355: Chastain, Kinberg Partner For 'Grounded', 'Edgy' All-Female Spy Actioner

Mike Fleming Jr.'s exclusive at Deadline brings news of an all-star female line-up being readied for spy espionage ensemble, 355, penned by screenwriter Theresa Rebeck. Actresses Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing and this week's starring addition to John Woo's The Killer, Lupita Nyong’o are all being circled for the project which will be announced at Cannes with the cast, and director Simon Kinberg in attendance at the Croisette.
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.
355 is aiming for what Deadline describes as "a grounded, edgy action thriller" that will not only launch a franchise, but also reshape an oft male-dominated genre with a female-centric cast in the vein of the The Bourne Identity, Mission: Impossible and James Bond franchises. Chastain reportedly brought the idea for the film to Kinberg during production on X-Men: Dark Phoenix, on which Chastain co-stars for Kinberg's directorial debut.

The actress, who is set to produce 355 with Kelly Carmichael at their Freckle Films banner next to Kinberg at Kinberg Genre, spoke heavily to Deadline and cited her previous enjoyment on The Help (2011), and Zero Dark Thirty (2012), with the latter being the most influential in her interest toward the new action thriller.
“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.”
Chastain also delved into the film's vision and authenticity in how Zero Dark Thirty contributed to her on-set experience which she now wishes to bring to 355. More quotes in the article highlight from the actress how the film will differ from others in staving off hyperbole and campiness in pursuit of a true ensemble-driven narrative with equal weight given to the principal cast, and later expresses how the film will give weight to a headlining presence of females in wake of the #MeToo movement.
“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.”
FilmNational is selling the film internationally with North America and China rights repped by CAA Media Finance Group.


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