US cable TV network AMC has announced it has ordered a pilot for a series based on the comic Preacher, originally created in the 1990s by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon for DC Comics Vertigo imprint, which may see a series go into full production sometime in 2016.
Preacher – a title that featured covers by Glenn Fabry – centres on Jesse Custer, a conflicted preacher in a small Texas town who merges with a creature that has escaped from heaven and develops the ability to make anyone do anything he says.
The final monthly issue of the regular Vertigo comic, Issue 66, was published in October 2000.
It’s good news that AMC – which recently launched AMC Europe and has abandoned unscripted fare to focus on original dramas – are to make the pilot, given the comic’s often controversial content.
“It features more blood and blasphemy than any mainstream comic in memory,” noted Entertainment Weekly, adding “Cool.”
Offering a pay TV service to over 96 million households in the US, blending feature films with commissioned shows, AMC has not pulled any punches with its shows such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Mad Men.
The Preacher project was announced last February but now the network has confirmed a script for pilot – to be produced nect summer for consideration in 2016 – has been written by Breaking Bad‘s Sam Catlin, with Canadian director and film maker Evan Goldberg and Canadian actor, comedian and film maker Seth Rogen to direct.
“I am unbelievably psyched to be part of team that might bring Preacher to TV,” tweeted Rogen earlier today. Been a long road. “We won’t f*** it up.”
“Every once in a while you find a project where all the elements line up beautifully. With Preacher, it starts with a bold, compelling, and thought-provoking comic book series from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon and a whole lot of fans who already know Jesse Custer, Cassidy, and Tulip,” said Joel Stillerman, AMC’s executive vice president of original programming, production and digital content.
“Steve Dillon and I are extremely pleased to know AMC has taken Preacher to pilot,” says Garth. “We have had an ongoing voice in the efforts of the writers whom Sony TV and Original Film entrusted with this project, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin, and have been most gratified that they continue to include us, and that they have tackled the project with the type of unwavering commitment and courage needed to present the material as Steve and I intended.
“This has been a long time coming, but that it continues apace, and with the chance to be delivered episodically, gives Preacher an opportunity to be seen in its best possible medium, not previously possible.
“Add to that the passionate and talented Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sam Catlin, an incredible producing team in Neal Moritz, the Original Film team and our good friends at Sony Pictures Television, and we have everything we need to be very excited to move forward on Preacher.
“Many thanks indeed to Ken Levin and Neal Moritz for their never flagging commitment to Preacher, and for never giving up well past the point when I myself grew skeptical — we have principally gotten to where we are today because of Neal and Ken.”
“Preacher has been our favourite comic since it first came out,” Rogen and Goldberg said. “Garth Ennis is one of our idols and it’s an incredible honour to be working on this. We promise we won’t make too many dick jokes and ruin it.”
“Thanks to AMC for completely losing their minds and letting us do this,” Catlin said. “I’m so excited to bring Garth Ennis’ bloody, amazing and bloody amazing universe to TV.”
In total the Preacher comic ran for 66 regular issues, five one-shot specials and a four-issue Preacher: Saint of Killers limited series – 75 issues in total. The entire run has been collected in nine trade paperback editions.
Book One sees preacher Jesse Custer begin his dark journey to find God, in a volume collecting Preacher #1-12, plus pinups from Preacher #50 and #66. After merging with a bizarre spiritual force called Genesis, Jesse becomes completely disillusioned with the beliefs to which he had dedicated his entire life. Now possessing the power of “the word,” an ability to make people do whatever he utters, Custer begins a violent and riotous journey across the country.
Joined by his gun-toting girlfriend Tulip and the hard-drinking Irish vampire Cassidy, Custer loses faith in both God and man as he witnesses dark atrocities and improbable calamities during his exploration of the United States.
• AMC TV is at www.amctv.com
• Follow Evan Goldberg on Twitter @evandgoldberg and Seth Rogen @Sethrogen
• Hollywood Reporter charts the tortured path of Preacher from comic page to screen here
Categories: British Comics