EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros. and Team Downey have set Oscar-nominated scribe Terry Rossio to write Yucatan, a potential star vehicle for Robert Downey Jr that is based on a 1700-page treatment written by iconic actor Steve McQueen in the late 1960s as a star vehicle for himself. Rossio’s credits include the Pirates Of The Caribbean series, Mask Of Zorro, and Deja Vu.

yucatanMcQueen’s detailed template for the movie was found in two leather-bound trunks after his death. His vision involved a renegade salvage expert’s search for Mayan treasure in the Yucatan Peninsula. The updated plot is under wraps, but Rossio and Downey Jr. are using the original premise as a jumping-off point for a mind-bending adventure story. Susan Downey is producing with RDJ and David Gambino, along with Dan Lin from Lin Pictures. Scribe Anthony Peckham previously took a run at Yucatan.

stevemcqueeTD_logo_lockupYucatan continues Team Downey’s focus on generating films with strong characters, most recently showcased in The Judge, the David Dobkin-directed drama that stars Downey and Robert Duvall. Also at Warners, Team Downey is developing Pinocchio, Perry Mason and the third installment of the Sherlock Holmes franchise. They are also percolating the series TC-83 at Sony, with Showtime recently signing on. Chad McQueen and Lance Sloane are exec producers on Yucatan, and Warner Bros execs Jon Berg and Jon Gonda are overseeing with Team Downey’s Gambino and Rob Hackett.

“To imbue a McQueen project with a sense of how he might have made it nowadays is a challenge and a thrill,” Downey said in a statement. “Rossio is more than a great writer, he’s the perfect fit to embrace the existential nature of the project with the action, story and characters that drive Yucatan.”

Rossio and Downey are repped by CAA.