In the interest of tempering my bile after my last post about Ryan Murphy’s Super Group From Hell, here’s some news that sounds good to my ears. Universal Pictures has picked up Cowboy Ninja Viking, the Image Comic by AJ Lieberman and artist Riley Rossmo, for a cinematic adaptation with Marc Forster at the helm. While I’m not a huge fan of Forster (though I do have a weird soft spot for Stranger Than Fiction), the plot of the film sounds so kickass, and the writing talent behind it so fresh, that the whole thing sounds awesome.

The story of Cowboy Ninja Viking is considerably smarter and cooler than that mash-up name might hint at, Deadline Davos reports that “the title character comes from a secret government program to turn schizophrenics into assassins. The protagonist comes through the program with the skill sets of a cowboy, ninja and a viking. While most of the patients involved in the program are sent back to insane asylum after the program went awry in Iraq, he escapes and uses his skills to track down the billionaire who masterminded the program.” What are the skills of a Viking? Skull-crushing? A crazy, skull-crushing ninja who rides horses who is bent on revenge? Sold. So sold.

The film was originally developed at Disney, who eventually found the material “too edgy” for a family flick. Well, yeah. That script comes from screenwriting duo Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who have also penned Zombieland (awesome), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (which looks about twelve times more awesome than it has any right to, considering the first film), and the announced Deadpool film (which, God willing, will also be awesome). More proof of awesome? Did you know that Reese also wrote Cruel Intentions 3? So the guy clearly has a sense of humor. He also wrote Clifford’s Big Movie and he contributed to Monsters, Inc. See? He likes kids, too.

The comic book series currently has ten issues in it, so Universal’s dream for a franchise isn’t nuts.

The film will reportedly start production this year, after Forster finishes World War Z, which is set to open on December 12.  Let’s hope Universal and Forster pick a leading man worthy enough of this potentially-wicked role.

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