DJ Caruso To Direct <i>Preacher</i>

Ending a week of speculation, DJ Caruso has confirmed he'll direct an adaptation of Preacher, the acclaimed comic series by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.

"My deal just closed on Preacher," Caruso wrote last night on Twitter. "Going back to the dark side and pretty fucking pumped!" He didn't provide any additional details.

Published by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint from 1995 to 2000, Preacher has had a long, tumultuous relationship with Hollywood that dates back to the mid- to late '90s. The 66-issue series centers on Jesse Custer, a down-and-out Texas preacher who sets off on a journey, accompanied by his hitwoman ex-girlfriend Tulip O’Hare and the hard-drinking Irish vampire named Cassidy, to quite literally find God, who has abandoned Heaven and his responsibilities.

A planned adaptation has passed from director to director, studio to studio and from film to television to back to film. In late 2006, HBO announced it had signed Mark Steven Johnston and Howard Deutch to write and direct a television pilot. However, by August 2008, new network executives had abandoned the planned series. To months later Columbia Pictures bought the film rights for Sam Mendes, who left the project last April to direct the next James Bond film.

Producer Neil Moretz indicated as far back as September that a replacement had been found for Mendes, but outside of some lobbying by A-Team director Joe Carnahan, there had been little talk of the Preacher adaptation. That is until last Monday, when Slashfilm passed along a rumor that Caruso, director of Disturbia, Eagle Eye and the current I Am Number Four, was in talks for the project.

Hours before that report surfaced, Spinoff Online's Adam Rosenberg spoke to Caruso about comic-book adaptations, and the director turned the conversation to Preacher: "I love the Wild West, man. I really love Preacher. It’s fantastic. I think that’s what would sell me [on taking on a comic book project again]. I don’t know if this is still what’s going on with it, but Sam was going to direct it, Sam Mendes, and John August was writing the screenplay.”

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