by: S. Scott Stanikmas and Marcus Rivera
John Wick was the surprise action hit of last year. And it looks like director Chad Stahelski and uncredited co-director David Leitch will be keeping busy in the new year. Sources close to Variety have given them the scoop that the duo will be helming the upcoming comic book movie Cowboy Ninja Viking starring Chris Pratt.
The film is based on the Image Comics comic of the same name, created by writer A.J. Lieberman and artist Riley Rossmo. The series follows a counter-intelligence unit that uses patients that suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder. They turn them into agents called TRIPLETS, men and women who can access up to three personalities skills at the same time. Duncan, a TRIPLET who can access the abilities of a Cowboy, a Ninja and a Viking is tasked with hunting down rogue TRIPLETS.
Mark Gordon, Guymon Casady and Ben Forkner are producing in a co-production between the Mark Gordon Company and Film 360. Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese are penning the script and are also producing. Stahelski and Leitch have cut their teeth as second unit directors for several years but blew up after John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves, overperformed at the box office this past October. Leitch was uncredited on the project.
With Pratt in such high demand, the studio has quickly fast-tracked the project in order to squeeze it in before the actor’s plate becomes too full. It’s unclear where this film would fit in his current schedule. Pratt already set to star in Antoine Fuqua’s Magnificent Seven remake, which shoots in the spring, as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, but as long as things come together quickly, it’s a good sign this film is headed in the right direction.
Pratt has been tweeting his excitement about the project for quite some time but wanted to make sure the film found the right director before fully committing to it. Leitch and Stahelski have an eye for awesome action, being heavily influenced by anime and martial arts films. They seem like a good match for the insanity that Cowboy Ninja Viking conveys. Pratt’s approval is quite the vote of confidence on what Stahelski and Leitch can bring to the table.