For a guy that claims that he never really was "a comic book kid," director Darren Aronofsky may have just been given a choice that any fan would love to be in the position to make. You see, having been recently named a possible candidate take the director's chair of the upcoming reboot Superman: Man of Steel (a rumor that Aronofsky has not exactly denied when asked,) it seems that a second choice may be lining up for him with the long-discussed movie adaptation of DC-Vertigo title Preacher. As an unidentified source tells Newsarama, Columbia Pictures is seeking Aronofsky, a director now riding a wave of buzz from The Wrestler and the upcoming "dark side of ballet" drama Black Swan. However, with Superman on the fast track by Warner/DC, it's looking increasingly likely that he will have to chose between the projects. On top of that, his name has also been in the mix to direct the sequel to Wolverine! What's a director to do?!
Perhaps rooted in irony (or divine revenge,) previous attempts to bring about a live-action version of Preacher have fallen-through, leaving the property in developmental purgatory. Whether it was the failed film pitch by Kevin Smith a decade ago, a television project with HBO which after a few years of planning, would eventually fall-through by 2008, it's been an all-around rough ride trying to bring the story of Jesse Custer to life. Even the current project, based on the script written last year by John August (Big Fish) had hit a major road-bump when the heralded acquisition of director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Jarhead) was struck down, due to his attachment to the next entry in the James Bond series (known in the trades as Bond 23.) The commitment to 007 would require his exit from Preacher and another project The Hunger Games when the Bond project's status would end up uncertain. Yup, the MGM debacle not only kicked The Hobbit and James Bond in the nuts, it also managed to take a cheap shot at Preacher for good measure.
As Aronofsky recently told MTV on the Wolverine rumor and the possibility of other comic book projects:
"Of course, I grew up with Batman and Superman and Spider-Man a little bit, but I'm not the biggest comic book fan, even though I've been attached to a lot of them. It would be fun to do one, [but] it's just finding the right situation, the right project."
If indeed Columbia is pursuing Aronofsky for Preacher, it could mean that they're finally ready to get this long-in-the-making project off the ground. Stylistically, it would be a better fit than Supes for Aronofsky's filmmaking style, which focuses on a realistic portrayal of characters who find themselves "along for the ride" in life as it beats them down. (Be it from aging and the desire for adulation in The Wrestler, or from fate across the planes of existence in The Fountain.) Yet, at the same time, a film focusing on an ex-Preacher inhabited by the spirit of a hybrid angel/demon, his tough gun-toting girlfriend, and a drunken drug-addicted Irish vampire is certainly not anything that matches his resume. It will nevertheless be interesting to see what "the right situation/project" will be for him.
As it stands, the general belief, is that Preacher is still on track for production to begin in 2011. -- But so is Superman. So, if the rumor is valid, does Aronofsky pick the safe bet and possibly raise his own stock by taking on everyone's favorite Kryptonian refugee? Or does he take the financially-riskier, controversy-infused, dark supernatural drama that fans have been long-denied? What say you?