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?
This story is an old one. I remember finding an Eerie or Creepy comic at a flea market, years ago. And one of the stories was of an alien invasion on the old west. I remember one of the pictures was the saucer flying over head of 3 or 4 cowboys on horseback. It's a concept that I've always loved, and wondered why there wasn't a sci-fi movie based on it. I guess they're starting to embrace the idea now. I hope the look and feel will be more like 3:10 to Yuma than something more alien sci-fi like Independence day.
Andrew on Jun 16, 2008
Neat, GENRE CROSSOVER!
Ryan on Jun 16, 2008
Sounds like something Will Smith should do.
dac_fan on Jun 16, 2008
Just combine some footage of Wild Wild West and Independence Day.
Matt on Jun 16, 2008
Sci-Fi and western genre? You mean like the nigh (no, no...dare I say it...absolutely) perfect Firefly and Serenity? ...It could work...
JeepFu on Jun 23, 2008
I love the firefly and serenity and this is sounding very similar. Maybe they should get Joss to direct it. I know this crazy cowboy that actually rides a buffalo...that would be a cool twist.
Tracee on Dec 8, 2008
I would hope this project will be approached to give a natural/realistic feel...not the same old computer generated special effects non-stop mind numbing drivel we're seeing these days such as the Transformers & GI Joe attempts at adventure. This is an opportunity for them to show us something new...something different than we've seen over & over in the last several years. Andrew has the right idea about the feel it should present. I think Will Smith is the COMPLETELY WRONG type of character it needs. No wise cracking tough guy mentality will work if they want a true realistic feel, which we would all appreciate in this era of bad, high budget, si-fi cookie cutter movies. I have doubts about Robert Downer Jr. being right as well. I'd rather see a more believable individual take the lead with the look of the characters in APPALOOSA. Anyway, that's my two cents worth. Thanks for letting me vent. I remain hopeful!
Steve on Aug 14, 2009
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