Thesp to play title role in indie Western

Val Kilmer is returning to the Wild West, playing the title role in indie Western “The First Ride of Wyatt Earp.”

Mike Feifer is directing from a script by Darren Benjamin Shepherd, and production is under way in California.

Based on a true story, pic finds an elderly Earp sitting down with a reporter to reflect on the ride that made him a legend, when the young marshal rounded up a posse to track down the outlaw who mistakenly murdered the woman he loved.

Daniel Booko (“Glory Daze”) plays Spike Kennedy, and popular recording artist Trace Adkins (“The Lincoln Lawyer”) plays his father. “American Idol” finalist Diana DeGarmo is also onboard as the object of young Earp’s affection. Matt Dallas (“Kyle XY”) co-stars as Bat Masterson, while Wilson Bethel plays Doc Holliday. Shawn Roberts, Stephen Grayhm, Scott Whyte, Levi Fiehler and Mason Cook (“Spy Kids 4″) round out the young ensemble.

Barry Barnholtz and Jeffrey Schenck are producing through their Hybrid banner, and Peter Sullivan is co-producing.

Producers envision the pic as a “‘Young Guns’ for the next generation,” and while Westerns are always a risky proposition for indie financiers, auds have shown renewed interest in the genre judging by the success of “True Grit” and “Rango.”

Kilmer is no stranger to Westerns, having played Holliday in “Tombstone,” as well as William Bonney in the 1989 telepic “Billy the Kid.” More recently, thesp wrapped the lead in Francis Ford Coppola’s thriller “Twixt Now and Sunrise.”

Kilmer is repped by ICM.

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