The surprise announcement a couple of weeks ago was that Eagle Eye and Disturbia director DJ Caruso had secured the un-enviable gig of trying to bring Garth Ennis' gleefully blasphemous and sprawling Preacher comics to the screen. Eyebrows were raised, and may well arch yet higher following this interview, where Caruso shares his thoughts on Preacher while out doing the I Am Number 4 rounds.
Preacher, just to remind you, is an extremely violent and extremely funny 75-issue odyssey following the Reverend Jesse Custer (who, possessed by the godlike offspring of an angel and a demon, has some rather special abilities), his ass-kicking girlfriend Tulip and their amoral vampire compadre Cassidy, on the trail of God, who has gone missing. Side-plots along the way involve the keepers of Christ's bloodline (in the form of a "special" inbred boy whose vocabulary consists solely of the word "humperdido"); meat fetishists; military fascists; necromantics; nuclear weapons; John Wayne; Bill Hicks; and a hapless suicide-surviving vigilante called Arseface.
And that by no means covers it all.
You might call it "controversial", but there is, believes Caruso, "a real good-versus-evil universality that makes the movie very commerical. But at the same time it's one of those that once in a while will shock you!"
Pressed about casting ideas, Caruso is cagey, but says "I've never had so many phonecalls and texts from actors on any other movie." He then reveals that he's "had a conversation" with Chris Pine for Jesse Custer, and that Shia LaBeouf "loves and wants to play Arseface". He also mentions Alex Pettyfer in connection with invincible supernatural gunslinger The Saint of Killers. That's partly a joke because Pettyfer is sitting next to him, but there's a threat of truth in "He's thinking it sounds like a really good role; he hasn't read it yet, but he will..."
Caruso says he's not a huge comics fan in general, but likes DC's Vertigo imprint (home of Preacher and Sandman among many notable others) very much, and has been coveting Preacher since before Sam Mendes' involvement (he also reminds us that he was connected to Y: The Last Man for a long time). The challenge is that "It's a lot of story to put into one movie," but he's confident that "John August is a great screenwriter and he's doing a very good job."
And what of the potential Bible Belt-baiting religious aspects of Ennis' insane masterwork? "I think ultimately what you have to realise," says Caruso, "is that metaphorically speaking, it's all about us trying to find God. Jesse's journey is trying to figure out where God is."
So that's all right then...