Three years ago, in July 2016, we learned that Jessica Chastain would be joining Jake Gyllenhaal in a film based on the popular Ubisoft video game The Division. Two of my favorite actors teaming up for a post-apocalyptic action-thriller? I was pretty excited, to say the least. Two years later, in April 2018, David Leitch (Deadpool 2) signed on to direct, bolstering my anticipation. But since then, it’s been totally quiet… until now.
Earlier today at E3, Ubisoft announced that Netflix has acquired The Division, and as we all know, the streamer picks up projects to make them, not develop them. Now, this is not a low-budget movie, but neither was Bright or Michael Bay‘s upcoming Six Underground starring Ryan Reynolds. Netflix seems willing to take one or two big swings a year, and I can see The Division being the Six Underground of 2020.
The Division is set in the near future where a pandemic virus is spread via paper money on Black Friday, decimating the city of New York and killing millions. By Christmas, what’s left of society has descended into chaos. A group of civilians, trained to operate in catastrophic times, are activated in an attempt to save who and what remains. It sounds pretty interesting, especially with two top-tier actors aboard.
Rafe Judkins has been tapped to write the script, and he’s the scribe Amazon has entrusted to created its upcoming series Wheel of Time, based on the acclaimed fantasy novels. In addition to starring, Gyllenhaal and Chastain will produce via their respective companies Nine Stories and Freckle Films, which will be joined by Leitch’s 87North Productions and Ubisoft Film and Television.
At launch, The Division quickly became the fastest-selling new IP in video game history, and it currently boasts more than 20 million players. The Division 2 launched in March 2019 to critical acclaim, and continues to provide players with new content on an ongoing basis.
Leitch is the director of Deadpool 2, Atomic Blonde and the upcoming Hobbs & Shaw movie starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. That film hits theaters on Aug. 2, arriving exactly one month after Spider-Man: Far from Home, which co-stars Gyllenhaal as Mysterio. As for Chastain’s recent turn in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the less said, the better.