Netflix’s ‘The Gray Man’ Starred Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron Before Finally Wrapping With Ryan Gosling 10 Years Later

Among the highly-anticipated new Netflix movies is The Gray Man, a film over a decade in the making. From cast changes to studio conflicts, The Gray Man‘s story from initial development to post-production is nothing short of astonishing. In fact, it’s a Hollywood tale itself. Despite all the changes, Netflix has a lot invested in the film — more than any other original movie in the streaming platform’s history.

When was ‘The Gray Man’ first greenlit?

The Gray Man is based on a book written by Mark Greaney. Not long after the book came out, studios sensed the potential for an action-packed film and fought to option the screenplay. In January 2011, Variety announced New Regency had optioned the project, with James Gray set to direct a screenplay written by Adam Cozad. 

The publication reports Brad Pitt was initially in talks to star in The Gray Man. But in 2015, things changed again, with IndieWire reporting Pitt’s exit from the production. Charlize Theron was rumored to play the lead role in a genderswapped version of the original story. Speculation attached Marvel filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo as the screenplay writers, with the movie moving from New Regency to Sony Pictures.

‘The Gray Man’ finally has a release date

the gray man
The Gray Man (2022) Ryan Gosling as Six. Cr. Stanislav Honzik/Netflix © 2022

For a few years, The Gray Man languished in development hell, with no news or updates for five years. In July 2020, reports swirled that the Russo Brothers had switched from writers to directors of the project, now finding its home on Netflix. New casting updates popped up in the following months, with the film’s final cast revealed in 2021. It included Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton, and Regé-Jean Page.

Filming wrapped in July 2021, meaning fans finally got some updates on the plot. According to IMDb, The Gray Man follows the exploits of a skilled CIA operative, played by Gosling, who uncovers dark industry secrets and goes on the run after a former colleague puts a bounty on his head. Set for release on Netflix on July 22, 2022, The Gray Man is one of Netflix’s most hotly-anticipated films in a long time.

‘The Gray Man’ is Netflix’s most expensive movie production to date

The Gray Man brings a lot of star power to Netflix. And the streaming service had to pay a lot to harness such big-name stars. According to HuffPostThe Gray Man is Netflix’s most expensive film to date, with a $200 million production budget. Much of the film’s appeal for fans will likely be in seeing Chris Evans play against type as a villain. And fan-favorite Page returns to Netflix after his big breakthrough in Bridgerton.

While some fans are concerned that the film might disappoint viewers after a series of original flops, many believe it might shatter viewership records for the platform. Fans will get the chance to see the film for themselves in July 2022, when The Gray Man starts streaming on Netflix.

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