Already a huge force in producing original series, Netflix is becoming a bigger and bigger player in the world of feature films. Some kind of threshold seemed to get crossed when last month, Netflix picked up Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman after the gangster film was passed over by Paramount. Now the streaming service has hired former Universal executive Scott Stuber to oversee its film initiative and, for all intents and purposes, it has become a proper movie studio unto itself.
Netflix already has a nice slate of feature films coming in the near future, including the supernatural thriller The Discovery starring Rooney Mara, the Bong Joon-ho monster movie Okja with Tilda Swinton, the Max Landis-written Will Smith orcs-meet-cops fantasy-action movie Bright and yes another Adam Sandler movie, the ’90s-nostalgia comedy Sandy Wexler. You can now add an intriguing true-life war movie thriller to that roster of acquisitions.
According to THR, Netflix has made a seven-figure deal to pick up the Navy SEAL movie War Party, co-written and directed by Andrew Dominik and starring superstar Tom Hardy. Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Films, which also works with Hardy on the on-going FX series Taboo, will produce. There’s no plot information as of yet but the script is to be co-written by Dominik and Harrison Query based on true events. Netflix reportedly beat out Amazon, Universal (Scott Stuber’s old studio) and Lionsgate to land the project.
Director Andrew Dominik brings to the project long experience directing muscular action films, with the prison drama Chopper, the Western The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford and the crime thriller Killing Them Softly on his resume. Harrison Query is becoming a hot screenwriter after selling the crime thriller Honor For Sale and a pitch for an exorcism film set on a military base. Tom Hardy obviously has become a sought-after star in action-oriented material with his turns in The Dark Knight Rises, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant, among others.
The involvement of both Hardy and producer Ridley Scott in War Party is what makes this such a big deal for Netflix. This isn’t a case of Netflix picking up an orphaned project or making an acquisition after a film festival. This time, Netflix bid on a potentially big-ticket movie with large names involved and beat out “legitimate” studios.
With Netflix being so aggressive in acquiring properties and forging relationships with big names, the future for the streaming service only seems to be getting bigger and more adventurous. Scott Stuber’s tenure as head of Netflix’s film division is off to a very buzzy start indeed. To think, Netflix was once known only as the service that delivered DVDs in the mail. They’ve come a long way in a short time.