The upcoming adaptation of writer A.J. Lieberman and artist Riley Rossmo’s Cowboy Ninja Viking, which stars Chris Pratt as the titular triple-threat, has finally found a director after months of development. Michelle MacLaren, known for her episodes of The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones, will helm the film for Universal. MacLaren was also one of the directors in competition for the Wonder Woman gig, but eventually left the project after experiencing some creative differences with Warner Bros.
According to a synopsis of the original comic, which consists of 10 issues published between 2009 and 2010:
The series revolves around a counter-intelligence unit of Multiple Personality Disorder patients, formed by psychotherapist Dr. Sebastian Ghislain, who are transformed into agents known as Triplets (referring to the three different personalities inside their minds). It is hinted that this is possible through experimental psychiatric conditioning and treatment, psychotropic drugs, and past life regression therapy. After the unit falls apart, its various members are turned into hired killers. Duncan, a Triplet who channels the skills of a Cowboy, Ninja, and Viking, is sent to find and stop the rogue Triplets.
MacLaren supposedly “beat out Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda) and Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) for the gig,” which is even more impressive when you consider that Cowboy Ninja Viking will be MacLaren’s debut feature. The biggest issue I have with this movie so far is that Craig Mazin has been credited as the writer of the most recent draft. Aside from being Ted Cruz’s college roommate and giving us a lifetime worth of embarrassing stories – which admittedly makes up for all of what I’m about to tell you – Mazin is also responsible for some of the worst movies to have ever been made, including Superhero Movie, Scary Movie 4, and Identity Thief. The silver lining to all of this is that the original draft of Cowboy Ninja Viking was written by Deadpool scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, so hopefully at least some of what they wrote remains intact.
I’m also very interested to see Chris Pratt helm what could potentially become a franchise all on his own. Up until now, Pratt has always had an established franchise or a lot of valuable co-stars to fall back on. Not to say that he isn’t talented or a charismatic screen presence, but he’ll really be carrying Cowboy Ninja Viking himself. It’s not a popular enough comic to have a massive built-in audience, and it isn’t part of an existing franchise like Guardians of the Galaxy.
Cowboy Ninja Viking hits theaters on June 28th, 2019.
Images: Image Comics, Paramount, AMC
Source: The Hollywood Reporter