Hollywood hunks Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans are set to star in the Netflix blockbuster The Gray Man, which will be the next movie from the Russo brothers.
Joe Russo adapted Mark Greaney‘s 2009 novel with an assist from Avengers scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Netflix has committed to a budget north of $200 million and hopes to launch a new franchise boasting a James Bond-level of scale according to Deadline, which broke the news.
The action thriller follows a former CIA operative turned freelance assassin named Court Gentry, who is also known as the Gray Man. Gosling will play Gentry, who is hunted across the globe by his former CIA cohort Lloyd Hansen (Evans).
Though Deadline claims that The Gray Man will be the most expensive Netflix movie ever made, I posit that it will be the most expensive film the streamer has ever greenlit, as multiple sources have indicated that the true cost of The Irishman was closer to $250 million, even if Netflix initially agreed to a budget of $180 million or so. Still, there’s no doubt that The Gray Man is an ambitious effort for the streaming service, which no doubt had to buy out the backend deals for Gosling, Evans and the Russos.
The Russo will produce under their AGBO banner along with Mike Larocca, as well as Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum. They are hoping to start production in January in Los Angeles, though there will be plenty of international locations featured in the globe-trotting film.
“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,” Joe Russo told Deadline. “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.”
The Russo brothers recently produced the Chris Hemsworth action movie Extraction for Netflix, which quickly became the most-watched original movie in the streamer’s history. Joe Russo is hard at work writing the sequel, which will once again be directed by Sam Hargrave. They’re also in business with Netflix on an adaptation of Exit West that will star Riz Ahmed and be produced in conjunction with Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions.
Next up for the Russos is the indie drama Cherry starring Tom Holland as a young bank robber with PTSD. That film is currently being shopped for distribution. AGBO is also developing the global thriller series Citadel for Amazon, which will star Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra, as well as a live-action version of Hercules at Disney.