Category: News

Spy Film ‘355’ Scores Big Deal With French Distributor SND

Spy Film ‘355’ Scores Big Deal With French Distributor SND

DEADLINE – The all-star spy thriller 355 has scored its first major territorial deal, with FilmNation Entertainment and CAA Media Finance Group setting a whopping deal in France with SND this evening.

That deal was made before tomorrow’s affair at the Cannes Majestic where director Simon Kinberg will be on hand with Jessica ChastainMarion CotillardPenelope CruzFan Bingbing and Lupita Nyong’o to discuss their ambition for the spy ensemble, before a crowd of international and domestic buyers. Deadline revealed the project last week and this week placed it atop the most anticipated list of star packages unveiled at the Cannes Market.

SND was particularly passionate and aggressive and the filmmakers decided, why wait to make the first deal?

As Deadline reported last week, the film has a script by Theresa Rebeck and the hope is to launch a franchise based on an idea by Chastain to construct aBourne Identity-like thriller revolving around five accomplished secret agents from countries around the world. They have to overcome suspicions and political differences to form a spy sisterhood to thwart a common enemy.

When Chastain described her idea to Kinberg while they worked together on X-Men: Dark Phoenix, he said yes immediately, and the actresses followed suit and agreed to come to Cannes tomorrow (Cruz is already here for the opening night film Everybody Knows, which sold to Focus Features). FilmNation is selling international and CAA Media Finance Group is selling North American and Chinese distribution rights. Freckle Films’ Chastain and Kelly Carmichael are producing with Kinberg and his Kinberg Genre banner.

Chastain wove some of the spy craft she learned starring in Zero Dark Thirty, and she has brought in some intelligence experts to inject cutting edge technology to help shape the narrative. That inside baseball stuff included the title, which was the code name of the first female spy in the American Revolution and became jargon for a female intelligence agent. It certainly feels like the filmmakers will be going home with a slew of deals on this one.

Jessica Chastain star in a spy movie with Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing and Lupita Nyong

Jessica Chastain star in a spy movie with Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing and Lupita Nyong

DEADLINE –  Hard to imagine there will be a hotter film package unveiled at Cannes next week than 355, a large-scale espionage film that Simon Kinberg will direct with an all-star international spy cast of Jessica ChastainMarion CotillardPenelope CruzFan Bingbing and Lupita Nyong’o. They’ll play international agents in a grounded, edgy action thriller that aims to alter a male-dominated genre with a true female ensemble, in the style of spy franchises The Bourne Identity, Mission: Impossible and James Bond. The script is by Theresa Rebeck. The hope is to launch a franchise.

The actresses will be on hand with Kinberg next week to pitch their vision to international buyers at the Majestic Hotel on the Croisette. FilmNation Entertainment will sell international and CAA Media Finance Group will rep North American and Chinese distribution rights. Freckle Films’ Chastain and Kelly Carmichael are producing with Kinberg and his Kinberg Genre banner.

Kinberg just directed and Chastain starred in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. The idea for 355 came from Chastain, and she pitched it to him while they worked on that superhero film on which Kinberg made his feature directing debut. It didn’t take long for Chastain to get commitments from the filmmaker, and the actresses.

I had so much fun working on The Help that I always wanted to do another female ensemble film,” Chastain told Deadline. “I love the Bourne movies, the Mission: Impossible films, and wondered why, except for Charlie’s Angels, there hadn’t been a true female ensemble action-thriller spy film. That got my wheels going, along with the idea of casting actresses from all over the world to truly make it an international project. I realized the incredible creative freedom we would have with that. I brought the idea to Simon, told him about the actresses I was thinking of, and he was so sweet. He said, ‘I want to do it with you.’

Then I called all the women, told them what I was envisioning and that I wanted it to be a collaborative process, and how we would all create this together,Chastain said. “The one thing that felt important is that we all show up at Cannes, because that would be the beginning of our journey together. Every single actress I called said yes, on the phone call. They committed to Cannes and to everything. So far it has been a very wonderfully easy process.

Beyond The Help, the project that most helped inform Chastain’s appetite for espionage was Zero Dark Thirty, for which she also was Oscar-nominated. Through that research, Chastain found the film’s title.

When I was preparing for Zero Dark Thirty, I had incredible resources working in the CIA I got to learn from,” she said. “We have a consultant in our film that has a lot of knowledge in espionage. This title came from one of the conversations I had with him. Agent 355 was the code name of a female spy during the American Revolution. She was one of the very first spies for the United States, and her identity is still unknown. For a lot of women who work in the CIA and other organizations like that, Code 355 is a universal slang term for female spy. It’s the invisible woman who was never named.

Kinberg said that tonally, the Bourne franchise is the touchstone, only here the agents will be women, and they will share the screen equally.

It won’t be as hyperbolic as some franchises, and unlike the other films that revolve around one main character, the goal here is the true ensemble, all these characters who have their own distinct traits, histories — fully formed and complex characters with equal weight in the film. That’s unique, as is having all female spies. We are digging into the reality of spy craft today. There are all kinds of things that seem out of a James Bond or even a sci-fi movie, but the technology is so advanced that it’s real. Having someone who knows that reality informing the script has been really helpful.

The film involves these top agents from organizations around the world uniting to stop a global organization from acquiring a weapon that could plunge an already unstable world into total chaos. They have to overcome cultural and political differences to form a bond and work together.

What we can say is, they come up against an organization larger than the established spy organizations we’ve known up to this point,” said Kinberg, long the creative spine of the X-Men franchise and who’s separately writing and producing a Star Wars film. “We are hoping to create a franchise with this, and the first film will be the agents coming together.

While the cast creates the opportunity for glamour to go along with the global locations and action set pieces, this will not be some campy outing. Those Zero Dark Thirty experiences with Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal set Chastain’s bar for reality very high.

It’s a film and not a documentary, but our goal is to make this action spy thriller as authentic as we can, with as much trade craft as we can,” she said. “So when people in these organizations, in the CIA or MI6 around the world see the film, my goal is they will say, ‘Wow, this is pretty authentic. They got it.’ That was the thing I loved the most in making Zero Dark Thirty.

The other thing that was important was to broaden the opportunities and expectations for women in this #MeToo moment, something that means a great deal to Chastain and her co-stars.

The action genre has long been dominated by male heroes, and it’s so exciting to be part of a film that will allow for not just one female action hero but a whole ensemble of very capable, fierce female characters that reject tired stereotypes,” she said. “Characters that liberate from the confines of stereotypical traits. That is something that excited me about this, the opportunity to create different types of female heroes.

Kinberg is repped by CAA and attorney Karl Austen; Chastain is CAA, Mosaic and Hansen Jacobson; Cotillard is CAA and Adequat; Cruz is CAA, Untitled and Kuranda Management; Bingbing is CAA and Nyong’o is CAA and Del Shaw.

Jake Gyllenhaal And Jessica Chastain To Star In ‘The Division’ From ‘Atomic Blonde’ Director David Leitch

Jake Gyllenhaal And Jessica Chastain To Star In ‘The Division’ From ‘Atomic Blonde’ Director David Leitch

Variety – “Deadpool 2” director David Leitch has set his sights on his next project, signing on to helm Ubisoft’s “The Division” movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain.

The news comes just months after it was announced that he’s also on board to direct the “Fast and Furious” spinoff starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham. Sources stress that the Universal spinoff will shoot first, as that film is already set to go into production this fall, and the hope is that Leitch would move on to prep “The Division” some time in 2019.

“Gold” director Stephen Gaghan was previously attached to helm the video game adaptation, but has since left the project.

Leitch’s producing partner, Kelly McCormick, will produce along with Leitch through their 87Eleven banner, as well as Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker of Nine Stories and Chastain and Kelly Carmichael of Freckle Films alongside Ubisoft Motion Pictures.

Based on the best-selling video game, the story is set in a near future where a pandemic virus is spread via paper money on Black Friday, decimating New York City and killing millions. By Christmas, what’s left of society has descended into chaos. A group of civilians, trained to operate in catastrophic times, is activated in an attempt to save who and what remains.

Developed and published by Ubisoft’s Massive Entertainment with assistance from Red Storm Entertainment, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, the third-person shooter quickly became the fastest-selling new IP in video game history after its initial launch. Ubisoft recently announced that the game reached the milestone of 20 million players and a sequel is in development with more details to be unveiled at E3 next month.

Gyllenhaal and Chastain have been with the film project since its conception and have been persistent in making sure that it matches the tone of the video game, while also reaching audiences who appreciate the actors’ own past work.

As for Leitch, the stunt coordinator-turned-director has been a rising star on the action scene after he and his stunt partner, Chad Stahelski, broke out with the cult hit “John Wick.” Stahelski took the reins for “John Wick 2” as Leitch moved on to the Charlize Theron action movie “Atomic Blonde,” the film that helped land him the job of “Deadpool 2” after that sequel lost its director.

The early buzz around “Deadpool 2” proved so impressive that Johnson aggressively pursued Leitch for his “Fast and Furious” spinoff before the in-demand director could land his next film.

Leitch is repped by WME and attorney Tara Kole.

Jessica Chastain is confirmed for “It” sequel

Jessica Chastain is confirmed for “It” sequel

As we said, Jessica Chastain was in negotiation to play the adult version of Beverly MarshAnd on April 12, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Jessica is officially on board of It: Chapter Two as Beverly Marsh, the group’s lone female member who as an adult ends up in an abusive marriage.

The second installment of New Line’s adaptation of Stephen King’s It focuses on the adult versions of the characters that were subjected to the terror of demon clown Pennywise, last seen in the 2017 movie that grossed $700 million worldwide.

James McAvoy and Bill Hader are also confirmed to join Jessica Chastain in It: Chapter Two.

Fox Pushes ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ to 2019

Fox Pushes ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ to 2019

Deadline – 20th Century Fox is doing some major shuffling of some titles for this year and 2019. The release date for the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which has been going through some speed bumps with its directors, has been pushed up from December 25 to November 2 — the original release date for the X-Men sequel Dark Phoenix. Fans of the comic book franchise will have to sit tight as that one will now open on February 14, 2019.

The adaptation of Don Winslow’s The Force was originally scheduled for March 1, 2019. That movie is still in formation, as director James Mangold will first helm the untitled Ford Vs Ferrari period film that has Matt Damon and Christian Bale circling. Mangold will direct The Force, to follow, as the director is working on a rewrite with his Logan co-writer Scott Frank. Fox has dated the Joe Cornish epic medieval adventure The Kid Who Would Be King to the March 1, 2019 slot, moving from February 14, 2019.

Fox also announced that the Roxann Dawson’s faith-based pic Breakthrough starring Chrissy Metz and Topher Grace will be released on April 12, 2019 alongside the animated feature Spies in Disguise which was originally slated for January 18, 2019.

Finally, fanboys and fangirls will also have to wait a little longer for Fox’s horror-driven adaptation of The New Mutants (whose characters exist in the X-Men comic books). Originally slated for a February 22, 2019 release date, the pic will now debut on August 2, 2019.

Dark Phoenix will now open on February 14, 2019