Nearly three years after the project was first announced, Valiant's Archer & Armstrong movie is getting a fresh start with a new writer and director, and an eye toward starting production sooner than later this time.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer, who was recently shortlisted for Suicide Squad 2, will take on the film, which is to be written by Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure scribe Terry Rossio.
Rossio isn't exclusively in the business of making family-friendly action films for Disney, though, as he's also a lead writer for Legendary's Godzilla/Kong "monsterverse" films.
That said, the National Treasure expertise could come in handy if the studio decides to tell stories that resemble Fred Van Lente's acclaimed run on Archer & Armstrong, which ran for 25 issues and dealt a lot with conspiracy theories, secret organizations, and an interconnected web of villains who have been working, either in concert or against one another, essentially since Ancient Egypt.
Archer & Armstrong centers on the two title charactrs, Obadiah Archer and Aram Ani-Padda, better known as Armstrong.
Aram is one of three brothers (the others being the Eternal Warrior and Ivar the Timewalker) from the ancient city-state of Ur, who were granted immortality and super powers when a mystical device intended to resurrect one of the brothers from the dead did so -- but at the cost of draining the rest of Ur of its life force and creating a gigantic explosion.
In the present, Armstrong is a bit of a drunk and a layabout, using his immortality as carte blanche to get away with more or less whatever he wants, while a powerful cult with ties to Wall Street and various religious groups around the world sees him as the literal antichrist and trains young warriors to eventually slay him. One such warrior, Archer, has the ability to mimic any fighting style he sees, making him a near-perfect fighter once he gets a little bit of life experience.
...And that's what they get when the pair come together. It's ultimately a superhero buddy comedy, wherein the pair love each other, can't stand each other, and battle evil together -- with most of the evil being tied to the cult, of which Archer's parents are prominent members.
Joining Fleischer as producers on the project are Jason Brown, The Mummy's Sean Daniel and Valiant CCO Dinesh Shamdasani. THR says they will develop the property in-house at Valiant before shopping it to studios.
In 2014, Valiant had announced a film version from writer Bendavid Grabinski. At the time, Valiant had partnered with the Sean Daniel Company, responsible for The Best Man Holiday and the upcoming reboots of The Mummy and Ben-Hur, for the production and funded Grabinski's script. That version of the film was to be produced by Daniel, Brown, and Shamdasani, so it seems most of the key players remain in place.
Valiant also has a number of other irons in the fire, including Bloodshot at Sony, Joe and Anthony Russo's Quantum and Woody TV series, and plans for movies based on X-O Manowar, Harbinger, and others. The first live-action interpretation of Valiant characters will be coming soon to YouTube in the form of Bat In the Sun's collaboration with the publisher on Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe.0comments