Jessica Chastain assembles her team in the first look photo for all-female spy thriller 355. The film is based on an idea that Chastain came up with and has X-Men series writer/producer Simon Kinberg attached to direct. Smash creator Theresa Rebeck is set to write the script for the movie, which gets its title from the code name for a real life female spy in the American Revolutionary War.
355 is drawing comparisons to Mission: Impossible and Charlie's Angels and like those properties, the film is designed to kickoff a franchise in the event it becomes a commercial success. Chastain and Kinberg put together a top notch international cast that includes Lupita Nyong'o, Penélope Cruz, Bingbing Fan, and Marion Cotillard before bringing 355 to this year's Cannes Film Festival. The movie was unsurprisingly quick to land a big international deal at the festival ahead of its official presentation this morning (at the time of writing).
According to Vanity Fair's Rebecca Keegan, Chastain (speaking at the 355 presentation) said that the idea for the film came from a conversation she had with her agent at last year's Cannes, concerning the lack of action movies led by women. 355 doesn't have a script yet, but is seeking global distributors at this year's Cannes and has already reached a deal with FilmNation Entertainment and CAA Media Finance Group in France. A first look photo of the 355 cast has now been released online and posted to social media by the movie's stars, Nyong'o included (see the tweet embedded below).
355 revolves around a team of international secret agents that must work together, in order to stop a sinister crime organization from acquiring and using a deadly weapon. Nyong'o likened her character in the film to tech guru Q from the James Bond movies and discussed what drew her to the role in the first place:
“I have never seen an African woman intelligence agent. To me that was important because I know they exist. What she uses to her advantage is [people] underestimating her.”
Kinberg and Chastain will re-team for X-Men: Dark Phoenix reshoots later this year, but could begin filming 355 by either late 2018 or early 2019. The project is one of the hotter prospects at Cannes and should have little trouble lining up distributors at the festival. Financing shouldn't be a problem either, meaning it might not be too long before 355 is officially fast-tracked and given a release date target in either 2019 or 2020 (assuming there aren't any schedule issues that hold things up).
Far from being a stranger to the movie world of spies and secret agents, Kinberg previously wrote the franchise sequel xXx: State of the Union, as well as the action/comedies Mr. and Mrs. Smith and This Means War. He's making his directing debut with Dark Phoenix, so audiences will have to wait until next year to find out if he's adept calling the shots behind the camera. Chastain clearly thinks highly of Kinberg as a director, so that bodes well for 355 and suggests it may yet prove to be the terrific all-female spy adventure that everyone is hoping for here.
More on 355 as the story develops.