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Pajiba (Semi) Exclusive: Wyatt Earp's Six Shooter Meets Al Capone's Tommy Gun

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | November 10, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | November 10, 2009 |

I wouldn’t quite call this a Pajiba exclusive, because if you’re willing to dig deep enough, all of this information is available on the Interwebs; it just hasn’t been widely reported, which is odd given the name of the director and the compelling source material.

Granted, the project — called Black Hats — has been in development for nearly two years, which is reason enough to suggest it is languishing in development hell. But — and here’s where the exclusive part comes in — according to our inside source, we can confirm that the project is still alive. To what extent, we don’t know. But it’s certainly not dead, though it hasn’t been picked up by a studio (Jason Netter’s Kickstart Productions is still kicking it around).

What the hell am I talking about? The project, called Black Hats, comes from a Max Allan Collins’ novel of the same name (though it’s written under the pseudonym Patrick Culhane). Collins wrote the graphic novel that Road to Perdition is based on, and his Black Hats project has D.J. Caruso loosely attached, with his frequent collaborator, Carl Ellsworth (Disturbia, potentially Y: The Last Man) on scriptwriting duties.

Why is this project of interest? Because the fantastical concept is too damn good to overlook. Check this out:

In 1920, 70-year-old Wyatt Earp, who’s working as a private investigator in Los Angeles, is hired by Kate Elder, the widow of his best friend, Doc Holliday. Kate wants Wyatt to go to New York and help her speakeasy-owning son, John, who has fallen afoul of a local tough guy, the young Alphonse Capone

How cool is that? And it’s meant to be some sort of six-shooter meets Tommy gun showdown, pitting Wyatt Earp against Al Capone.

Will it actually be made? Who knows? D.J. Caruso already has The Art of Making Money, with Chris Pine attached, on the fast track. We know that’s going to be made. Beyond that, Caruso has three other projects, besides Black Hats, in development. But let’s just say: Y: The Last Man probably won’t get made anytime soon — it’s too big, and Shia LaBeouf, who was attached at one time, will probably be too old to play the part. That’s a few years down the road. The Defenders isn’t any further along in development than Black Hats (in fact, Caruso isn’t even officially attached to the Masi Oka (“Heroes”) project, or the other film he’s been linked to Dead Space (based on the video game)). Which is to say, at the end of the Art of Making Money tunnel, Black Hats seems to have just as good a chance at being made by Caruso than any of the other three, unless — of course — another project comes along between now and then. But given the source material and the conceit, Black Hats is the one I’d like to see.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.