It sometimes feels like Chris Pratt is rumored as a potential star for every other high-profile franchise movie in development these days (see those Indiana Jones reboot rumors), but in truth his schedule’s already pretty much booked full as is, for the next while. One of the more interesting – and interestingly-titled – projects that Pratt is currently attached to is Cowboy Ninja Viking, a film adaptation of the 2009 comic book written by A.J. Lieberman and illustrated by Riley Rossmo.
Pratt, when he confirmed his involvement as the star for Cowboy Ninja Viking via social media, was quick to ask his fans for recommendations, about who ought to take on the job of directing the movie. The actor has since been ought and about meeting with potential candidates to take the helm – and, according to a fresh progress update on the project, has found what he feels to be pretty strong contenders for the job.
Variety is reporting that Universal has begun talks with filmmakers David Leitch and Chad Stahelski to have them to direct Cowboy Ninja Viking, after their meeting with Pratt for the film went well. Deal-making is still in the early stages right now, but for the time being there seems to be a fair chance they’ll result in some contract signing.
The pair has multiple decades of movie stunt work experience between them and have recently served as second united directors on a number of big studio films (including The Hunger Games, The Wolverine, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). However, in this case, that’s perhaps of secondary interest to their work on last year’s acclaimed B-movie release, John Wick.
Cowboy Ninja Viking, for not not familiar, revolves around a counter-intelligence unit composed of agents known as Triplets: individuals with three different personalities, who are able to channel the skills and abilities of each individual personality they have. Pratt’s character Duncan will, naturally, possess the personalities (and capabilities) of a cowboy, a ninja, and a viking – something that proves problematic, when he’s tasked with hunting down other Triplets who’ve gone rogue.
John Wick not only features what many agree are some of the best close-quarter combat sequences and fight scenes put onscreen in recent memory, but also some of the strongest comic book movie-esque world building – quickly establishing a whole mythos for a secret world of assassins over its running time – especially as it’s a film that’s not actually based on a comic book. For those reasons alone, it’s easy to see why Leitch and Stahelski would be considered a good fit for Cowboy Ninja Viking.
The initial script treatment for Cowboy Ninja Viking by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland) almost certainly blends action and quirky humor – given the film’s premise, as well as the duo’s previous work as screenwriters – and thus, ought to play to Pratt’s strengths, as an actor who’s now proven his worth at playing comical action hero types onscreen.
Pratt is expected to begin filming the western remake Magnificent Seven this spring, but it’s possible he’s already planning for production on Cowboy Ninja Viking to begin by late 2015 (before he prepares to reprise as Star-Lord for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in 2016). Heck, by that point, Pratt will have already played a cowboy in Magnificent Seven and a ninja – Johnny Karate on Parks and Recreation counts, right? – which will just leave the viking part to master next.
We’ll keep you posted on the status of Cowboy Ninja Viking as more information becomes available.