Sam Mendes has been named as the man to take Preacher, one of the most acclaimed comic book series ever, to the big screen.

The 75-issue series, created by writer Garth Ennis and artist Steve Dillon, tells of Jesse Custer, a preacher from a small Texan town who becomes imbued with the word of God.

First published in 1995, with its final issue hitting the shelves in July 2000, the Vertigo comic saw Custer, his estranged girlfriend Tulip O'Hare and his best friend Cassidy - an Irish vampire - travelling across America to find God and bring him to justice for deserting mankind.

And now Columbia Pictures and Mendes are developing a big screen version of the award-winning comic, according to Variety.

The beloved graphic novel series has long been linked with a film adaptation, with James Marsden at one time reportedly attached to play Jesse for Tank Girl director Rachel Talalay.

Rumours began in May 2006 that Daredevil helmer Mark Steven Johnson was planning a television series based on Preacher for the HBO network, with one-hour episodes for each issue, though it emerged in August that HBO had turned down the adaptation on the basis of its violent and controversial content.

I Am Legend producer Neal Moritz is to produce alongside Wanted's Jason Netter, though there is as of yet no confirmation of any casting choices.

Mendes is likely to soon comment on the extent to which he plans to remain faithful to the comic, with industry experts predicting vocal protests against Preacher's dark, frequently foul-mouthed and inflammatory content.

Fans will also be curious as to whether the American Beauty director plans to base more than one film on Ennis' comic.

30/10/2008 10:55:19