Netflix is moving ahead with one of their biggest feature film projects yet.
Prepare yourself for The Gray Man, a big action-thriller blockbuster that’s reportedly coming to life with a cost of over $US200 million – the most the streamer has forked out on a film’s budget so far. Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans are set to star in the film, with Marvel directors Joe and Anthony Russo on board to direct.
Deadline broke the news, reporting that the film is to be based on a 2009 Mark Greaney novel of the same name that follows a freelance assassin and former CIA operative named Court Gentry, who’ll be played by Gosling. The plot finds Gentry being hunted across the globe by a former CIA cohort, Lloyd Hanse, played by Evans. Joe Russo penned the screenplay, with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely giving it a polish.
“The movie is a real mano a mano between those two great actors who represent two different versions of the CIA, in what it can be, and what it can do,” Anthony Russo said to Deadline. “For those who were fans of Captain America: Winter Soldier, this is us moving into that territory in more of a real-world setting. That’s what this movie really means for us.”
Said Joe Russo: “The idea is to create a franchise and build out a whole universe, with Ryan at the center of it. We have all committed to the first movie, and that’s got to be great to get us to the second movie. These are master assassins, and Gosling’s characters gets burned by the CIA and Evans’ character has to hunt him down.”
As Joe Russo said, the plan is for The Gray Man to start a Gosling-led franchise, a proposition Netflix is clearly confident on. The streamer had a big hit with the recent Joe Russo-scripted/Russos-produced Chris Hemsworth action movie Extraction, which is also shaping into a franchise with a follow-up film now in the works.
As of now, the Los Angeles shoot of The Gray Man‘s production is expected to get underway in January, with other international locations still being finalised. With the pandemic still affecting a number of countries, in particular the US, you can imagine the production will have to ensure a number of fall-back plans are in place – just in case.
The Russos recently wrapped their first post Avengers: Endgame effort as directors, indie film Cherry, a drama starring Tom Holland as a man who robs banks and self medicates to deal with PTSD. They’re also developing a live-action Hercules remake at Disney.