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The term “development hell” is pretty common among people who talk about movies a lot. It’s analogous with “vaporware” (a planned video game that, for one reason or another, simply never gets made) – a studio gives a movie a green light or at least plans to and then, for whatever reason, just never gets made. Sometimes they eventually do – such as the previously only-dreamed-about Alien Vs. Predator movie (hey, we didn’t say theyd be good when they were finally made). Here’s a look at five flicks that we’ve been promised for years and still haven’t seen.
What Is It?: Preacher was a critically acclaimed series of comics on DC’s Vertigo imprint written and created by Garth Ennis (if you aren’t familiar with the man, go click on that link and read every single thing listed there. Go. DO IT!) and drawn by Steve Dillon. A preacher, Jesse Custer, from a small southern town finds himself possessed by a mystical force called Genesis – a force that literally gives him the “word of God”. He can force anyone to do anything – anything – just by saying it. Speaking of God, he seems to have vanished. So, Jesse hits the road with Cassidy (an Irish Vampire with a striking resemblance to Shane MacGowan of The Pogues) and Tulip (his ex-girlfriend who is now a killer for hire) in a quest to find out where the hell The Creator of All Things has done gone and run off to. It also has a guy called The Saint of Killers and looks just like Lee Marvin and does exactly what you think he does.
So, Where the Hell Is It?: Folks have been attempting to bring Preacher to the moving picture format in one form or another since 1998. Kevin Smith (you may not be aware of this, but apparently Kevin Smith likes comic books or something) was attached to the project at one point with Miramax, although that clearly fell through. Then it was set to be an HBO mini-series, which nowadays you’d think would be perfect. but that didn’t work out either. The last we’ve heard was that it was set to be a feature again, this time directed by Sam Mendes. That was back in 2008. I don’t need to have supernatural powers to predict we’ll probably never see this as a movie.
But… Why?: In years past, the content matter alone would have kept this stuck to the printed page. Angel/demon sex, foul mouthed alcoholic vampires, descendants of Biblical figures turned into Marquis de Sade-like hedonists – granted, that could describe any original show on F/X or HBO nowadays but in the late 90s/early 2000s? A little harder to sell. Now, chances are it’s just going to cost way too much money. Go find the trade paperbacks and read it for yourself if you haven’t already. I try to never say never in situations like this and I’ll be plenty happy to be wrong if this eventually gets made, but I’m not betting on it.