Robert Downey Jr is reportedly in talks to star in Cowboys and Aliens, a self-explanatory popcorn movie planned for a 2010 release.

According to Variety, the Iron Man actor is in negotiations with Dreamworks and Universal Studios to star in the adventure flick, with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard set to produce.

Based on a graphic novel by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley, Cowboys and Aliens tells of an Old West battle between Apache Indians and western settlers, including former sharpshooter Zeke Jackson (Downey Jr), which is interrupted by the crash landing of an alien spaceship near Silver City, Arizona.

As well as Grazer and Howard, Dreamworks' Steven Spielberg, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci will all serve in a production capacity, while the current draft of the script should provide some familiar territory for Downey Jr, having been written by Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus, contributors to the Iron Man script.

Their draft follows efforts by X2 writer David Hayter, Sahara scribes Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer, and a rendition from Jeffrey Boam, writer of The Lost Boys, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the second and third Lethal Weapon films.

Starring in the graphic novel adaptation would see Downey Jr celebrating his career resurrection, having rebounded from substance abuse issues and infamous brushes with the law to personal rehabilitation and taking the lead role in Iron Man, a $500 million (£250 million) box office smash.

Downey Jr will next be seen alongside Ben Stiller and Jack Black in comedy Tropic Thunder, before starring with Jamie Foxx and Catherine Keener in The Soloist, a new drama from Atonement director Joe Wright.

16/06/2008 09:17:15