A recurring sentiment fielded in the first reactions for Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time To Die involved wanting to see more of Ana de Armas as the high-kicking/straight-shooting CIA agent Paloma; reuniting her with Daniel Craig for the first time since Rian Johnson’s Knives Out. Clearly, someone in the Lionsgate boardroom has their finger on the pulse and ear to the ground, as Deadline now reveals the much-beloved Cuban actress is in negotiations to lead John Wick spin-off movie: Ballerina.
The film’s title, of course, refers to the class of assassins-in-training briefly depicted during John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. De Armas herself would portray such an individual – “a young female assassin who seeks revenge against the people who killed her family.” Standard stuff.
Action thrillers appear to be the ongoing trend for Ms de Armas’ career of late. In addition to No Time To Die, she’s recently wrapped up shooting as Dani Miranda on Netflix’s most expensive film production yet The Gray Man – reuniting with both Ryan Gosling (Blade Runner 2049) and Chris Evans (Knives Out). Between those two films and this upcoming John Wick spin-off, there’ll be more than a few action sequences on the card to balance the non-actiony components of her fast-growing oeuvre, e.g. next year’s Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde.
Ballerina is set to be directed by Len Wiseman, who you’ll have encountered via the Underworld series starring Kate Beckinsale, Live Free or Die Hard, as well as the Total Recall remake fronted by Colin Farrell. Wiseman was also attached to the now-cancelled Die Hard sequel/prequel hybrid McClane.
In terms of the screenplay, the story has been composed by Shay Hatten, who penned John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, the forthcoming John Wick: Chapter 4 slated for release in May of 2022, in addition to Zack Snyder’s Army of Thieves. Interestingly enough, Hatten’s also currently attached to John Wick: Chapter 5, slated for release sometime in 2023.
Franchise director Chad Stahelski, Basil Inwanyk, Erica Lee, Brady Fujikawa, and Chelsea Fujikawa have signed on to producers. The budget will reportedly hover around the $50 million to $80 million range – more to come.