Robert Downey Jr. Joins Cowboys and Aliens Adaptation
by Alex Billington
June 16, 2008
After laying dormant for nearly 12 months, Cowboys & Aliens finally gets some exciting news today. Robert Downey Jr. is in negotiations to star in the comic book adaptation as a former Union Army gunslinger named Zeke Jackson. The 2010 slated film is a "a pulpy mix of the sci-fi and western genres" that DreamWorks is hoping to develop as one of their big blockbusters. Check out the line-up of producers on this: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. A director hasn't been announced yet. The latest draft of the script that DreamWorks really liked was penned by Iron Man and Children of Men screenwriters Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus. Sounds like they're applying the Iron Man formula all over again - now they just need to get Jon Favreau to direct and it'll be solid gold!
Cowboys & Aliens is an adaptation of a graphic novel that was written by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley and first published by Image Comics in 2006. The story centers on an Old West battle between the Apache and Western settlers, including a former Union Army gunslinger named Zeke Jackson, that is interrupted by a spaceship crashing into the prairie near Silver City, Ariz. The story draws a parallel between the American imperialist drive to conquer the "savage" Indians with its advanced technology and the aliens' assault on Earthlings, who must join together to survive the invaders' attack.
So far this really sounds interesting. I'm a big fan of the recent revival of the western genre, although it really didn't pick up like I expected it would (with 3:10 to Yuma and Assassination of Jesse James). This project sounds very similar to Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor's Jonah Hex and I'd love to really see both come together. However, I'm not sure Robert Downey Jr. is a perfect fit. He's a phenomenal actor, but fits more in futuristic and sophisticated roles like in Iron Man than in westerns. I really can't see him taking on a role like this, but maybe I need to see more of what the vision and style is before I make a real judgment. Does Cowboys & Aliens sound like an exciting project to you, too?