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Michelle MacLaren, who is best known for her award-winning work on the acclaimed television shows Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, has nabbed the gig to direct Chris Pratt in Universal’s Cowboy Ninja Viking.
The studio prioritized the project, which has been in development since 2014, in the summer when it dated the action movie for a June 28, 2019, release.
MacLaren beat out Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda) among others for the gig.
Cowboy Ninja Viking tells of a counter-intelligence unit that uses multiple personality disorder patients to create agents known as Triplets, referring to the three personalities the killers have. When the agents become rogue hired guns, the deadliest Triplet of them all, Cowboy Ninja Viking, is called in to take down his own brethren.
The project is based on the Image Comics title by A.J. Lieberman and illustrator Riley Rossmo.
Craig Mazin (The Hangover II) wrote the most recent draft of the screenplay. The original draft was penned by Zombieland writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese.
Producing are Entertainment 360, the production arm of Management 360; Molly’s Game‘s Mark Gordon via The Mark Gordon Co.; The Social Network‘s Michael De Luca via his Michael De Luca Productions; and Pratt.
Sara Scott will oversee production on behalf of Universal.
MacLaren is one of the most in-demand helmers for prestige and big-budget TV shows, also having worked on such hits as Westworld, The Leftovers, The Walking Dead and most recently the pilot for HBO’s The Deuce, in addition to her lauded efforts on Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones.
It was that work that prompted Warners to originally set her to direct Wonder Woman, although the two sides later parted ways over creative differences.
MacLaren is also attached to direct the World War II thriller The Nightingale at TriStar, but with Viking’s release date set, it looks as though her feature debut will be the Pratt picture.
MacLaren is repped by ICM Partners and Stone Genow.
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