Columbia Pictures have discontinued development on their intended movie adaptation of Garth Ennis’ violent and edgy comic The Boys, according to a story in The Hollywood Reporter.
The always ambitious sounding movie was to be directed by comedy helmer Adam McKay (The Other Guys, Anchorman), who promised he would get Simon Pegg in the role of the Wee Hughie, the audiences P.O.V. Character, even though the actor considered himself to be too old for the role. Pegg was the inspiration series artist Darrick Robertson used for the character (as you can see above) and had long been rumoured to star in the adaptation along with McKay desperate to land Russell Crowe as a co-lead (which looked unlikely), although no official casting decisions had been made.
The story followed Hughie as he was drafted into The Boys, a C.I.A. group that monitored and, if need be, dealt with the world’s superhero population. The book painted the heroes in a bad light, showing most of them as drug abusers, sexual deviants, and exhibiting utter contempt for the lives of normal people.
Since the movie was announced in 2009, writing duo Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay, as well as Seth Rogen, had worked on the script but all drafts presented Columbia with the problem of an R-Rated bloody, non-mainstream movie that would cost $100 million and that wasn’t based on a property that has a huge pre-set comic audience. This pulling of the plug always felt inevitable.
Meanwhile McKay still believes he can convince another studio to give The Boys a new home. He wrote on Twitter,
“The Boys film adaptation is not dead. Some studios interested. This could be the coolest super hero franchise out there.”
The Boys isn’t the only Ennis project to have a rough time getting to the big screen. The film adaptation of his break out book Preacher, was first announced in 2000. Since then, the film has been cancelled, resurrected, had numerous rewrites, including one of Ennis’ own script, and a number of directors attached, including Sam Mendes. D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye) was announced as director in February 2011, but there has being no word of the project since.