After the blockbuster success of “Extraction,” which they produced and was released earlier this year, Joe and Anthony Russo are sticking with Netflix for their next directorial effort. The project is titled “The Gray Man,” which Deadline describes as a “James Bond-level franchise-starter” with “a budget upwards of $200 million.” That price tag will make “The Gray Man” the most expensive Netflix original movie to date. The movie comes attached with two big stars: Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, the latter of whom knows the Russo brothers quite well after starring in several of their “Captain America” and “Avengers” movies.
“The Gray Man” is a Marvel reunion for the Russo brothers not just because of star Chris Evans but also because of “Avengers” screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who have given Joe Russo’s original “Gray Man” script a polish. The Russo brothers will produce the movie through their AGBO company. Netflix had great success with the AGBO-produced action movie “Extraction” earlier this year. The Chris Hemsworth-starring tentpole earned 99 million views in four weeks to become the biggest Netflix original film debut in the streamer’s history.
Based on a 2009 novel by author Mark Greaney, “The Gray Man” centers on “a deadly duel between killers as freelance assassin Gentry (Gosling) is hunted across the globe by Lloyd Hansen (Evans), a former cohort of Gentry’s at the CIA.” The movie is being set up as a new Netflix action franchise for Gosling, who is expected to play Gentry in follow-up sequels.
“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 it with Gosling and Evans is a dream for us,” added 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.”
Production on “The Gray Man” is eyeing a January 2021 start date.