David Leitch and Chad Stahelski made a great team when they co-directed the original John Wick (with Leitch going uncredited), but Leitch decided to part ways with Stahelski on John Wick: Chapter 2, instead choosing to head up his own movie. John Wick: Chapter 2 has been a big box office hit and won Stahelski raves, while Leitch's solo directorial effort based on the graphic novel The Coldest City awaits its own release this summer.
Antony Johnston's graphic novel The Coldest City tells a story set at the very end of the Cold War, involving the efforts of a pair of spies to find a list of double agents who are being smuggled into the West. The movie is set to be released on July 28th, 2017 but we have now learned that it will no longer be going under the same title as the source material.
Focus Features has announced that David Leitch's The Coldest City has officially been retitled Atomic Blonde (the release date remains July 28th). Charlize Theron stars as Lorraine Broughton, an MI6 agent who is sent to Berlin just as the wall is coming down, and must battle a dangerous espionage ring, alongside a Berlin station chief played by James McAvoy. Sofia Boutella of Kingsman fame also appears in the film in an unspecified role. A first poster for the movie has also been dropped, via Focus Features (see below).
The movie's Cold War setting may make one think of the cerebral spy narratives of John Le Carre, but the presence of David Leitch as director promises something a lot punchier and more action-packed than your standard spy thriller. Nevertheless, reviews of the Coldest City graphic novel indicate that the narrative is very twisty and complex, so this could be a best-of-both-worlds situation: a smart spy thriller that integrates lots of action in the John Wick vein. The movie's poster certainly seems to promise that Theron is playing, essentially, the "female John Wick".
The title switch and poster would seem to indicate a desire to market the film as something cool and filled with violent action. The title Atomic Blonde retains a connection to the Cold War while sounding a little more overtly comic book than the original title (which arguably smacked of straight-laced PBS-type espionage storytelling). Charlize Theron's character is clearly being sold as a dangerous and sexy spy with her platinum blonde hair, sunglasses and shiny gun. It's going to be a big year for Theron, who is also set to appear in Fate of the Furious in April.
Considering the box office success of John Wick: Chapter 2, it makes perfect sense to try to tap into that same audience; an audience that is clearly into over-the-top action, insane stunts and lots and lots of gunplay. We'll see if David Leitch has a hit on his hands when Atomic Blonde blows up this summer. If not, he still has that Deadpool 2 gig going for him.
Source: Focus Features
- Atomic Blonde (2017) release date: Jul 28, 2017