HBO Confesses to Preacher


James Marsden won’t be wearing the wears

It ain’t the movie version that we all would’ve liked – and were promised for many years – but finally, Vertigo comics’ “Preacher” is about to go before a Nikon.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mark Steven Johnson (“Ghost Rider”, “Daredevil”) has signed on to write the pilot for a new HBO TV series based on the property. The opener will be directed by comedy veteran Howard Deutch – the man behind one of my favourite 80s flicks, “Pretty in Pink” (1986). Deutch is relatively new to the genre, but has dabbled in action/adventure before – if even midly – as the director of such films as “The Whole Ten Yards” and “The Replacements”.

There have been several attempts at trying to get a “Preacher” film off the ground at different times. Most famously, Kevin Smith’s View Askew Productions almost made it happen – with James Marsden (“X-Men”) in the lead.

Its unlikely Marsden will play the role in the box version.

“Preacher,” which ran from 1995-2000, told the story of a down-and-out Texas preacher possessed by Genesis, a supernatural entity conceived by the unnatural coupling of an angel and a demon. Given immense powers, the preacher teamed with an old girlfriend and a hard-drinking Irish vampire and set out on a journey across America to find God — who apparently had abandoned his duties in heaven — and hold him accountable for his negligence.

The series was created by Irish-born writer Garth Ennis and British artist Steve Dillon, who will serve as co-executive producers. Ken F. Levin, who reps the duo, also will serve as co-exec producer.

The series — which developed a rabid fan base — was known for tackling religious and political issues, its dark and violent sense of humor and its observations of American culture. It also was one of the series that helped define Vertigo, the adult-oriented line of comics from DC Comics.