DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Fresh from an earnings report that saw it add 10 million subscribers during the pandemic, Netflix has just set its most financially ambitious feature film so far. Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans are set to star in The Gray Man, with AGBO’s Joe & Anthony Russo directing their first blockbuster since setting the all-time global box office record with Avengers: Endgame two years ago. The intention here is to create a new franchise with a James Bond level of scale and a budget upward of $200 million.
The Russos’ AGBO is producing, and the script was written by Joe Russo, with a polish by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who scripted the Russo-directed Captain America and Avengers films and who are Co-Presidents of Story at AGBO. It is based on the 2009 Mark Greaney novel that introduced the Gray Man, a freelance assassin and former CIA operative named Court Gentry.
The film will be produced by AGBO’s Russo Brothers and Mike Larocca, along with Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum for Roth Kirschenbaum. They are eyeing a January start date in Los Angeles with international locations being finalized.
The action thriller is a deadly duel between killers as Gentry (Gosling) is hunted across the globe by Lloyd Hansen (Evans), a former cohort of Gentry’s at the CIA. The Gray Man turned into a bestselling book series, and the expectation is that Gosling will continue in multiple installments. The project was developed years back at New Regency as a Brad Pitt/James Gray vehicle, but it stalled. The Russos quietly have been developing it for years.
“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.”
Said Joe Russo on the film’s scale: “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. 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.”
This is a lot of faith Netflix is placing on the Russo Brothers, but aside from the Avengers box office record, the AGBO-produced action film Extraction with Chris Hemsworth, Golshifteh Farahani and Randeep Hooda became the most watched Netflix original movie of all time. A sequel is in the works with Sam Hargrave returning as director and Joe Russo writing the script.
The Russo Brothers formed AGBO to be a platform-agnostic storytelling production venture, but if The Gray Man works, this will give them two franchises at Netflix, each based on original IP. They are back in business with Evans, who like Hemsworth graced the four Marvel movies, and they are working with Gosling for the first time.
CAA reps the Russo Brothers, Gosling and Evans, and the latter is managed by 3 Arts.
VARIETY – Paramount has dated Chris Evans’ past-lives drama “Infinite” for Aug. 7, 2020.
The studio has also moved Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America” sequel off that date and back four months to Dec. 18, 2020. That holiday date had been occupied by James Cameron’s “Avatar 2,” but Disney announced on Tuesday that the sequel was moving back a year.
Antoine Fuqua is directing “Infinite,” produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian at Di Bonaventura Pictures, and John Zaozirny. John Lee Hancock and Ian Shorr are adapting D. Eric Maikranz’s novel “The Reincarnationist Papers,” which is centered on the Cognomina, a secret society of people who possess total recall of their past lives. A troubled young man haunted by memories of two past lives stumbles upon the centuries-old secret society.
Earlier this year, Paramount had set the Aug. 7, 2020, for its untitled sequel to the 1988 Murphy comedy “Coming to America.” The studio hired “Hustle & Flow” helmer Craig Brewer to direct the project.
The original movie was directed by John Landis, with Murphy playing a charming African prince who traveled to New York City to escape an arranged marriage. Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley and John Amos co-starred in “Coming to America,” which was a major hit, grossing nearly $300 million at the worldwide box office.
Brewer and Murphy recently worked together on “Dolemite Is My Name” for Netflix, about comedian Rudy Ray Moore.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Chris Evans is plotting his post-Avengers future.
Evans is in talks to join the Antoine Fuqua thriller Immortal, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The Paramount film is an adaptation of the 2009 novel The Reincarnationist Papers, from author D. Eric Maikranz. The film adaptation is written by Ian Shorr, whose script centers on a group of near-immortal men and women who are reincarnated over the centuries and known as “the Infinite.” To defeat an evil mastermind who wants to destroy the planet, the group must rely on a man who suffers from schizophrenia and will have to learn that all his vivid dreams are actually memories from past lives, in order to defeat the villain.
Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing with Mark Vahradian. John Zaozirny at Bellevue Productions is also producing. Rafi Crohn will executive produce.
Evans has spent much of the past decade years playing Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. April’s Avengers: Endgame is expected to be his last time to pick up the shield.
“Playing this role over the last 8 years has been an honor. To everyone in front of the camera, behind the camera, and in the audience, thank you for the memories! Eternally grateful,” Evans tweeted in October as Endgame wrapped.
In between his time in the MCU, Evans also made his directorial debut with 2014’s Before We Go, and starred in the post-apocalyptic film Snowpiercer and the 2017 drama Gifted.
Evans is repped by CAA.
DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: As one door seemingly closes, another looks to be opening. I understand from sources that Captain America star Chris Evans is joining Daniel Craig in Rian Johnson’s red-hot murder mystery movie Knives Out.
The casting bolsters the project’s status as one of the hottest in the works at the moment and follows MRC’s big money deal for it out of Toronto. As we previously broke, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Johnson, who wrote the script and is producing with partner Ram Bergman, will make the movie before directing a new trilogy in the Star Wars universe.
Plot details on the film are largely being kept under wraps but the pic will likely shoot this year, meaning Craig will shoot it before Bond 25. It is understood to be a modern day murder mystery in the classic whodunit style.
The project is timely for Evans on the day that speculation is in overdrive about him hanging up his Captain America shield after playing the Marvel stalwart since 2011. Anthony and Joe Russo’s latest installment in the Avengers franchise will hit next year. The in-demand actor also has thriller The Red Sea Diving Resort coming up and he was set for Neill Blomkamp’s Greenland during Cannes. Knives Out is expected to be his next movie.
Evans is repped by CAA, 3 Arts and Meyer & Downs.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – The ‘Captain America’ star will return to television after filming the final ‘Avengers’ film.
Add Chris Evans to the list of feature film stars headed for television.
The Captain America star will topline and executive produce the crime drama Defending Jacob, which has landed a straight-to-series order at Apple.
Based on William Landay’s 2012 New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, the project — which is being billed as a limited series — revolves around Andy Barber, an assistant district attorney who investigates the slaying of a 14-year-old boy and discovers his teenage son is a suspect. The character-driven thriller will run for eight episodes.
Mark Bomback (the Planet of the Apes trilogy) created the TV take and will pen the script, exec produce and serve as showrunner. The drama hails from Paramount Television and Anonymous Content. Rosalie Swedlin and Adam Shulman will exec produce for Anonymous Content, while Oscar nominee Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game, TV’s Counterpart, Jack Ryan) will exec produce and direct the series.
Defending Jacob marks Evans’ first TV role in nearly two decades. His only other series regular role was on the Fox dramedy Opposite Sex, which ran for one season (eight episodes) in the summer of 2000. The actor next will reprise his role as Captain America in Marvel’s final Avengers feature, which will be his last time playing the iconic superhero. He recently starred on Broadway in Lobby Hero and is primed to begin production on the feature The Devil All the Time. Evans is repped by CAA, 3 Arts and attorney Jason Sloane.
For Apple, Defending Jacob becomes the tech behemoth’s latest scripted foray. It joins a roster of scripted originals including Amazing Stories, Are You Sleeping, Calls, Central Park, Dickinson, Little America, Little Voice, See and the untitled Jennifer Aniston-Reese Witherspoon morning show drama, as well as entries from Damien Chazelle, M. Night Shymalan and more. Still to be determined is when — and specifically how — Apple will unspool its rapidly growing roster of high-profile projects.
Defending Jacob is Apple’s latest buy from Paramount TV, joining the Jon M. Chu-directed Hilde Lysiak drama and the international fantasy drama Shantaram. The studio, which recently replaced ousted president Amy Powell with Nicole Clemens, has multiple series set at every streaming outlet, including Netflix (13 Reasons Why), Hulu (Catch-22) and Amazon (Jack Ryan), among others. The studio has a long-running deal with Anonymous Content, which is where Clemens was prior to being tapped to replace Powell.
DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a sexy project making its way into the market to liven up a Sunday. Avengers and Captain America franchise star Chris Evans has been set to lead disaster thriller Greenland, the latest from District 9 helmer Neill Blomkamp. Fast-emerging outfit Anton is producing alongside Thunder Road Pictures’ Basil Iwanyk. Anton is co-financing with Riverstone Pictures. STXinternational is handling overseas distribution, presenting the project to buyers here, and will directly distribute in the UK and Ireland. CAA Media Finance arranged the financing and will rep domestic rights alongside Endeavor Content.
Details on Greenland’s plot are being kept close to the vest. It’s the story of a family’s fight for survival in the face of a cataclysmic natural disaster. Principal photography is set for the last quarter of 2018.
Anton’s Sébastien Raybaud and Harold van Lier are executive producing with Riverstone’s Nik Bower and Deepak Nayar. Thunder Road developed the picture with Riverstone and UK financier Ingenious Media.
“When we read Greenland, we knew it was exactly the sort of film we wanted to make as we build the Anton brand — smart, character driven genre with action and heart. We are very excited to work alongside our friends at STX with such exceptional talent as Neill Blomkamp, Chris Evans and Basil Iwanyk,” says Raybaud, CEO of Anton.
David Kosse, President of STXinternational, adds, “Greenland is the kind of highly commercial genre fare that sees Neill Blomkamp doing what he does best: delivering a smart, fresh, high concept narrative in a world we can easily recognize. We were immediately attracted to this talent-driven, wide release, theatrical title that is so distinctive of the STX brand. Working alongside Neill, Thunder Road, Riverstone and Anton to bring this to the marketplace is a tremendous opportunity.”
Evans is currently on screens in Disney/Marvel juggernaut Avengers: Infinity War which has grossed over $1.4B worldwide and counting. Of late, he’s also been expanding his creative range, making his directorial debut with drama Before We Go and upcoming has Gideon Raff’s The Red Sea Diving Resort, which STXinternational is also repping. He’s also currently on Broadway with a critically lauded turn in Lobby Hero.
Blomkamp shot to international acclaim as the co-writer and director of the groundbreaking sci-fi pic District 9, for which he was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. His following films, Elysium starring Matt Damon and Chappie starring Hugh Jackman and Dev Patel, grossed over $388M combined.
Greenland is a hot project for the STXinternational slate which has blossomed since the division launched under Kosse in 2016. Upcoming releases include Baltasar Kormakur’s Adrift starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin (also co-financed by Ingenious) in June; and Mile 22 from director Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, and The Happytime Murders starring Melissa McCarthy, both in August.
Kosse says, “The recent reaction at CinemaCon to our current slate was a wonderful validation of the choices we make when investing in our films and filmmakers. There are only a handful of truly great films available for the international marketplace and STX is consistently managing to be a destination company for those films — both our own in-house productions and titles we represent. We came away from Cannes last year handling one of the most valuable titles in All the Money In The World and this year is looking equally rewarding.”
Anton has backed hits like the Paddington franchise and Shaun The Sheep, and is expanding rapidly into high-end TV dramas through its partnership with BBC Studio backing shows such as McMafia. It is also lead financing and selling Fireheart, the next animated project from the producers of Ballerina and Untouchables.
Evans is repped by CAA, 3 Arts Entertainment, Narrative PR and attorney Jason Sloane. Blomkamp is repped by WME and Gendler & Kelly.
Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston Of Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” Headline ACE Comic Con Seattle
Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), and Tom Hiddleston (Loki), stars of the worldwide hit Avengers film franchise, are headlining ACE Comic Con Seattle, June 22-23-24 at the WaMu Theater & CenturyLink Field Event Center. Additional guests will be announced soon. VIP Admissions, Photo Ops, Autographs, and General Admission tickets go on sale Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 10am Pacific Time via www.aceuniverse.com.
ACE Comic Cons are produced by ACE Universe, a multimedia and experiential events company representing the Voice of The Superhero Generation. Created by brothers Gareb and Stephen Shamus, who have over 20 years of experience and 175 Comic Con shows under their belts, ACE is redefining the entire Comic Con industry and business. ACE Comic Con Seattle is the next installment of the already successful ACE Comic Con brand. Prior events featured such global icons as Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Henry Cavill (Superman), Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Stan Lee (Marvel), and many more.
“We are excited to bring the Seattle and Pacific Northwest fans the premium-level event they deserve,” says Gareb Shamus, ACE Universe CEO. “ACE’s goal is to deliver a Comic Con experience worthy of fans who live in a virtual and digital universe. ACE Comic Con Seattle will feature celebrity interviews, multi-staged interactive workshops, and presentations by top creators from writers and show-runners, to costume designers and special effects artists.”
“This is the best guest list the Pacific Northwest has ever seen,” says Stephen Shamus, ACE Comic Con President. “To have Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Tom Hiddleston – three global superstars – while the multi-billion dollar Avengers film franchise continues to smash box office records – is an absolute coup for the fans of Seattle, and followers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We will be announcing more guests shortly.” ACE Universe has partnered with major players across key categories including technology, media, entertainment, gaming, publishing, manufacturing, licensing, and retailing to create the most immersive, robust experience for its audience.”
Stay tuned as ACE Universe will announce additional 2018 dates, cities and ticket information at www.aceuniverse.com and on the ACE Comic Con social channels at Facebook.com/acecomiccon or @acecomiccon on Instagram and Twitter.
EW – The wait for Avengers: Infinity War just got shorter by one week, at least in North America.
The movie was set to open May 4 here, while it was opening April 27 in most international markets (with a few earlier April 25 debuts in a handful of countries). Sources at Marvel Studios and Disney tell EW they decided to change course and open the movie worldwide on the same date.
They did so via a little exchange with Tony Stark.
That’s a FANTASTIC idea! Done.
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) March 1, 2018
VANITY FAIR – On a sweltering October weekend, the largest-ever group of Marvel superheroes and friends gathered just outside of Atlanta for a top-secret assignment. Eighty-three of the famous faces who have brought Marvel’s comic-book characters to life over the past decade mixed and mingled—Mark Ruffalo, who plays the Hulk, bonded with Vin Diesel, the voice of Groot, the monosyllabic sapling from Guardians of the Galaxy. Angela Bassett, mother to Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, flew through hurricane-like conditions to report for duty alongside Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brie Larson, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Laurence Fishburne, and Stan Lee, the celebrated comic-book writer and co-creator of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men.
Their mission: to strike a heroic pose to commemorate 10 years of unprecedented moviemaking success. Marvel Studios, which kicked things off with Iron Man in 2008, has released 17 films that collectively have grossed more than $13 billion at the global box office; 5 more movies are due out in the next two years. The sprawling franchise has resuscitated careers (Downey), has minted new stars (Tom Hiddleston), and increasingly attracts an impressive range of A-list talent, from art-house favorites (Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange) to Hollywood icons (Anthony Hopkins and Robert Redford) to at least three handsome guys named Chris (Hemsworth, Evans, and Pratt). The wattage at the photo shoot was so high that Ant-Man star Michael Douglas—Michael Douglas!—was collecting autographs. (Photographer Jason Bell shot Vanity Fair’s own Marvel portfolio shortly afterward.)
But it wasn’t Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury or even Chris Evans’s Captain America who assembled Earth’s mightiest heroes. They came for Kevin Feige, the unassuming man in a black baseball cap who took Marvel Studios from an underdog endeavor with a roster of B-list characters to a cinematic empire that is the envy of every other studio in town. Feige’s innovative, comic-book-based approach to blockbuster moviemaking—having heroes from one film bleed into the next—has changed not only the way movies are made but also pop culture at large. Fans can’t get enough of a world where space-hopping Guardians of the Galaxy might turn up alongside earthbound Avengers, or Doctor Strange and Black Panther could cross paths via a mind-bending rift in the space-time continuum. Other studios, most notably Warner Bros., with the Justice League, have tried to create their own web of interconnected characters. Why have so many failed to achieve Marvel’s heights? “Simple,” said Joe Russo, co-director of Avengers 3 and 4. “They don’t have a Kevin.”
Before Feige, Marvel Studios wasn’t even making its own films. Created in 1993 as Marvel Films, the movie arm of the comics company simply licensed its characters to other studios, earning most of its money from merchandise sales. (The popular 2002 Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man movie, for example, was made by Sony’s Columbia Pictures.) Feige was part of the team that pushed for the studio to take full creative control of its library of beloved characters, a risky move at the time. “For us old-timers—me and Robert [Downey] and Gwyneth [Paltrow] and Kevin—it felt like we were the upper-classmen,” Jon Favreau, director of the first two Iron Man movies, told me shortly after the photo shoot. “We were emotional . . . thinking about how precarious it all felt in the beginning.”
The nominations for this year’s Teen Choice Awards have been released. Chris is nominated for #ChoiceDramaMovieActor for his role in Gifted and the film as well is nominated for #ChoiceDramaMovie! Head over to teenchoice.votenow.tv to vote!
— Teen Choice Awards (@TeenChoiceFOX) June 20, 2017
— Teen Choice Awards (@TeenChoiceFOX) June 20, 2017