EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Hart and director F. Gary Gray are set to team for the first time on Lift, a heist film that Netflix acquired last March as a spec script by Dan Kunka. Production will begin at the top of the year. The film is produced by Simon Kinberg and Audrey Chon for Genre Pictures, Matt Reeves and Adam Kassan for 6th & Idaho, and Hart and Brian Smiley for HartBeat Productions.
Hart will play a master thief who is wooed by his ex-girlfriend and the FBI to pull off an impossible heist with his international crew on a 777 flying from London to Zurich.
Lift falls under Hart and HartBeat Productions’ creative partnership with Netflix. They are currently in production on comedy Me Time starring Mark Wahlberg and Regina Hall. The Batman director Reeves’ 6th & Idaho is also in a Netflix deal.
Gray, who is coming off Straight Outta Compton, The Fate of the Furious and Men in Black: International, had been set to next direct the action film Muscle with Vin Diesel. That film remains very much on track, but Diesel and Gray will pick that back up after Lift is finished and Diesel completed Fast and Furious 10.
Hart is coming off the HartBeat-produced Fatherhood.
Kunka has several projects set around town. TriStar and Escape Artists have the sci-fi adaptation Cagn, Focus Features and George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse have Water Crisis, based on an investigative journalist who recently documented how the world is running out of water; and Church of Spies has Philip Noyce set to direct. Kunka previously sold the Black List script Yellowstone Falls, which has Louis Leterrier to direct, Space Race at Universal with Dan Trachtenberg directing and Crime of the Century at Universal with Chris Morgan producing.
Kinberg separately has at Netflix Here Comes the Flood, which Jason Bateman is aboard to direct. Kinberg wrote the script, which sold in a giant spec deal. It is an elevated, character-driven love-story heist movie, with the heist playing out in increments.
Hart is repped by UTA and 3 Arts; Gray is repped by UTA and Nina Shaw. Kunka is repped by Verve and Lit Entertainment Group.
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