In what was described as a competitive bidding situation, Netflix has nabbed the rights to the feature, John Henry and The Statesmen, with Dwayne Johnson attached as the star and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle director Jake Kasdan on board to direct. Johnson and his Seven Bucks Productions partners Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia are producing the project with Kasdan, and Seven Bucks frequent collaborator Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo.
The pic is based on an original pitch from The Lego Ninjago Movie scribe Tom Wheeler. Johnson will play John Henry and lead an ensemble cast of the most popular figures from folklore and legend from all around the world.
Executive producers are Melvin Mar (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), FPC’s Wendy Jacobson (San Andreas ) and Wheeler.
“Netflix is the perfect partner and platform for us to continue entertaining our global audience in a disruptive way,” said Johnson. “These diverse characters speak to a legacy of storytelling that is more relevant than ever and span across a worldwide audience regardless of age, gender, race or geography.”
“Dwayne is a global superstar, inarguably one of the most popular actors in the world,” said Scott Stuber, head of Netflix’s film group. “He and Jake are a tremendous duo with a proven track record of entertaining audiences worldwide. We’re delighted to be able to partner with them and collaborate with Seven Bucks Productions and FPC. This is a story with universal appeal and we can’t wait to bring these characters to families around the globe.”
“Over the past decade, FlynnPictureCo. and Seven Bucks Productions have been focused on creating global event feature films to entertain the worldwide audience, and we have cultivated a direct relationship with our fans in the US and overseas,” said Flynn. “So, to be able to partner with Netflix and utilize their immediate reach to 190 countries is a game-changing opportunity for us to develop a brand-new franchise in John Henry and The Statesmen. ”
Seven Bucks and FlynnPictureCo. have a wealth of projects in the pipeline. The companies just wrapped on the Disney ride based film Jungle Cruise, which Emily Blunt stars opposite Johnson, and will begin filming Red Notice, a Rawson Marshall Thurber-directed international action thriller starring Johnson and Gal Godot, next year. In addition, Seven Bucks is in production on the Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs and Shaw for Universal and has the Sony Jumanji sequel, which Kasdan returned to direct, set to bow in December 2019.
WME reps Johnson, Kasdan, and Wheeler.