There are few comics I’d like to see make the leap to live-action more than Preacher, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Western epic that spans multiple continents and planes of existence while insulting every single living thing in its way. Jesse Custer and friends deserve their chance on the screen, gawd demmit — but if it ever happens, it won’t be because of Skyfall director Sam Mendes.
Mendes, the man behind the 50th anniversary Bond movie hitting theaters this weekend, was once attached to adapt the wonderfully vulgar Vertigo comic book series for Columbia Pictures. Now, Mendes tells Collider why he was never able to crack that particular nut.
“I could not find a way of making Preacher—tonally it’s a very difficult thing to make work, and there’s a reason why it’s struggled so much,” said the director. “It’s a brilliant graphic novel, I loved it, but a lot of it takes place in the real world and we’re surrounded now by fantasy and superhero genre pictures which are full of eye candy. And actually, Preacher is much more real world, it’s more of a Southern Gothic with elements of the fantastic in it; it’s a quite difficult thing to balance. So it wasn’t just that I sort of walked away from it because they wouldn’t pay for it or anything like that, it was because I couldn’t really make it work, I couldn’t find a way of defining what it was onscreen.”
Though he’s done taking a swing at “Preacher,” Mendes expressed his “strong suspicion” that it’ll fall in the right hands eventually. In fact, he even has the proper medium in mind: television.
“If you look at somewhere between Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead,True Blood—that world of real but fantasy, the two mixed, it’s young and sexy and it’s got many, many chapters,” he said. “Actually when I saw that it was a possible HBO or a possible cable show, I thought ‘that’s a great way to do it,’ because then you can let it develop gradually, because there’s also a huge amount of it.”