Simon Kinberg to direct an all-star spy thriller starring Jessica Chastain

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

An espionage thriller directed by Simon Kinberg featuring an all-star international cast of Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing and Lupita Nyong’o? I'd watch the hell out of that. The red-hot package is being unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival next week when the actresses, along with Kinberg, will pitch the project to international buyers. Deadline reports that the project, titled 355, came about while Chastain was working with Kinberg on the upcoming X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX. The actress pitched Kinberg the idea, which would see a group of female international agents taking charge in a grounded, edgy action thriller in the style of the BOURNE IDENTITY, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, and JAMES BOND franchises.

Speaking to Deadline, Jessica Chastain said:

I had so much fun working on The Help that I always wanted to do another female ensemble film. 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. 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.’ Then I called all the women, told them what I was envisioning and that I wanted it to be a collaborative process, and how we would all create this together. The one thing that felt important is that we all show up at Cannes, because that would be the beginning of our journey together. Every single actress I called said yes, on the phone call. They committed to Cannes and to everything. So far it has been a very wonderfully easy process.

The spark which ignited 355 grew out of Jessica Chastain's research while filming ZERO DARK THIRTY. "When I was preparing for Zero Dark Thirty, I had incredible resources working in the CIA I got to learn from," Chastain 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." Director Simon Kinberg added that unlike some of the other spy franchises, the goal of 355 will be to present a true ensemble in which all of the agents will share the screen equally.

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. That’s unique, as is having all female spies. We are digging into the reality of spy craft today. There are all kinds of things that seem out of a James Bond or even a sci-fi movie, but the technology is so advanced that it’s real. Having someone who knows that reality informing the script has been really helpful.

It's the hope that 355 will be the first of a new franchise, but the first film, which will be scripted by Theresa Rebeck, will find "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." It certainly sounds like a fun project, and I'd imagine that we'll be hearing more about it throughout Cannes.

Jessica Chastain will next be seen in WOMAN WALKS AHEAD on June 29, 2018, while X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX won't hit theaters until February 14, 2019.

Source: Deadline

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.