Blake Lively To Headline Female Spy Franchise From James Bond Producers

The producers of the James Bond franchise know how to make a successful spy movie. They’ve been doing it for over five decades after all. And, with the exception of 1968’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, that is pretty much all they have done. But now Eon is looking to stretch its wings a bit, bringing a new literary spy to the big screen.

Eon Productions has cast Blake Lively to star in The Rhythm Section, the first in a series of spy novels from Mark Burnell. Lively will play Stephanie Patrick, who is recruited by a covert espionage organization after her family is killed in a mysterious plan crash. Her only reason for joining is so that shew ill get the support to track down and kill her family’s murderers.

So far Burnell has authored four books in the series, so there is plenty of material already in place for future installments should this first film score at the box office.

Cinematographer-turned-director Reed Moreno has been tapped to helm the film.

Given that Wonder Woman has been an unparalleled success at the box office, it’s not surprising that studios and producers are looking for strong female led projects of their own. It is not even that surprising that Eon Productions is looking for their own. While Eon heads Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli have always seemed content in just concentrating on the James Bond franchise which they inherited from their father, you have to remember that they were interested in spinning off Halle Berry’s Die Another Day character to her own films. Though that plan was abandoned fairly quickly after the film’s poor reception.

Here’s the complete announcement –

Production will begin later this year on a new female driven international espionage thriller THE RHYTHM SECTION, with financing from leading independent studio IM Global, it was announced today by Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions in London and IM Global Founder and CEO, Stuart Ford in Los Angeles.

Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, who have produced the last eight Bond films including Spectre and Skyfall, will produce. Ford and IM Global’s Academy Award® winning head of production Greg Shapiro (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, upcoming Detroit) and author/screenwriter Mark Burnell will serve as executive producers.

THE RHYTHM SECTION is a contemporary adaptation of the first of British thriller writer Mark Burnell’s “Stephanie Patrick” series of four novels. Heroine, Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) is on a path of self-destruction after the death of her family in an airplane crash, a flight that she was meant to be on. After discovering that the crash was not an accident, her anger awakens a new sense of purpose and she rises to uncover the truth by adapting the identity of an assassin to track down those responsible. The new, and lethal, Stephanie Patrick is on a mission to fill the void between what she knows and what she is told. Other novels in Burnell’s popular series include “Gemini”, “The Third Woman” and “Chameleon”.

Blake Lively most recently starred in the worldwide box office hit The Shallows for Sony Pictures, which garnered her a People’s Choice Award. That same summer, she appeared in Woody Allen’s Cafe Society, which premiered at Cannes. Lionsgate’s The Age of Adaline, for which Lively played the title character, was also a box office success. She received praise for her performance in Warner Brothers’ The Town. Other films on her resume include Rebecca Miller’s The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films based on the best-selling YA novels by Ann Brashares. She is currently in pre-production in director Paul Feig’s film A Simple Favor for Lionsgate.

Reed Morano recently served as a director and executive producer of the of the first three episodes of critically acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu and MGM based on Margaret Atwood’s book. The New York Times described Morano’s work on the show as “unflinching, vital and scary as hell.” One of Playlists’ 20 Best Breakthrough Directors of 2015, Morano also earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for cinematography in her stunning directorial debut Meadowland starring Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson, where she also served as the film’s cinematographer. In June of 2017, Morano was presented with the Distinguished Vanguard Filmmaker Award at the UCLA Directors Spotlight.

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About Rich Drees 7203 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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