Dwayne Johnson to Star in Action Thriller CIUDAD

     March 5, 2012


Earlier today, it was confirmed that franchise rejuvenator Dwayne Johnson will be taking on the title role in Brett Ratner’s iteration of Hercules. Now Johnson is poised to star in another movie with an action bent: Ciudad. The film is based on the upcoming graphic novel co-written by Joe and Anthony Russo and Ande Parks that centers on a black market mercenary who is hired by a Brazilian drug lord to rescue his kidnapped daughter. The title refers to the dangerous city in which the film takes place, as “ciudad” is Spanish for “city.” While this may sound like your average actioner, Ciudad is interesting in that Joe and Anthony Russo will be directing the project. The brothers have quite a bit of experience in Hollywood with comedies like You, Me and Dupree and a lot of television work, but this is their first foray into the action genre. Hit the jump for more.

ciudad-dwayne-johnsonThe Russo brothers most recently helmed the comedy You, Me and Dupree and have directed episodes of Community, Happy Endings and Arrested Development, so their competency to direct action isn’t exactly tested. Of note, though, is the fact that Joe helmed last year’s two-part paintball episode of Community that, apart from being fantastic, definitely had elements of action (Fast Five’s Justin Lin directed season one’s paintball episode). It’s not specified when Ciudad will start filming, but Johnson is slated to film Fast Six and Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain next before moving on to Hercules in October, so I would assume Ciudad is a ways off. Read the full press release below.

Los Angeles, CA – March 5, 2012 – Dwayne Johnson is attached to star in Joe and Anthony Russo’s intense action thriller Ciudad. The pic is being produced by Eric Gitter and Peter Schwerin of Closed on Mondays Entertainment (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), as well as Randal Emmett & George Furla (Broken City).  Emmett/Furla Films will finance the movie.  Envision Entertainment’s Stepan Martirosyan and Remington Chase, who maintain a film fund with Emmett/Furla Films, will executive produce. Joe Russo adapted the screenplay and he and Anthony will co-direct.

Ciudad, based on the upcoming Oni Press graphic novel of the same name which was co-written by the Russos and Ande Parks, is set in one of the most dangerous and corrupt cities in the world.  Johnson plays a black market mercenary who’s hired by a Brazilian drug lord to rescue his kidnapped daughter.

The project marks a return to powerful, hard-hitting action roles for Johnson, who currently stars in New Line’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and in Paramount’s upcoming G.I. Joe: Retaliation. The project also marks the second upcoming collaboration for Johnson with Emmett/Furla Films as Johnson is attached to star in EFF’s crime thriller “Empire State.”

For the Russos, who have been busy in television the last few years (Community, Happy Endings, and Emmy winner Arrested Development), Ciudad marks their first film project since ’06.  It also marks a significant departure from their previous comedy fare.

“Exploring genre has always been a driving motivation for us as filmmakers. This movie is the culmination of a long time ambition to bring our sensibilities to an action thriller,” said the Russos.

Closed on Mondays Entertainment’s Joe Nozemack will executive produce while the company’s Steven V. Scavelli and Lisa Gitter will co-produce.  David Guillod of Intellectual Artists Management will also executive produce.

This is the second project for Emmet/Furla and Johnson.  The duo are also producing “Empire State”, starring Johnson and Emile Hirsch.

Johnson is represented by WME and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.  The Russos are repped by WME, 3 Arts and attorney Karl Austen.  Gitter, Closed on Mondays Entertainment, and Oni Press are repped by WME Intellectual Artists Management and attorney Fred Goodman.

Emmett/Furla Films recently wrapped production on the thriller “Broken City” starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones, which will be released by Fox this coming January. Other recently completed EFF films include the Stephen Frears directed comedy “Lay the Favorite” starring Bruce Willis, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vince Vaughn (Weinstein Company release); the crime thriller “End of Watch” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Kendrick (Open Road release), “Frozen Ground” starring John Cusack, Nicolas Cage and Vanessa Hudgens; the drama “Fire With Fire” starring Josh Duhamel, Bruce Willis and Rosario Dawson; and the action / thriller “Freelancers” starring Robert DeNiro, Forest Whitaker and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson.

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