With John Wick, directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski certainly caught people’s attention. On a modest budget, they turned out one of the best action movies in years, and for their next trick, they’re teaming with Charlize Theron for an awesome sounding spy thriller.
According to Deadline, Leitch, Stahelski, and Theron are all on board a project, newly acquired by Focus Features at the Cannes Film Festival, based on the graphic novel The Coldest City. Written by Anthony Johnston and published by Oni Press, the story is set in 1989 during the fall of Communism in the Eastern Bloc. While things are changing, there is still a lot of cloak and dagger spy stuff going on. When an MI6 agent carrying a list of every covert agent working undercover is killed, Lorraine Broughton (Theron) must travel to Berlin and enter a tense situation full of social upheaval, spy versus spy action, and shifting loyalties, in order to save the lives of everyone on that list.
This sounds right up Leitch and Stahelski’s alley. They have backgrounds in stunt work that shines through in John Wick, which has some of the best staged action scenes in recent memory. In addition to that, they’ve shown a propensity for working shadowy underground worlds full of danger, assassins, and what promise to be badass fight scenes.
For her part, we’ve seen Theron handle big action movies, but nothing with quite the up close physicality that we expect to see in The Coldest City. At least not until this weekend, when George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road finally hits theaters. She plays a one-armed, post-apocalyptic badass, and from what we’ve seen of what she does there (and what we’ve heard from early reports), she’ll be just fine lurking in the shadows, navigating the treacherous world of a Cold War spy, and kicking ass the whole time.
Focus Features also appears to be solidly behind this picture. They reportedly paid nearly eight figures for the rights (so, seven figures?), and they’ve already committed to giving it a wide release. Leitch and Stahelski will also have a bit more money to play with than last time out, as they’ll have a $30 plus million budget, which is up from the $20 million they had for John Wick. They’ve shown they can make a fantastic looking movie for relatively cheap, which has to make the producers happy, and with Theron in the lead, and as hot as they are, it’s hard to imagine that this won’t make money.
Leitch and Stahelski also have John Wick 2 in the works, with the original screenwriter and star Keanu Reeves back in the fold. The Coldest City is already scheduled to film in Germany starting this October, which means we’ll likely see it in theaters sometime in 2016. We can’t wait.