Universal Pictures announced today that principal photography is underway in Georgia on director Doug Liman’s “international escapade” Mena. The film reunites Liman with his Edge of Tomorrow star Tom Cruise as it tells the true story of Barry Seal, a hustler and pilot unexpectedly recruited by the CIA to run one of the biggest covert operations in U.S. history. Liman had this to say about his interest in the source material:
“I love stories of improbable heroes working against the system, and Barry Seal took the government, and our country, for an unbelievable ride. Interpreting his story has the makings for an entertaining film that is equal parts satire, suspense and comedy—and always surprising.”
Gary Spinelli penned the initial draft of the script, but Universal’s press release does not have final screenwriting credits. Liman is known for finding his way as he goes throughout production, and Christopher McQuarrie contributed heavily to Edge of Tomorrow during filming, so it’ll be interesting to see where those final credits land.
The full cast alongside Cruise includes Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright (Marry Me), Jesse Plemons, Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class), Jayma Mays (Glee), Benito Martinez (House of Cards), E. Roger Mitchell (Selma), Lola Kirke (Gone Girl), and Alejandro Edda (The Bridge). Cross Creek Pictures is fully financing the film.
Liman is mixing things up behind the camera once again, with César Charlone—whose credits include The Constant Gardner and City of God—set as cinematographer. Production will continue through July throughout Georgia.
Curiously, Universal has set a January 6, 2017 release date for Mena, but once the studio sees some footage it’s possible they’ll push the movie back to a more appropriate spring or summer date. A Tom Cruise film opening in January feels weird.