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Exclusive: Sam Mendes Talks Preacher
The latest from the (very) wild West

14 September 2009  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  

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Last year Empire talked to Sam Mendes about his planned Preacher adaptation and today, in between asking intelligent questions about his latest movie Away We Go, we got the latest on the project from the Oscar winning director. And the good news is that Preacher is inching closer to fruition - and that there is a script.

"It's getting closer," says Mendes. "I've seen a script and it's very good. We're a little further down the road than when I last spoke to you."

Created by comic-book wizards Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, the titular  Preacher is Jesse Custer, a Southern priest inhabited by a heavenly being called Genesis in incident that kills off his entire congregation and sends him onto a demented hunt for an explanation. From God. If you're not familiar with the comic-book series, think Jonah Hex turned up to 12, with added supernatural powers and a supercharged moral indignation that makes Harry Callahan look like Reg Hollis. Click here for our full blow-by-blow.

If all this fire and brimstone sounds like an unusual choice for a man who's specialised in beautifully-crafted explorations of American family life, rest very assured for Mendes is a Preacher fanboy: "I love graphic novels - Road To Perdition was based on graphic novel - so I'm used to that form and Preacher is absolutely brilliant. I certainly feel it's a movie."

"It's funny, it's violent as hell, it's extremely blasphemous and profane, but it has an amazingly skilful tone," says Mendes. "I met Garth Ennis and I'm just a huge fan of it."

Custer, Tulip and Cassidy may have to wait in line, however, for Mendes to finish another adaption. Joseph O'Neill's Netherland is next on the Mendes slate, with screenwriter Christopher Hampton (Atonement) currently working on a first draft. "It's a brilliant novel but not an obvious film, so it needs a fair amount of work. I'm definitely committed to trying to make one out of it, though, and if anyone can do it, Christopher Hampton can. He's the most wonderful writer."  The New York-set novel about an ex-pat who discovers cricket does seem an uncanny fit for the New York-based ex-pat cricket fan.  "I thought 'I can't not do this', or at least try...". More on both projects as we get it.


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Your Comments

I still have doubts a Preacher film will ever see the light of day (or a darkened cinema) but I'm hopeful after reading this, and very, very excited. More

Posted by subcircus at 22:53 on 18 September 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Looking forward
L: alsybroth All I can say is. Just make sure they cast ssacs as Herr Starrbe a dead ringer for that role. sp; You sir,... are a genius! More

Posted by lukeyboy at 11:40 on 17 September 2009 | Report This Post

Looking forward
All I can say is. Just make sure they cast Jason Issacs as Herr Starr. He'd be a dead ringer for that role. More

Posted by alsybroth at 16:17 on 16 September 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Walking Dead mini series
While it's never ever going to be as good as the comics, that's a given, it could be a great film as long as the casting is done right. If I see someone like Hugh Jackman cast as Jesse I'll be livid as a bear. More

Posted by zapflanagan at 13:10 on 16 September 2009 | Report This Post

Walking Dead mini series
I like the sound of this...maybe there is hope yet. Transmetropolitan is definitely up there as one of my favourites. Who would you have playing Spider? More

Posted by jmsmith57 at 20:01 on 15 September 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Exclusive Sam Mendes Talks Preacher
Given my Avatar image, maybe I should comment on any Preacher news. It's no suprise that Warnes want to use their intellectual properties in more media and even if anyone can't see a faithful adaptation at least in the form of a literal translation of the comic - 60 issues (+specials, oneshots) is A LOT OF STORY. It could make for an interesting Road Movie/Modern Western examining the hearthland mythos of the american psyche. Of course the best format fit for any larger comics series More

Posted by BoDixen at 17:01 on 15 September 2009 | Report This Post

kingkane101 RE: Err
Supernatural, whilst being fun in a rather cheeseball, preposterous way, should not be compared to Preacher, believe me. Preacher needs no caveats. It is genius.  More

Posted by Youshouldberunning at 16:11 on 15 September 2009 | Report This Post

Tread softly Sam Mendes...
...because you tread on my dreams. More

Posted by Youshouldberunning at 16:06 on 15 September 2009 | Report This Post

Not sure
I agree with all the scepticism that this wont get made correctly. I love the preacher books and pretty much everything else Ennis has written and as much as I would love to see Jesse Custer on the big screen I fear Hollywood wont have the balls to do it the justice it deserves. It defiantly wouldn’t fit into a single movie, maybe a Preacher trilogy, the Custer chronicles??? More

Posted by AstroZombie at 10:33 on 15 September 2009 | Report This Post

Don't fuck it up, Mendes! Although, really, I'm quietly confident. The comics are larger than life. No number of crappy film adaptations will take away the visceral power of these 9 insanely rich books. More

Posted by rjgraham at 10:20 on 15 September 2009 | Report This Post

This is something even HBO wouldn't faithfully adapt...
....because of the Bible Belt. Yeah, they handle hot topics and make very mature series but religion? Way too risky to commit the sort of time and money necessary to adapt Preacher. I guarantee that a movie version will be incredibly diluted to not portray God as a twat (which is Garth Ennis' take). I think it will deviate somewhat and God will be more of a Macguffiin. HBO didn't pick up Mark Steven Johnsons pitch for the series as he wanted to use the graphic novels as word for word scripts - g More

Posted by Marwood at 22:42 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

Oh god...
Why do directors, producers, fan boys who have the power insist on making these great graphic novels into movies? Yes Sam Mendes did Road to Perdition but can you honestly compare the two, the only way they are similar is the fact that they are comics... WHEN DOES IT STOP? Soon we will have films of the Walking Dead, Y the Last Man, 100 bullets, DMZ etc etc etc... I'm ranting, but I really struggle to see why it should be made into a movie. Watchmen was good but let us be honest the novel is bet More

Posted by jmsmith57 at 21:08 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

HBO preese
This really warrants a mini series, sort of like how Watchmen should have happened More

Posted by jcallan at 20:01 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

Why oh why won't HBO just do this
It can not work as a movie More

Posted by shanewire at 18:09 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

damn it!!
I read the last paragraph wrong and thought you said Mendes was working on a Neverwhere...I am as disappointed as a teenager walking through a park thinking he has found a discarded porn magazine; only to find its the underwear section of a Littlewoods. More

Posted by waltham1979 at 17:03 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

Err
Supernatural season 1 - 5 anyone? More

Posted by kingkane101 at 16:54 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

Hmmmmm....
I still don't reckon it'll get made - certainly not faithfully to the graphic novel in any case. Can still hope though....... More

Posted by lukeyboy at 16:29 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

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