EXCLUSIVE: What’s next for Ryan Reynolds after the record-setting Deadpool opening? Reynolds is in talks to star with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation‘s Rebecca Ferguson in Life, a Skydance Productions film that Daniel Espinosa will direct from a script by Reynolds’ Deadpool scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. Espinosa and Reynolds teamed previously on Safe House.

Espinosa signed on last November, and talks with Reynolds were going on before the film surpassed the wildest dreams of anyone by grossing $150 million domestic and $282 million global in its opening five-day weekend. Skydance’s David Ellison and Dana Goldberg are producing with Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn. Paramount’s expected to be the distributor. It’s a big-scale film focusing on a Mars mission that finds intelligent alien life.

REBECCA FERGUSONWhile the talk now is whether this is an anomaly for Reynolds, I’d posit that many expected him to become a big star off of playing the smart-aleck fratboy character in 2002’s Van Wilder. Reynolds had some tough breaks along the way — most notably the failure of the Green Lantern and R.I.P.D., both of which put him in leading man jail. He was good in those films, though, and electric in Buried — I attended the midnight premiere in Sundance where the crowd tore the roof off the theater. But ultimately, who wants to see a movie where a guy is buried in a coffin, on a cell phone, for the entire movie? Whatever he brought to the films The Proposal and Safe House was marginalized and the credit given to Sandra Bullock and Denzel Washington for those hits. And whatever franchise potential might have come from Blade: Trinity was undone from exceptionally foul language which I think doomed the movie.

Reynolds has been in ridiculously good shape for every movie he makes, and he’s likable and eagerly promotes his films. Like Robert Downey Jr., he just needed a big hit that is singularly his, and now he has it.

Reynolds is repped by WME and attorney David Weber; Ferguson, who’s currently starring in The Girl On The Train, is repped by ICM Partners and Tavistock Wood.