Universal Pictures is in early talks with David Leitch and Chad Stahelski to co-direct its action pic “Cowboy Ninja Viking,” starring Chris Pratt.
Sources tell Variety that Pratt has met with Leitch and Stahelski and has given his stamp of approval. Insiders now say an offer has gone out.
Based on writer A.J. Lieberman and artist Riley Rossmo’s graphic novel, the story follows a man who suffers from multiple personality disorder and is put into a government program to be turned into a super-soldier with the attributes of a cowboy, a ninja and a viking.
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 penned the script and are also producing.
Stahelski and Leitch have been cutting their teeth as second unit directors for several years but blew up after “John Wick” overperformed at the box office this past October. Leitch was uncredited on the project.
With Pratt in such high demand, the studio quickly fast-tracked the project in order to squeeze it in before the actor’s plate became too full. It’s unclear where this film would fit in his schedule with Pratt already set to star in “Magnificent Seven,” which shoots in the spring, and 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 but wanted to make sure the film found the right director before fully committing. His approval is quite the vote of confidence on what Stahelski and Leitch can bring to the table.
Stahelski and Leitch are repped by WME. Pratt is repped by CAA and Mosaic.