It looks like A-lister  Brad Pitt and fanboy favorite Ryan Reynolds are going to be dueling it out cowboy style for the lead role in CBS Films’ big-screen adaptation of the long running western series, Gunsmoke.

Both stars are said to be in the running for the lead role of Matt Dillon (the character, not the actor) who was played by William Arness in the original Gunsmoke series. The studio apparently has their sights set on Pitt, which isn’t surprising considering that he’s one of the names atop nearly every casting list in Hollywood, but Reynolds is also supposed to be interested in the role of the Dodge City Marshall.

Who will get the role remains a mystery. Pitt is the bigger… ahem… draw at the box office, but his last western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford died a grisly death at the box office (despite it being rather good). Reynolds on the other hand, is an eager new kid in town (go with it) who appears to be saddling up for many action adventures like Green Lantern and Deadpool. Sure Pitt is a killer at the box office, but westerns are unpredictable when it comes to box office appeal. For every Dances With Wolves and Unforgiven there’s the above mentioned Jesse James, Wyatt Earp and a dozen other films in the genre that have died with their boots on. It really is a case of the quick and the dead.

Several other actors are also on the list for the Dillon role, so neither Pitt nor Reynolds could end up pinning that badge onto their lapel.

I wonder if Matt Dillon is on the list? That would be some cool Being John Malkovich-style casting: Matt Dillon is Matt Dillon.

Gregory Poirier wrote the script and CBS is trying to lasso a director while also corralling actors into the pen. The roles of Dillon’s pals Doc Adams and saloon owner Miss Kitty Russell are also up for grabs, so there could even be a stampede of actors trying to attach themselves to this television spin-off, that the studio hopes will be as long-running as the original Gunsmoke – 20 years!

The Original Cast of Gunsmoke

Ideally, I’d like to see good old Kevin Costner dust off that Winchester, strap on the Smith and Wesson and take the reins of the film, but I’m a realist and he’s probably seen as too old and not a big enough star to get bums on seats. In reality, the role will probably go to some young buck like Taylor Lautner, which is a real shame.

Screen Rant will keep you up to date on any Gunsmoke news from the wild west that is Hollywood.

Yee ha!

Source: LA Times