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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Warner Bros. picks up 'Wild Guns'

Warner Bros. picks up 'Wild Guns,' high-concept, low history western

Your friendly neighborhood Fanboys Examiner has been saying for awhile that the western might make a comeback in the high concept arena, something like "Pirates of the Caribbean" with six-shooters.  Although the unexpected success of "True Grit" has also boosted interest in traditional, even streamlined westerns, the high concept western is beginning to take shape.  Jon Favreau's "Cowboys & Aliens" is due for release this summer, and the title speaks fo itself.  Now The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision Blog is reporting that Warner Bros. has made a pre-emptive acquisition of "Wild Guns," which is taking a more supernatural approach to the idea.
"Wild Guns" is a spec script by T.S. Nowlin, written for producer Gianni Nunnari ("300," "Immortals"), which reportedly has real life western figures Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday teaming up to rescue the daughter of Sitting Bull from a powerful shaman with mysterious powers.  The logline is "Sherlock Holmes" in "Tombstone."  This is the second spec sale for Nowlin, who has also sold a biopic about Christopher Columbus to Relativity.  Director McG is attached to that project.
Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were gunslingers and occasional lawmen in the old west, best-remembered for the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona in 1881, an approximately 30 second shootout which resulted in three deaths.  It has been the subject of innumerable movies which have treated it with varying degrees of historical accuracy.  As far as I know, Earp and Holliday never met Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux shaman remembered among things for defeating Custer's Seventh Cavalry at Litte Big Horn.
Matt Cherniss, a new Warners Bros. exec who previously worked at Fox Broadcasting, will oversee for the studio.  The Hollywood Gang's John Ridley will also produce with Nunnari.  No word on a director or casting at this early stage.  Wyatt Earp has been played in the past by actors as diverse as Randolph Scott, Henry Fonda, Joel McCrea, Burt Lancaster, Guy Madison, James Stewart, James Garner, Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner.  Errol Flynn also played a fictional character modeled on Earp in "Dodge City." 
Actors who have played Doc Holliday are as diverse.  Walter Huston, Victor Mature, Kirk Douglas, Arthur Kennedy, Adam West (TV's Batman), Jason Robards, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer and Dennis Quaid and Randy Quaid is an only partial list.
As for Sitting Bull, he too has been portrayed in westerns, often by white actors, including J. Carrol Naish and Michael Granger.  He has, however, also been played by Native American actors including August Schellenberg, Graham Greene, Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman and Russell Means.

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