Netflix is going all in on its latest blockbuster original movie, and it’s hoped that it’ll spawn a major franchise. Today it was announced that the streaming giant is moving forward with The Gray Man, starring two of Hollywood’s finest, Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling, and directed by Avengers: Endgame helmers Joe and Anthony Russo.
Marvel fans will immediately note that this marks a reunion between the Captain America star and the filmmakers, who are also producing under their AGBO production label. Joe Russo wrote the script as well, which was given a polish by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who penned Endgame and all the Russos’ previous Marvel movies.
The Gray Man is based on a 2009 novel by Mark Greaney and follows Court Gentry, a freelance assassin and former CIA operative known professionally as the Gray Man. In Deadline’s report which broke the news, it’s said that Netflix is investing upwards of $200 million into the movie, which would make it their most expensive original yet.
The reason why the company is throwing so much money at it is because they have hopes of starting a new franchise that could rival James Bond in terms of scale and spy action. Gosling will star as the eponymous Gray Man, with Evans playing his nemesis Lloyd Hansen, Gentry’s former cohort who’s now hunting him across the globe. Evans may not return for the sequels, but the expectation is that Gosling will stick around for several more.
“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 told 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.”
“The intention is for it to be competitive with any theatrical and the ability to do with with Gosling and Evans is a dream for us. The idea is to create a franchise and build out a whole universe, with Ryan at the center of it,” Joe Russo elaborated, about their plans. “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. We have a great working relationship with Netflix, and we go back almost 20 years with Scott Stuber. We formed AGBO to be an agnostic storytelling company, where we figure out the best platform. We think Netflix is the perfect place for this film.”
The Gray Man is eyeing a January 2021 production start in Los Angeles, with international locations currently being scouted. And as soon as we learn more about this exciting new Netflix project, we’ll be sure to let you know.