Universal has set a January 15, 2021 release date for 355, the ensemble spy thriller that came together during last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The pic directed and co-written by Simon Kinberg stars Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Penélope Cruz, Diane Kruger and Fan Bingbing.
The hope is to launch a franchise based on an idea by Chastain of a Bourne Identity-like thriller revolving around female spies from agencies around the world. The women must bond together, overcoming their suspicions and conflicts, to use all their considerable talents and training to stop an event from occurring that could thrust our teetering world into total chaos. Along the way, these strangers and enemies become comrades and friends, and a new faction is formed and code-named “355” (a name they adopt from the first female spy in the American Revolution).
Sebastian Stan and Edgar Ramirez are also in the cast and the pic began production in early July with shoots in Paris, London and Morocco.
Kinberg co-wrote the script with Theresa Rebeck, and Chastain and Kelly Carmichael are producing via Chastain’s Freckle Films with Kinberg via his Genre Films. Richard Hewitt is executive producer.
In a unique arrangement, the actresses and filmmakers are understood to have equity stakes in the movie, which was a magnet for distributors worldwide in Cannes. Its strong components, novel approach and female empowerment messaging combined to make it the right package at the right time.
Universal had previously set aside the January 2021 date for an event film. So far, the release schedule is thin at that time, with only a Universal-Blumhouse movie and Paramount’s Rugrats staking out dates that month.