Robert Downey Jr. is in negotiations to star in DreamWorks/Universal's "Cowboys & Aliens," a pulpy mix of the sci-fi and Western genres that could serve as a potential 2010 tentpole.
The deal would be Downey's first since propelling Marvel Studios' "Iron Man" to $500 million-plus in worldwide loot (and growing). He next will be seen in the comedy "Tropic Thunder" from DreamWorks in August, followed by the drama "The Soloist" in November, a DreamWorks/Universal co-production.
Imagine Entertainment partners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are producing. Platinum Studios chairman and CEO Scott Mitchell Rosenberg also will produce, along with DreamWorks mainstays Steven Spielberg, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Ervin Rustemagic and Rich Marincic will co-produce.
"Cowboys & Aliens" derives from a graphic novel written by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley from an original idea by Rosenberg. The story centers on an Old West battle between the Apache and Western settlers, including a former Union Army gunslinger named Zeke Jackson (Downey), 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.