The Russo Bros. Say the Action Sequences in THE GRAY MAN Almost Killed Them, but They’re Already Making Plans for More

Directors and brothers Joe and Anthony Russo are best known for the Marvel movies they made, beginning with Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), then Captain America: Civil War (2016), and ending with the epic films Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). These movies made it clear that the duo were well-versed in action on a pretty big scale, but their next film, The Gray Man, has been a major undertaking all on its own.

The film is based on the novel by Mark Greaney, and it was adapted by Joe Russo, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely (who penned all of the Russos’ Marvel films). In a recent interview with Empire, the Russos talked about their star-studded action thriller that is set to hit Netflix this summer.

“This movie almost killed us,” Joe Russo laughs. “There are, like, nine action sequences, and it’s so relentless in that regard. It was relentless to make.” But it must have been as rewarding as it was relentless, because plans for sequel(s) are early development, as well as potential spin-offs. Joe went on to say:

“We never want to jinx it. But we’re already thinking through where it goes from here. We like to build out worlds, and we would rather gamble on the upside and put the energy and time in to build out that universe prior to the release, so that the ideas are more germane and organic. That’s how you build out a more complex mosaic narrative.”

If it all works out, the duo will be taking a hands-on approach to telling more Gray Man stories. Joe added:

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“We’re intimately involved in all of it. The focus is to make ‘Gray Man 2’. Our appetite is voracious and the intention is always to do more than we can.”

The Gray Man is described as “a set piece-packed cat-and-mouse spy thriller. In this case, the mouse is Ryan Gosling’s Courtland Gentry (aka Sierra Six), a CIA mercenary who’s running for his life after uncovering information that puts him in the crosshairs; the cat is Chris Evans’ gleefully sadistic sociopath Lloyd Hansen, hired to hunt Six down and planning to enjoy the task far more than any right-minded person should. It’s a streamlined story with plenty of potential for explosive action, all stemming from a battle of wills between its two central forces. “We’re very character-oriented, Joe and I,” says Anthony Russo. “We start all of our exploration of action through character. How do we test who this character is? How do we trap them in the worst possible place, like in the airplane sequence. That’s a very vulnerable place for that character to be in, and it shows you how vigilant he is, and how disciplined he is.”

Gosling and Evans are joined in the cast by Ana de Armas, Regé-Jean Page, Wagner Moura, Jessica Henwick, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfre Woodard, and Julia Butters.

The Gray Man is set to hit Netflix on July 15th. Are you looking forward to this action-packed outing?