Brad Pitt and Ryan Reynolds are fighting to keep the peace, as both are in the running to play Marshal Matt Dillon, the lead lawman in CBS Films' big-screen adaptation of the classic Western television show Gunsmoke.
Pitt is currently the top contender to fill the juicy, gunslinging role made famous by James Arness, who played Dillon for 20 years on the small screen. Pitt's starring role in The Assassination of Jesse James... has the studio pegging him as one of the few A-List names to star in a recent Western -- though along with Cinematical we'd argue that Viggo Mortenson, Ed Harris and Guy Pearce have done great work to re-energize the genre. I guess the 3:10 To Yuma's trio of top notch performers (Ben Foster, Christian Bale, Russell Crowe) aren't on the short list either.
Reynolds is reported to like the Dillon role, and as of late the actor has transitioned his comedic appeal into lead action roles with the upcoming comic-book adaptations of The Green Lantern and Deadpool.
Dillon is the Western hero charged with maintaining law and order in a period Kansas town filled with colorful vagrants, misfits and desperadoes. He carries on in these adventures with the help of town physician Doc Adams and tavern owner Miss Kitty Russell.
The biggest obstacle in casting the role would be that CBS films hasn't attached a director as of yet, which typically comes before casting.
Screenwriter Gregory Poirier (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) is the man who's written a draft of the Gunsmoke feature script, and the studio likes it. CBS Films is very interested in developing an action tentpole film that also has built-in name recognition. They see Gunsmoke as a movie that has the potential to be successful, and if they end up landing these big name actors I don't see why it wouldn't be. This is also a property that they own, so that always helps.
The studio is looking to contemporize the look and feel of Gunsmoke while maintaining the period American West setting, though some observers have asked whether modern theatrical audiences will have an appetite for Westerns. I think it could make for a great film.
What do you all think? Is Gunsmoke a film you would be interested in seeing? And what do you think about the actors that could potentially star in it?