Warning: this is one of those stories that could lead to a little too much speculation; note that there’s no deal implied here. But it’s an interesting notion, so that said…
A-Team director Joe Carnahan is doing the press rounds, as his film opens this week, and naturally the subject of past project developments and hopes for the future have both come up. The attention-getting thing is that Carnahan has expressed a desire to take over the film based on Vertigo’s Preacher comic book series, to which Sam Mendes was briefly attached before he sided with James Bond.
SuperheroHype talked to Carnahan, who says of Preacher,
I’m kind of desperate to do another comic book adaptation…And the other thing I’m really keen on or interested in is ‘Preacher’ because I’m a big Garth Ennis fan and I love that series and that’s out there, and that might be something…I really love that. You gotta do the Allfather (D’Aronique) and all that crazy shit and I haven’t seen a script and I don’t know what it is, but yeah, we’ll see. Who knows?
When he talks about ‘another comic book adaptation’ he’s referring in part to work on Taskmaster, a film based on a character that first appeared as a villain in The Avengers. (The character’s cover debut had him looking like someone put Moon Knight and the Hobgoblin in a blender.) Taskmaster is a guy who, essentially, can duplicate any action he sees. After a villainous career, he was pressed into service training heroes. (Read more history here.)
Of that film, Carnahan says,
Taskmaster was something we talked about, and I haven’t discussed it with [A-Team producer Alex Young] for ages, but I would love to get back in. I love the idea of a guy with photographic reflexes, he can see something and repeat it, I thought that was such a cool idea…I think it might be one of those Marvel characters you really need to reimagine because he’s got the whole skull and cape—it’s a bit grandiose I think—but it would certainly be a cool thing.
I don’t know if Fox has the rights to Taskmaster, or if they’re at Marvel, but it seems like a moot point; it’s difficult enough to get a recognizable character onto screens — a third-rate guy like that isn’t likely to get his own film. Seems much more likely that we’d see the character in a supporting role in other Marvel films.
Regardless, I’d so much rather see Carnahan able to make more movies like Narc. (Admittedly, that might not be his interest.) That was a hell of a film, great work from Jason Patric and Ray Liotta, and the eight years since seems like a long time, especially with Smokin’ Aces as his only other finished feature in the interim. Promising projects like Killing Pablo and White Jazz repeatedly stalled out, which may make broader stuff like The A-Team seem like a good idea.
Granted, Preacher could be the bridge between the impulses of Narc and The A-Team, but I still have serious doubts that any adaptation would really hold together. I’d be happy to see Carnahan do it, if he could make it happen with the right tone. He doesn’t have the clout that Mendes does, and I’d guess that even Mendes would have run into problems making a proper version of Preacher.