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October 1, 2014

HBO chickens out; Preacher too much

by Jason Hughes, posted Aug 28th 2008 10:02AM
PreacherIt looks like HBO is just TV after all. After airing such intense fare as The Sopranos and Carnivalé, the new head of production, Sue Naegle (or at least that's my guess on who pulled the plug based on the quotes) is pulling the plug on the in development HBO adaptation of DC/Vertigo's Preacher. The Garth Ennis-Steve Dillon comic book series was controversial for its intense violence and handling of religious subjects, but it was also a huge sales and critical hit.

There was talk of adapting the series with each episode comprising exactly one comic issue. Dialogue was lifted almost exactly from the book with the comic art used as the storyboard. Fans were incredibly enthusiastic about it, but "the new head of HBO felt it was just too dark and too violent and too controversial," according to Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil, Ghost Rider). Naegle loves In Treatment, Big Love and Tell Me You Love Me, so that tells you where here tastes lie. These aren't bad shows but they're also not going to jump out and grab headlines, and headlines are exactly what HBO needs for its original series.

Fear not, though, faithful Preacher fans. While the project is apparently dead at HBO, it may yet live on. "I've heard someone is in the process of getting the rights to turn it into a feature film," said Johnson. "I hope that happens. But I hope it happens as a series of movies as one movie couldn't do it justice. I really love that story and I dedicated a lot of my time to honor Garth's work. But it wasn't meant to be." Johnson is right that it would be a complete disaster to try and compact the saga of Preacher into just one film.

But you know, as good as a series of films could be I don't think it would be as good as a HBO level series production. The added time and pacing that a weekly series allows would let the story unfold in much the same way it did as a comic book. We wouldn't have to sacrifice any of those important character moments that made the series such an intense and personal experience. As much fun as the plots themselves were, it was those moments between Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy that really made it such a success.

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Monty

Yeah, UnionStayshyn, you beat me too it.
I can't believe anyone lets this guy make comic related anything.

August 28 2008 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Argus

I can see why this is cancelled. Preacher is insane. I loved the books, but was also pretty much consistently offended by them too. As a catholic and someone who sometimes works with the mentally handicapped I wasn't all that cool with the depictions, but at the same time the sheer quality of the writing made it okay for me. Others won't feel the same. The books are fantastic and I hope they make it to theatres.

August 28 2008 at 3:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
UnionStayshyn

"according to Mark Steven Johnson (Daredevil, Ghost Rider)"

There's your problem right there.

Maybe they chickened out after they realized they were working with a guy responsible for two of the worst comic-book films of all time.

August 28 2008 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AT

There was going to be a Preacher TV series? I thoroughly enjoyed the graphic novels and sometimes reference the concept.

August 28 2008 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
moreartplease

I wonder what this means for the series they were doing based on the "Fire and Ice" books? Those had violence, incest, etc, and so far have been pretty dark.

August 28 2008 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeff N.

Ever since HBO cancelled the 4th season of Deadwood it has been going downhill.

August 28 2008 at 11:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
driftwood

I just finished watching the Carnivale DVD's, and...now I"m heavily disappointed in them.

Be daring, be dark, stick something out (exception for John in Cincinnati).

August 28 2008 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
George

Just a wild guess... I don't think it's the violence that scared them off. I think they *mentioned* the violence because that's a tangible concept that people understand. A faithful adaptation of 'Preacher' would also involve bestiality, an extremely unfavorable depiction of the Catholic church, very un-PC depictions of mentally handicapped characters, and plenty of other stuff to drive sponsors away.

If you look at what happened to 'The Golden Compass', and the idiotic flap surrounding 'Tropic Thunder', it's no wonder that HBO is skittish. Perhaps in a year or so, depending on how the election goes, this might be a more viable project. For now, sadly, it isn't.

August 28 2008 at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to George's comment
edgore

Sponsors? On HBO?

I think you are right though - it wasn't the violence that did it, it was everything else. The over the top (and wonderful) blasphemy is certainly what did them in, even without the possibility of (non-existant) sponsors rasing a stink

August 28 2008 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bo3b

That's right on the money, George. I think that's what I MEANT to say above. *lol*

August 28 2008 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nihil67

HBO subscription canceled. They need to take a look at what they're trying to get people to pay for and realize that it's just more network TV BS.

August 28 2008 at 10:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Oreo

Time to fire the new head of HBO.

Too violent for HBO? Please... it's HBO!

August 28 2008 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Oreo's comment
David S

At least we know who to hate at HBO. On second thought, maybe I should give her a card, since I she might be the reason I can save a little money on my cable bill.

August 28 2008 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bo3b

Now, not that I'm justifying cancelling this project, but Oreo...have you READ these comics? I absolutely loved them all, but they are the only time I've ever felt physically ill reading a graphic novel. *lol*

There is some sick, twisted, disgusting shit in these books...and it's fantastic! I really can't see how you can adapt this series AND keep all that stuff in. There would have to be some serious editing. Just one man's opinion, doesn't make it right. And I still think that you could trim a lot of the more disgusting parts of preacher and come away with a fantastic adaptation.

b

August 28 2008 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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