It was announced yesterday that director DJ Caruso has been signed to direct an adaptation of the popular - and controversial - Preacher.
Oh, no - this ain't gonna be no one-liner with some fleeting commentary. This is a subject near and dear to my heart.
Now that the news has been “broken”, it’s time for, “Good Idea, Bad Idea”.
Good Idea: Turning Garth Ennis’s seminal Vertigo series “Preacher” in to an HBO serial, which was the plan up until three years ago.
Bad Idea: Turning Garth Ennis’s seminal Vertigo series “Preacher” in to a feature film all its own, which now seems to be the plan.
Caruso is the next in a long line of adaptations set for the film that have never panned out. Ennis first sold the rights to Electric Entertainment around 1998. Since then, several names have been involved with bringing the comic to life, including Rachel Talalay, Bob Weinstein, Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier, James Marsden, Mark Steven Johnson, and Sam Mendes, among others. HBO - of all outlets - pulled the plug on the project when the network decided that the subject matter of “Preacher” was “just too dark and too violent and too controversial,” according to Johnson.
“Too dark...too violent...too controversial”...for HBO? Really? The home of “The Sopranos”, “Deadwood”, and a score of other series that regular TV wouldn’t go near with a 40’ pole and a HazMat suit? That should say something in and of itself.
While Caruso’s track record could considered somewhat suspect for such a project (although I have seen approximately zero of his movies), it is the project itself that seems doomed as far as a Hollywood adaptation. While a great story when fully revealed, asking people to spend in upwards of $15 to suspend disbelief in the philosophy that God could very well be a self-centered asshole* in an age of extreme Political Correctness seems a bit much to ask.
Plenty of people would want to see this done right. I’m certainly among them. Unfortunately, the fear that more people will turn on this project faster than a Vince Russo-scripted heel turn far outweighs any joy this news should normally bring.
* - Hey, if WWE can ditch their ”PG” rating for a couple weeks, then I can get away with a one-off now and again.