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Is Ridley Scott’s Western ‘The Color Of Lightning’ Penned By Larry McMurtry Finally Moving Forward?

Is Ridley Scott's Western 'The Color Of Lightning' Penned By Larry McMurtry Finally Moving Forward?

Everything in the movie world about Ridley Scott over the past few months has been about “Prometheus,” “The Counselor” or that “Blade Runner” sequel he’s doing, but here’s something that’s thankfully about none of those things and more proof that at 74 years old, the director show no signs of slowing down.

A couple of years back, one of the many, many, many projects Scott had developing was a western penned by “Brokeback Mountain” scribe Larry McMurtry. In the summer of 2010 he teased that he was developing something with the author and screenwriter, and by year’s end it was revealed that McMurtry and Diana Ossana were adapting Paulette Jiles‘ novel, “The Color of Lightning,” with Scott attached to direct. As with many things that are announced involving Scott, we figured it was just another in a long line of developing movies, but it looks like it could be much closer to happening than we thought.

“I develop everything. I do. I learned that a long time ago. It’s never going to land on your desk, you have to come up with what you want to do with the story and I think sometimes it can take two or three years. I want to do a western really badly and I think I’ve got a western this morning, finally after two and a half years of talking and writing and talking and… I think I have it, which is kind of interesting,” Scott cryptically told /Film and other press assembled for interviews for “Prometheus” this week.

Of course, it could be something entirely new, but the two-and-a-half year timeline certainly seems to suggest it’s been something he’s been working on and it would fit in perfectly with “The Color of Lightning,” which first surfaced back in 2010. So what’s it all about? Loosely based on the story that inspired the John Ford/John Wayne classic “The Searchers,” the tale takes place at the tail end of the Civil War, and centers on a freed black slave, Britt Johnson, who tries to establish a settlement with his family and start a business. But a brutal Comanche Indian raid leaves his eldest son dead and his wife hostage, and he journeys to seek vengeance and get her back. Yep, sounds like solid Scott material to us.

But of course, it remains to be seen just where on Scott’s calendar this will fit in. He shoots “The Counselor” this fall and the “Blade Runner” sequel seems to be a high priority, but it’s still at the script stage with Hampton Fancher recently being brought on. And there’s still “Monopoly” (really) of which he says a “first pass” on the script has be done. Anyway, we’ll see if ‘Lightning’ (or whatever this western is) comes to fruition, but it could just as well not happen, just like mooted projects such as “Brave New World” and “Tripoli,” and you can read Scott’s thoughts on those right over here.

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