Has Netflix found its James Bond?
In the new Netflix movie “The Gray Man,” Ryan Gosling’s character jokes that his name is Six because 007 was taken.
The film is a big-budget, effects-packed thriller in the spirit of a James Bond adventure. Netflix Inc and the film’s makers are hoping the film, which begins streaming Friday, will launch the company’s own long-running spy series.
Gosling stars as Sierra Six, a former inmate released from prison by the CIA in exchange for servitude in a secret program.
“I always wanted to do an action movie,” Gosling told Reuters. “Acting was my first love. It made me fall in love with movies in the first place. It took a minute to get there and find the right one. “The Gray Man” is based on a novel by Mark Greaney and directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the brothers who helmed Marvel’s mega-blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame.”
The Russos said Netflix allowed them to bring their full vision to the screen. “Gray Man” was filmed in seven locations around the world, from Azerbaijan to Croatia and France.
“We wanted to be very ambitious with this film,” said Anthony Russo. “It’s hard to shoot the action. Filming action is expensive, and Netflix was ready for that level of ambition.
The film contains nine major action sequences, including a lengthy shootout in a Prague public square.
“It was a real trial by fire for me that this was my first action movie,” Gosling said.
Chris Evans plays Gosling’s nemesis, an assassin named Lloyd Hansen who was kicked out of the CIA for over-tactics.
“He’s shameless himself,” Evans said of the character. “I think most of us travel the world measuring who we are by what we think we’re meant to be, and Lloyd isn’t bound by those social norms.”
“The Gray Man” plays exclusively in theaters this week before hitting Netflix.
Reaction from film critics has been mixed. On Monday, “Gray Man” had a positive rating of 52% among reviews collected on the Rotten Tomatoes website. Audiences were more enthusiastic, with 89% of site commenters giving a thumbs up.
The Russos hope the film will be popular enough to warrant future installments.
“Whether exploring events after the original ‘Grey Man’ movie or before, or where we choose to go, there are plenty of options in this universe,” said Anthony Russo.