EXCLUSIVE: Dwayne Johnson has signed on to star in Ciudad, an intense action thriller to be directed by Joe and Anthony Russo. The pic is being produced by Eric Gitter and Peter Schwerin of Closed on Mondays Entertainment (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World), as well as Emmett/Furla Films partners Randall Emmett & George Furla. Emmett/Furla Films will finance the movie. Envision Entertainment’s Stepan Martirosyan and Remington Chase, who have a film fund with Emmett/Furla Films, will executive produce. The Russo Brothers will direct from a script written by Joe Russo.
Ciudad is based on the upcoming Oni Press graphic novel that the Russo Brothers co-wrote with Ande Parks. Set in one of the most dangerous and corrupt cities in the world, the thriller will star Johnson as a black market mercenary hired by a Brazilian drug lord to rescue his kidnapped daughter.
Since joining Fast Five, Johnson has been on fire. He’s become the face for two other pre-existing franchises; Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which has grossed $270 million worldwide, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which opens in the summer. Johnson is also in early talks to play the title role in MGM’s Hercules: The Thracian Wars, which Brett Ratner will direct. Ciudad is Johnson’s second recent collaboration with Emmett/Furla Films as he’s also attached to star in the crime thriller Empire State, which Dito Montiel is directing.
For the Russos — who have been working on the TV series Community, Happy Endings, and Arrested Development — Ciudad is their first feature since 2006’s You, Me And Dupree. Ciudad is their first foray into hard-core action.
“Exploring genre has always been a driving motivation for us as filmmakers,” the Russos said in a statement. “This movie is the culmination of a long time ambition to bring our sensibilities to an action thriller.”
Closed on Mondays Entertainment’s Joe Nozemack will executive produce and Steven V. Scavelli and Lisa Gitter will co-produce. David Guillod of Intellectual Artists Management will also executive produce. Johnson and the Russo Brothers are repped by WME and 3 Arts, as is Closed On Mondays and Oni Press.