EXCLUSIVE: F9: The Fast Saga and The Suicide Squad star John Cena is in negotiations to star in Pierre Morel (Taken) action-comedy film Freelance, which Stuart Ford’s AGC will be selling at the upcoming virtual American Film Market.
Endurance Media’s Steve Richards will produce the package alongside Sentient Entertainment’s Renee Tab and Christopher Tuffin. Endurance will co-finance with AGC. UTA and ICM are handling domestic.
The project, which is budgeted in the $40 million range, follows a special forces operator (Cena) who decides to retire from the Army and start a family back in the states. After several years of mortgage payments, school drop-offs, backyard barbecues and trying to conform to life in suburbia, he decides to come out of retirement to take a gig providing security for a female journalist as she interviews a cruel dictator who may or may not have ordered the attack on him and his men. When a military coup breaks out in the middle of the interview, the three are forced to escape into the jungle where they must survive the elements, the military and one another.
Pic is due to start early next year in Colombia and will likely be among the in-demand action packages at the virtual AFM, which gets underway November 1. Writer Jacob Lentz (Jimmy Kimmel Live!) makes his feature writing debut. Additional casting is in process.
Trainwreck and Blockers actor Cena is set to appear in Fast and the Furious 10, the sequel to Hulu’s Vacation Friends, and HBO Max’s Suicide Squad spinoff series The Peacemaker which begins airing in January.
French filmmaker Morel is best known as the director of Taken, the modestly budgeted French indie thriller that went on to make nearly $300M worldwide and spawned two sequels and a TV series. His other work includes spy drama The Gunman starring Sean Penn, Javier Bardem and Mark Rylance, and the Jennifer Garner starrer Peppermint which grossed more than $35M domestically.
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