Spy Thriller to Star Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz & More

Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Lupita Nyong’o and Fan Bingbing all together in a spy thriller? Sign us up.

Simon Kinberg, known for his writing and producing work in the X-Men universe (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Deadpool), is attached to direct 355, an edgy espionage film with one hell of a female ensemble on board.

As per Deadline, the outlet that broke the news…

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.

The term “355” refers to the code name given to a female spy during the American Revolution. The identity of the woman, one of the USA’s very first spies, is still not known. Code 355 became a slang term for female spies within organisations such as the CIA.

Attached to write the screenplay is Theresa Rebeck, whose career has primarily circled around the television world, with writing credits including NYPD Blue, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Criminal Mind and Smash.

The film is to be in the vein of the Bourne Identity, Mission: Impossible and James Bond films, and there’s hope that it will kick off a franchise.

ALSO READ: John Woo Remaking His Action Classic ‘The Killer’ with Lupita Nyong’o

Chastain came up with the overall idea, pitching it to Kinberg during their work on his feature directorial debut X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which will find Chastain playing a villain.

“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,” Chastain told Deadline. “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.’”

Cue calls to Cotillard, Cruz, Bingbing and Nyong’o, who were all more than keen to take part and agreed to head to Cannes to pitch the sure-to-be in-demand project to buyers. Expect 355 to be snatched up for a mint.

Although Chastain is the primary reason the project is coming to life, Kinberg describes the film a true ensemble picture, where each of the lead characters receive equal screen time. The idea is that more of this spy world will be explored with these women in future films.

“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,” Kinberg said.

“What we can say is, [this team will] come up against an organization larger than the established spy organizations we’ve known up to this point. We are hoping to create a franchise with this, and the first film will be the agents coming together.”

Stay tuned.

Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia in ‘Black Panther’ | Marvel Studios
Fan Bingbing as Blink in ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ | 20th Century Fox

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