Marvel Cinematic Universe directors The Russo Brothers are bringing their talents back to the real world. And they aren’t doing it cheaply: The Hollywood duo has teamed up with Netflix for the platform’s most expensive film, The Gray Man. What’s more, the brothers have brought on both Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans for the starring roles.
As Deadline reports, Joe Russo will provide a script based on Mark Greaney’s 2009 novel of the same name. The Gray Man focuses on ex-CIA operative Court Gentry, a.k.a. “The Gray Man” (Gosling), and his efforts to elude capture by a former co-worker Lloyd Hansen (Evans).
Netflix is providing the Avengers directors with a substantial production budget of approximately $200 million dollars (!). The company hopes that the action-packed Gray Man will serve as a successful launching pad for a new “Bond”-esque franchise featuring Gosling in multiple subsequent films.
In a statement, Anthony Russo described The Gray Man as 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.” Noting how he intends to apply the template for his Marvel films to a real-life setting, he continued, “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.”
Joe echoed his brother’s comments in a lengthier statement of his own,
“The intention is for it to be competitive with any theatrical and the ability to do it 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. 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 character 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.”
Since Greaney’s novel hit bookshelves some 10 years ago, actors like Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron had been attached to various film adaptations that never came to fruition. It doesn’t appear The Russo Brothers will run into that same problem, considering the significant backing (and cash flow) from Netflix. Production on The Gray Man is expected to begin as early as January 2021, though the ongoing pandemic could potentially derail those plans.
In related news, Gosling is suiting up to play Wolfman in Universal’s new reboot. That project will be helmed by Invisible Man director Leigh Whannell and produced by Blumhouse’s own Jason Blum. As for Evans, Captain America himself recently commended a heroic young boy who saved his sister from a vicious dog attack.
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