Continuing his transition from indie favorite to blockbuster star, Robert Downey Jr. is reportedly in negotiations to star in the high concept franchise pic "Cowboys & Aliens."
Set up through DreamWorks and Universal, "Cowboys & Aliens" is viewed as a potential 2010 tentpole for the studios.
Based on the graphic novel by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley, "Cowboys & Aliens" has been in development for a decade, according to The Hollywood Reporter, with script drafts coming in from folks including David Hayter ("X2: X-Men United"), Jeffrey Boam ("Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade") and Steve Oedekerk ("Evan Almighty").
The trade says the latest draft came from "Iron Man" and "Children of Men" scribes Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus.
The story is set in the Old West and focuses on a conflict between Apache and Western settlers which gets interrupted by a pesky alien invasion. Downey would play Zeke Jackson, a former Union officer and current settler.
This will be a busy year for Downey, who follows up "Iron Man" with the late-summer comedy "Tropic Thunder" and then the Oscar hopeful "The Soloist" in November.