Netflix is making one of its biggest movies ever, in collaboration with Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo – The Gray Man, a spy thriller starring Ryan Gosling, Ana De Armas and Chris Evans. Now, the directors have revealed that Evans is playing a villain in the movie, and that it'll shoot in March 2021 – Covid-19 permitting.
Based on the books by author Mark Greaney that started back in 2009, The Gray Man will reportedly cost more than $200 million – which a Deadline report last year called the biggest budget Netflix has ever committed to a movie.
"We start shooting it in March," Anthony Russo said in a recent podcast. "We're really excited. It's a spy thriller, and yeah, we're just raring to go on it. We've been pushing the start date a bit because of Covid, waiting for a safer window, but hopefully we can get going in March.
Gosling will play the books' protagonist, an ex-CIA agent named Court Gentry, which Evans plays a former co-worker hunting him down.
Joe Russo invoked James Bond when discussing the movie's vibe. "It's like a modern interpretation of a spy thriller," says Joe Russo. "Bond is another franchise we grew up on, and this is our opportunity to play in the spy sandbox. We love infusing these big pop culture films with modern thematics and modern politics, so there's a lot of issues wrapped up in the movie about what's going on in the world today, and how espionage plays a role in that."
The duo have previously compared the film to their first MCU picture, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but in "more of a real-world setting".
The Russos were asked if Chris Evans was going to wear his infamous jumper from Knives Out in this movie. "He's gonna wear some crazy shit in this one. He's a really unique character, and this is Evans as a villain, and it's a really interesting character. And he's going to get to flex quite a lot in this role."
The Gray Man's script was written by Joe Russo, with Avengers collaborators Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely also working on the film.
Netflix sets its eye on blockbusters
Netflix previously worked with the Russo brothers on Extraction with Chris Hemsworth – which reportedly cost $65 million. The Gray Man, by comparison, is a much bigger deal, with around triple the budget according to early reports. We're expecting something that looks closer to a summer blockbuster.
Netflix has made big blockbuster-sized movies before, however, with Michael Bay's 6 Underground ($150 million) showing that the streamer is prepared to spend big on individual projects.
Indeed, 2021 will bring some of its biggest movies yet – including Adam McKay's Don't Look Up, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio, though that's more likely to be an awards contender than a blockbuster-type movie.
Red Notice, a comedy-tinged heist movie starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds coming later this year, will also cost around $160 million according to a Variety report.
Netflix, then, isn't afraid on taking a massive punt to compete with its Hollywood rivals.