It's been a little while since we first heard that Valiant comic's Archer & Armstrong was in development as a live-action movie, but now things look like they are starting to move forward. Archer & Armstrong is a whole new kind of buddy comedy, featuring a highly trained assassin from an evangelical cult, sent to kill a super-strong immortal with a penchant for booze. Despite their inauspicious beginnings, the two team up when they realize that there is a greater danger to the world that they must stop. The adaptation of the books is part of a new push by Valiant to develop properties for a movie division, which will also see several other properties brought to the big screen.
Now, the film is moving forward, with the announcement of a director added to the writer and producers already attached to the project.
Zombieland's Ruben Fleischer will be directing the project, according to sources speaking to THR, who also report that Terry Rossio will be penning the script. Jason Brown, Sean Daniel, and Valiant CEO and CCO Dinesh Shamdasani will be producing alongisde Fleischer. Archer & Armstrong is being developed in-house, and will then be shopped to studios, rather than being developed as part of a multi-picture deal that Valiant already has with Sony.
Archer & Armstrong is not the only Valiant property that is moving forward at the moment, either. Bloodshot (about a super-soldier with a damaged memory) is in development at Sony, with Dave Wilson directing and a screenplay by Eric Heisserer, making it the first of the five-picture deal that the publisher has with the studio. Valiant is also developing another property for television, Quantum & Woody, with the Russo brothers executive producing.
Fleischer is a solid choice for Archer & Armstrong, especially paired with Terry Rossio. Both writer and director are known for action-packed films that are heavy on the comedy (Rossio wrote for Pirates of the Caribbean and The Mask Of Zorro), the perfect combination for this comic property. With Zombieland being such a hugely popular film, this choice will also allow Valiant to use the Zombieland name to promote the project and bring in viewers who may not be familiar with the comic.
It's great to see smaller comics coming to the big screen to join the big names from DC and Marvel that have been dominating the movie scene in recent years - not least because it may well drive readers to explore more titles as a result. While this is great news for fans of Archer & Armstrong, however, it's important to remember that the film is still very much in the development phase, and that many movies have stalled even with a director and a script (and even a star), so we'll be waiting to see how quickly this continues to develop before getting too excited.
Archer & Armstrong does not currently have a release date.