mendes, have dipped their toes in the PREACHER waters. But, as of yet, everyone has refrained from taking a swim. The producers even went as far as to cast actor James Marsden in the lead role of Custer (a great fit, I think) and the property has bounced back and forth from film and cable adaptations.

Currently, PREACHER sits in limbo. It’s a project that can be soaked up anytime in its native comic form, but one that begs to see a kick ass adaptation on the big (or small) screen. Certainly it’s controversial, but it’s also original, mysterious, and chock full of CHARACTERS, something that rarely escapes the work of Ennis, who adds scars to characters scars. He knows depth, quirk, strength, and weakness. Ultimately, he knows humanity (especially the ugly side), which is something sorely missing from the special-effects laden films we are often shouldered with. It’s a breath of fresh air after climbing from the live burial of one reboot/remake after another.

In many respects, I get it. Religion in general is a touchy subject. We can sit and toss rocks at one side of the fence or the other, but in the end, we’ve all got things that offend us. However, we always have the opportunity to simply not watch/read the things we dislike. However, when people are looking for money to fund something as potentially offensive as PREACHER there is definitely some trepidation.

However, I’d like to think that we’ve moved on to a point where we can coexist with each other’s entertainment preferences. We’re made to accept anything and everything these days, so perhaps it’s time to use that momentum to get some of the more controversial projects like PREACHER off the ground. The inclination is to blame the religious right or red states, but that’s all bullshit (For the record, I’m more conservative than anything else and I f*cking love PREACHER). The problem isn’t any one group, the problem is the gigantic stick that’s stuck up so many people’s asses in seeing anything which challenges thought or has a hint (or shotgun blast) of blasphemy.

Even when Hollywood plays it safe it can fail, so why not take a risk for once? I'm offended by MADEA and CHIPMUNK movies, which I choose not to see, yet they still make money.  No one gets hurt.  Why can't the same be applied to PREACHER?   It’s a true shame that HBO, arguably one of the ballsiest networks (see: Game of Thrones), tucked tail and ran from PREACHER, because a serialized venue is perfect for the property. With comic book properties being snatched up like hotcakes, why can’t we get an adaptation of one that’s primed for a cinematic adaptation and unabashedly sharp, original, and exceptionally entertaining?

Here’s my message to Hollywood from Jesse Custer himself:

Now...let's see if that works...

Extra Tidbit: For those familiar with PREACHER, let's hear your choice of a potential director and cast members. Here's some from me: Directors: Joe Carnahan, Rob Zombie, Zack Snyder. Cast: James Marsden as Jesse Custer (he deserves the leading role for once), Charlize Theron as Tulip, Colin Farrel as Cassidy, Timothy Olyphant or Kevin Costner as The Saint of All Killers, and Kevin Spacey as Herr Star. Arseface could be just about anyone, but Shia LeBouf would be interesting.
Source: JoBlo.com

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1:02PM on 07/17/2012
No, FEAR the Preacher! This is a very very complex string of graphic novels that even a 3 and 1/2 hour movie wouldn't do justice. I would hate to see them screw up something as masterful as this. DO NOT MAKE THIS MOVIE!
No, FEAR the Preacher! This is a very very complex string of graphic novels that even a 3 and 1/2 hour movie wouldn't do justice. I would hate to see them screw up something as masterful as this. DO NOT MAKE THIS MOVIE!
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9:20AM on 07/17/2012
Almost everyone mentioned here is way too old. Charlize is almost forty... Tulip and Jesse in the comic are early to mid twenties (I think Jesse is like 22 when it begins, if I remember correctly). Tulip is a few years older than him but not into her 30's.

Jennifer Lawrence would make a good Tulip imo. Marsden is alright, he can still pull off the mid-20's look even though he's almost 40 as well. I'd prefer someone younger though... this is a tough role to cast, maybe an unknown? I'd like
Almost everyone mentioned here is way too old. Charlize is almost forty... Tulip and Jesse in the comic are early to mid twenties (I think Jesse is like 22 when it begins, if I remember correctly). Tulip is a few years older than him but not into her 30's.

Jennifer Lawrence would make a good Tulip imo. Marsden is alright, he can still pull off the mid-20's look even though he's almost 40 as well. I'd prefer someone younger though... this is a tough role to cast, maybe an unknown? I'd like to see Stephen Moyer as Cassidy (yeah, I know he's been there done that with the vampire schtick but he's British so he can pull off the accent methinks). Ian McShane as the Saint of Killers.
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10:24AM on 07/17/2012
The age thing can be tricky and I think within the confines of the Preacher universe, EVERYONE looks aged and weathered. From Steve Dillon's drawing style to Glenn Fabry's covers to the ugly side of the fence that everyone comes from, all the characters feel like they've lived a much longer life than their actual years. Now, that doesn't mean that Dennis Franz could be cast as Jesse Custer, but I think you get the idea. That's where my casting perspective comes from.
The age thing can be tricky and I think within the confines of the Preacher universe, EVERYONE looks aged and weathered. From Steve Dillon's drawing style to Glenn Fabry's covers to the ugly side of the fence that everyone comes from, all the characters feel like they've lived a much longer life than their actual years. Now, that doesn't mean that Dennis Franz could be cast as Jesse Custer, but I think you get the idea. That's where my casting perspective comes from.
+0
8:26AM on 07/17/2012
Jesse Custer approves of this message.

Also, that is a spot on dream cast. Based on his work on Justified, I think Olyphant would make a good Custer as well. Other guys that come to mind: Guy Pearce would be cool as well (yeah I know, too old though), Rufus Sewell, James Franco.
Jesse Custer approves of this message.

Also, that is a spot on dream cast. Based on his work on Justified, I think Olyphant would make a good Custer as well. Other guys that come to mind: Guy Pearce would be cool as well (yeah I know, too old though), Rufus Sewell, James Franco.
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2:43AM on 07/17/2012
Preacher is incredible. Love the whole series. But a movie would suck. As has been pointed out over and over, this could only work on HBO. But this is one property that I actually don't personally care if it gets adapted. As great as the graphic novel is, it's satisfying in itself. I don't need to watch it when I can just read it.
Preacher is incredible. Love the whole series. But a movie would suck. As has been pointed out over and over, this could only work on HBO. But this is one property that I actually don't personally care if it gets adapted. As great as the graphic novel is, it's satisfying in itself. I don't need to watch it when I can just read it.
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2:13AM on 07/17/2012
HBO is like the only way to do this. Every single piece of story has to be told. John Custer and Spaceman's story as well as Starr, Arseface, Cassidy and The Saints time in hell. Jesse in Salvation, all of it. HBO would give them tons of freedom i think. Glenn Fabry said Johnny Depp would be perfect for Jesse, but Marsden is awesome too. But it doesn't matter since this will never get made.
HBO is like the only way to do this. Every single piece of story has to be told. John Custer and Spaceman's story as well as Starr, Arseface, Cassidy and The Saints time in hell. Jesse in Salvation, all of it. HBO would give them tons of freedom i think. Glenn Fabry said Johnny Depp would be perfect for Jesse, but Marsden is awesome too. But it doesn't matter since this will never get made.
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2:11AM on 07/17/2012
HBO is like the only way to do this. Every single piece of story has to be told. John Custer and Spaceman's story as well as Starr, Arseface, Cassidy and The Saints time in hell. Jesse in Salvation, all of it. HBO would give them tons of freedom i think. Glenn Fabry said Johnny Depp would be perfect for Jesse, but Marsden is awesome too. But it doesn't matter since this will never get made.
HBO is like the only way to do this. Every single piece of story has to be told. John Custer and Spaceman's story as well as Starr, Arseface, Cassidy and The Saints time in hell. Jesse in Salvation, all of it. HBO would give them tons of freedom i think. Glenn Fabry said Johnny Depp would be perfect for Jesse, but Marsden is awesome too. But it doesn't matter since this will never get made.
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2:06AM on 07/17/2012

HBO is the way to go.

Marsden has matured a bunch and grown into the role, so I don't mind him as Jesse. I like Elizabeth Banks as Tulip. Someone like Rhys Ifans fits Cassidy to a T. From day one, I've wanted Clancy Brown for The Saint of Killers, and that hasn't changed. Look at the way Dillon draws the Saint. It's like he's looking at a pic of Clancy Brown as a guide. I think Ennis based Sheriff Root on R. Lee Ermy, but since he's too old now, I'd like to see Chris Cooper in the role. I'd like someone like Liam
Marsden has matured a bunch and grown into the role, so I don't mind him as Jesse. I like Elizabeth Banks as Tulip. Someone like Rhys Ifans fits Cassidy to a T. From day one, I've wanted Clancy Brown for The Saint of Killers, and that hasn't changed. Look at the way Dillon draws the Saint. It's like he's looking at a pic of Clancy Brown as a guide. I think Ennis based Sheriff Root on R. Lee Ermy, but since he's too old now, I'd like to see Chris Cooper in the role. I'd like someone like Liam Neeson or Daniel Day Lewis for Herr Starr.
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