Chris Pratt and Michelle MacLaren are shooting Universal’s Cowboy Ninja Viking this summer…too bad they don’t have a final script yet.
The comic book adaptation, about assassins with multiple personality disorders, has drawn a lot of attention in Hollywood and already has a street date. That’s a lot of pressure to heap on a production that lacks a finished story. This isn’t too unusual, however, as many films revise their scripts right up to the start of production (and sometimes during production too). But it is worrisome.
Cowboy Ninja Viking is based on an existing graphic novel and there is an existing script by Craig Mazin (Identity Thief, Hangover Part II/III). Mazin rewrote the original script from Paul Wernick and Everett David Reese. So they’re not exactly winging it.
Universal must be worried about something, because they’ve just added a new writer, according to Deadline. Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok) has come aboard to rewrite the script. Whoa! A full rewrite just months from shooting? That can’t be good.
Maybe, maybe not. Mental Floss lists several notable films that entered production lacking a finished script. The list is surprising: Lawrence of Arabia, Iron Man, Casablanca, Jaws, and Alien 3. And these films turned out just fine. (Well, maybe not Alien 3 — sorry David Fincher.)
Pearson is in high demand around Hollywood. In addition to Thor: Ragnarok he wrote the one-shot story that later became ABC’s Agent Carter (and he wrote for both seasons of that show). Additionally, Pearson is writing Nonplayer, a comic book series from writer-illustrator Nate Simpson, and he’s also contributed pre-production and/or post-production writing on Ant-Man, Spiderman: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, the untitled Avengers 4 and Legendary’s Detective Pikachu and Pacific Rim 2. So that’s encouraging, right?
There’s definitely buzz for Cowboy Ninja Viking and Pearson certainly has the chops to make it fun, crazy, violent — all the stuff we loved from Thor: Ragnarok. But still, a full rewrite just 3 months from production? Sounds similar to David Ayer’s experience writing Suicide Squad… and that turned out… fine?
Are you worried that Cowboy Ninja Viking doesn’t have a final script yet? Let us know in the comments down below!
Cowboy Ninja Viking hits theaters on June 28, 2019.