[UPDATE: Chris Pratt has confirmed he’s attached to Cowboy Ninja Viking.]
It may have defied the odds, but Chris Pratt’s rise to blockbuster, leading-man status seems impossible to be slowed, with Guardians of the Galaxy giving way to Jurassic World, and any number of starring roles (in addition to Guardians of the Galaxy 2) to choose from. Thankfully, it seems Pratt will be using his momentum to get another stalled comic book property off the ground: Cowboy Ninja Viking.
The Image Comics title created by writer A.J. Lieberman and artist Riley Rossmo starring a highly trained assassin – suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder – had previously been in the works at Disney, before Universal acquired the project. News has been silent for some time, but Collider now claims that their own sources confirm Pratt is attached to lead the film – and its… complicated cast.
UPDATE: Pratt has confirmed his involvement (via Twitter), while asking fans to nominate their choice to direct the Cowboy Ninja Viking comic book adaptation:
For the unfamiliar, it isn’t hard to see why Cowboy Ninja Viking has all the makings of a quirky comic adaptation. The original comic follows a group of Multiple Personality Disorder patients who are recruited by a black ops group, and trained as elite Triplets: highly skilled assassins each boasting three distinct (and varied) personalities.
It’s also easy to see why the film has encountered problems, despite a script treatment from Zombieland writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. The story centers on Duncan, blessed with the deadly identities of, you guessed it, a Cowboy, a Ninja, and a Viking. When the group dissolves and the Triplets go rogue, Duncan is tasked with hunting them down. But here’s the rub: all four of his ‘sides’ are represented as distinct characters.
Based on little besides the comic’s premise, Pratt’s prowess should be obvious. A talent for high fantasy and physical comedy made him a star on NBC’s Parks & Recreation, with Guardians of the Galaxy proving he could hold his own in the spotlight. Audiences have been waiting to see if Pratt could be just as memorable in a less comedic, more action-focused role in Jurassic World, and it would seem that Universal has already been convinced.
The challenge of representing the three titular characters will apparently be tackled head on, with word that each will be physically manifested on-screen. That means audiences will get to see the Cowboy, Ninja and Viking played by presumably different actors, while Duncan himself remains the face that those around him continue to see.
It’s a demanding balancing act for whoever takes the helm, but with Pratt’s talent handling a quarter of the load (at least), Cowboy Ninja Viking seems more promising than ever before. However, it also features the ever-dangerous ‘R.I.P.D.-level’ of comic book fantasy, so Universal’s hesitation to this point implies the studio is at least aware of what they’re up against.
For his part, Pratt is showing some caution in which roles he’ll be using his recent surge to land. Word recently broke that he had passed on the lead role in Sony’s Uncharted, a highly bankable adaptation of the video game series of the same name. Apparently, a story boasting characters like ‘Pirate – Gladiator – Oceanographer’ and ‘Applebee’s Waiter – Army Sergeant – Frontiersman’ is more up the actor’s alley.
Hopefully an official synopsis for the film will come with an official announcement soon, but there’s no denying that Pratt’s name tied to such a unique comic property seems a perfect fit. What do you think of the casting? Is this the kind of role you were hoping to see Pratt add to his list of upcoming blockbusters, or is a role as Nathan Drake a better fit?
Stay tuned for more information on Cowboy Ninja Viking as it comes.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.