Blake Lively Lands Female Spy Franchise From ‘Bond’ Producers, ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Director
When Atomic Blonde premiered at SXSW back in March, one of the recurring complaints, even from those who enjoyed the film, was that Charlize Theron’s cool Cold War spy thriller could’ve benefited from a female director. It looks like we won’t have to wait very long to see that theory put to the test, as Blake Lively has signed on to headline a female-led spy franchise from the producers behind the James Bond series and the director of The Handmaid’s Tale.
According to a release obtained by The Wrap, Lively will star in The Rhythm Section, an action-thriller based on Mark Burnell’s series of novels revolving around female protagonist Stephanie Patrick. Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers behind the last eight James Bond films, will produce the project with the intention of kicking off a new spy franchise. Burnell, who will also executive produce the film, has written four Stephanie Patrick novels to date.
Just as exciting as seeing Lively kick some ass in her own spy franchise is knowing who’s directing the first film: Reed Morano, the executive producer and director (of the first three episodes) of The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s rightfully acclaimed and deeply affecting adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel. Morano’s work helped establish the look, tone and feel of the series, and even if you’ve only seen the first episode, then you’re probably as stoked as I am to see what Morano does with an action-thriller.
The plot of The Rhythm Section is described as follows:
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”.
It definitely sounds like it has some similarities to John Wick (revenge plot inspired by tragic loss) and Atomic Blonde (self-destructive female spy with a personal connection to the mission). And with the massive box office success of Wonder Woman, it’s about damn time we get a good female action franchise — especially one that’s directed by a woman.