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The live-action adaptation of the 1990s Vertigo comic book Preacher has had a troubled path to creation. After failing to get made as a movie in the past, there were several attempts to get it made as a TV series. It was only last December that a pilot was finally ordered by cable network AMC, and since then it has been making slow progress. Now, the project may have finally found its lead role in Dracula Untold actor Dominic Cooper.
Cooper is evidently the frontrunner to star in the pilot as protagonist Jesse Custer, according to The Tracking Board. However, no official offer has been extended Cooper’s way yet, so this isn’t a done deal. If the actor accepts the role, he will be the first to join the pilot, which is expected to film this summer.
Preacher will follow Jesse, a preacher in the Texas town Annville who has lost his faith. After learning God has left Heaven, he decides to travel across the United States to find the Creator and demand answers for His dereliction of duty. Other important characters include Jesse’s love interest Tulip O’Hare (who will be African-American in the pilot) and the alcoholic, but “friendly, vampire Cassidy. Pursuing this group is the Saint of Killers, a “Western lone gunman archetype” whose sole purpose is to kill Jesse. The 75-issue comic book series also had Jesse being possessed by Genesis, a spawn of an angel and demon coupling, but it hasn’t been stated whether that will be adapted for the project.
Cooper is certainly no stranger to comic book roles. He has appeared as Howard Stark, Iron Man’s father, in Captain America: The First Avenger, the Marvel One-Shot Agent Carter and the ABC limited series Agent Carter. What taking the Preacher role would mean for future appearances in the MCU is a mystery, although unless Agent Carter is renewed for another season, there won’t be too many opportunities left for Cooper to appear as Howard, since Mad Men actor John Slattery plays the older version of the character. It will certainly be a major shift for the actor going from brilliant weapons designer to a preacher in search of God…literally.
Preacher is being developed by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Breaking Bad’s Sam Catlin. Comic series creators Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon will also serve as co-executive producers. Rogen and Goldberg will direct the pilot, while Catlin will serve as showrunner.