Michelle MacLaren

Michelle MacLaren has signed on to direct Universal’s film adaptation of Image Comics’ ‘Cowboy Ninja Viking’ with Chris Pratt attached to star.  The original comic book was written by A.J. Lieberman and illustrated by Riley Rossmo.  The film version has been in development at Universal since 2014, but last year things seemed to amp up when the studio set a release date of June 28, 2019.

MacLaren has worked extensively on some of the most acclaimed shows on TV, directing episodes of ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The Walking Dead‘, ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Westworld‘.  She reportedly beat out Jennifer Yuh Nelson (‘Kung Fu Panda’) and Rick Famuyiwa (‘Dope’) for this gig.

‘Cowboy Ninja Viking’ tells the story of multiple personality disorder patients who are reprogrammed as hired assassins known as Triplets because of their three different personalities.  When they go rogue, the deadliest among them, Cowboy Ninja Viking, must hunt down and take out his former compatriots.

The latest screenplay was penned by Craig Mazin (‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’).  The first draft was penned by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese (‘Zombieland’).

Though she has extensive experience on huge TV shows– she won two Primetime Emmys for ‘Breaking Bad’– ‘Cowboy Ninja Viking’ will mark MacLaren’s feature film debut.  She was previously attached to helm ‘Wonder Woman’ but parted ways over creative differences.  (Patty Jenkins took over to great praise.)  It’s unclear when ‘Cowboy Ninja Viking’ will go into production.  Maclaren was also attached to direct ‘The Nightingale’ a World War II drama slated for release on January 25, 2019.  With these two films due to be released so closely together, it’s unclear if she will drop ‘The Nightingale’ or if that film will be delayed.

So far, Chris Pratt is the only actor attached and he will also serve as a producer on this picture.  Pratt has completed filming on the western ‘The Kid’ directed by Vincent D’Onofrio who also acts in the movie, along with Dane DeHaan, Ethan Hawke and Adam Baldwin.  Pratt will next be seen in two films that should be among the biggest hits of the year, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom‘.

Check back for updates on ‘Cowboy Ninja Viking’ as this project progresses.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter