Sam Mendes Reveals Why ‘Preacher’ Failed & Why He Passed On ‘The Avengers’
Thursday, November 8th, 2012 at 2:55 pm
Directors are presented with many opportunities to helm a variety of projects. In Sam Mendes case he took on a film called Preacher, which never could get off the ground, and took a pass at The Avengers, which ended up becoming a blockbuster hit. But that’s okay, he can take comfort in knowing that Skyfall is a critical hit and is sure to be a box office smash stateside.
In an interview with Collider, Mendes explains why Preacher couldn’t get into production and why he passed on the chance to direct The Avengers.
One of the biggest issues with working on Preacher was finding a way to make it work tonally. The director talks of his fondness for the graphic novel, but found it hard to balance out some of the aspects of it and create it to fit a feature film. Here’s the full quote:
The other problem was 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. 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. My strong suspicion is someone will come along who has a really good take on it and is able to do it.
The way that Mendes talks about Preacher, you can tell that he really respects the work that Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon put into the comic book series. However, this also means that it will be a while before we could see a proper adaptation of Preacher.
But Mendes hasn’t ruled out Preacher for the small screen though. In fact, the filmmaker believes it would be a great way to do it.
“I do, actually. 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. 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.”
Mendes also talked to MovieFone, where he revealed that he was approached by Disney to direct The Avengers. Obviously that job went to Joss Whedon, but Mendes talked about the package he received and why it made him turn it down.
With a lot of these movies, the date’s announced before anything exists, let alone a script. The funniest letter I got “” they were sending [a packet for] “The Avengers,” right? For directors to pitch “” and I got a package, which was full of comic books, but no treatment; there was no script. But the cover letter said “Marvel’s “˜Avengers’ will be released on May 3, 2012″ or whatever it was. That was the first sentence of the cover letter. Not, “We have the pleasure of enclosing the materials”¦” or “Here is the script for”¦” But the release date. That was the first sentence.
We could play this game of “what ifs,” but what’s done is done. Mendes has directed a spectacular Bond film, which is sure to go down in history as one of the best Bond films in its 50-year history and Whedon directed The Avengers, and we all know how everyone loved that movie. Let’s hope that if Preacher does hit the small screen, Mendes is involved in a producing capacity.