Deadline reports that the actress has assembled an all-star cast of women for a potential film series centered around international spies. The project, called "355," is also set to star Lupita Nyong'o, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, and Fan Bingbing, and is being billed as "a grounded, edgy action thriller" in the vein of flicks like the "Bourne" and "Mission: Impossible" series.
According to Deadline, the actresses will all be on hand at the Cannes Film Festival next week to pitch their vision to distributors directly. They've already secured a director, Simon Kinberg (with whom Chastain just wrapped "X-Men: Dark Phoenix"), and a writer, Theresa Rebeck (a playwright and TV writer who's worked on series including "NYPD Blue" and "Smash").
"I had so much fun working on 'The Help' that I always wanted to do another female ensemble film," Chastain explained of her vision in an interview with Deadline. "I love the 'Bourne' movies, the 'Mission: Impossible' films, and wondered why, except for 'Charlie's Angels,' there hadn't been a true female ensemble action-thriller spy film. That got my wheels going, along with the idea of casting actresses from all over the world to truly make it an international project. I realized the incredible creative freedom we would have with that."
That freedom included involving all of the actresses in the planning process for the film, Chastain told the trade, with the goal that the film will truly be an ensemble piece that gives equal screen time to all of its stars. And its inspiration is pretty cool, too: Agent 355 was the code name for a female spy during the American Revolutionary War, and is still used today as a slang term for female spies worldwide.
Kinberg told Deadline that the goal is to launch an entire franchise around this concept, with the first film introducing agents from different espionage organizations around the globe who come together to prevent another group from acquiring a dangerous, potentially world-ending weapon. But Chastain sees another, higher purpose to the project, too.
"The action genre has long been dominated by male heroes, and it's so exciting to be part of a film that will allow for not just one female action hero but a whole ensemble of very capable, fierce female characters that reject tired stereotypes," the actress told the trade. "Characters that liberate from the confines of stereotypical traits. That is something that excited me about this, the opportunity to create different types of female heroes."
We're excited, too. Stay tuned to see how everything plays out for this future franchise.