After delivering one of last year’s best action flicks, a visceral and vivid thriller as enthrallingly stylish as it was narratively taut, John Wick directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski are being courted for Cowboy Ninja Viking, a comic-book adaptation set to star Chris Pratt.
Universal sent an offer out to the pair, who are now in early talks, having already met with Pratt and received his stamp of approval. Marc Forster was attached to the project way back, but he fell off long before Pratt boarded. If Leitch and Stahelski do sign on, Universal plans to get this pic off the ground very soon.
Based on A.J. Lieberman and Riley Rosmo’s graphic novel, Cowboy Ninja Viking centers on an experimental government program that turns multiple personality disorder patients into counter-intelligence agents with three distinct personalities, each possessing unique skill-sets. Pratt will star as protagonist Duncan, whose personalities include that of a cowboy, a ninja and a viking. It falls to Duncan to track down the creators of the program and its other subjects when the agents are converted into assassins.
Stahelski and Leitch cut their teeth as stunt choreographers and second unit directors for years before breaking big with the over-performing John Wick last fall. The pair have been highly in-demand since then, but Cowboy Ninja Viking is the most high-profile project we’ve seen them circle. Pratt’s thumbs-up means a whole lot as far as what he thinks the directors bring to the table, so if a deal is struck, this will definitely be a movie to look forward to.
The only obstacle to filming may, it appears, be Pratt himself. The guy is busier than anyone in Hollywood right now – he has The Magnificent Seven shooting in the spring and press duties for Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on the horizon. Add in that Disney wants to meet with Pratt about possibly taking over the Indiana Jones franchise, and it becomes increasingly unclear when he’s planning to fit in Cowboy Ninja Viking.