It's no great surprise, but Sam Mendes definitely won't now be involved in the Preacher movie, which is still going ahead under the aegis of producer Neal Moritz. Filming is expected to start next year.
Mendes was still talking up the comic book project as recently as last autumn, but in the meantime, the small matter of the 23rd James Bond film has cropped up to occupy his attention.
Talking to Collider, Moritz says that John August's Preacher script is "terrific", and is keen to stress that it's definitely headed for an R rating. Something of a relief, given that Garth Ennis' source material is about titular Preacher Jesse Custer (kind of posessed by the offspring of an angel and a demon), his hit-girlfiend Tulip and their amoral vampire compatriot Cassidy, on the trail of an abdicated God, and is about as violent and sweary as you can possibly imagine. Frankly, some of the stuff in the (truly awesome) comics would struggle to get anything below the dreaded NC-17.
Moritz also says that August has planned ahead: "instead of trying to cram everything into one [Preacher in comic form runs to 75 issues in nine collected volumes], there's plenty of room for two or three movies. He's done a really faithful adaptation." Possibly some consolation for those that feel this might be better suited to a TV series, somewhere like HBO.
Moritz is tight-lipped regarding Mendes' replacement: "there's another director that we're talking to right now". But there's a possibility that August could end up with the gig himself. Best known for writing (especially for Tim Burton), he turned out to be no slouch behind the camera with The Nines. "We were talking about directors," says Moritz, "and we were kicking around some lofty names, and he said 'you know, if you don't get one of those, I'd be interested in it'. I said 'We'll talk about it'".