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355 – Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, and Lupita Nyong’o to star in new spy thriller

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Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Dark Phoenix) is set to direct 355, a new spy thriller that will star Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing and Lupita Nyong’o. It will join the likes of Salt, Red Sparrow, Atomic Blonde, Charlie’s Angels, Haywire, Colombiana, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Hanna and other female-led spy action thrillers.

They will be at the Cannes Film Festival to pitch the film to international buyers. The plan is for it to become a franchise if successful.

Chastain came up with the idea and talked it over with Kinberg while they worked together on X-Men: Dark Phoenix.

The film involves top agents from organizations around the world uniting to stop a global organization from acquiring a weapon that could plunge an already unstable world into total chaos. They have to overcome cultural and political differences to form a bond and work together

“What we can say is, they come up against an organization larger than the established spy organizations we’ve known up to this point,” said Kinberg. “We are hoping to create a franchise with this, and the first film will be the agents coming together.”

“I had so much fun working on The Help that I always wanted to do another female ensemble film,” Chastain told Deadline. “I love the Bourne movies, the Mission: Impossible films, and wondered why, except for Charlie’s Angels, there hadn’t been a true female ensemble action-thriller spy film. That got my wheels going, along with the idea of casting actresses from all over the world to truly make it an international project. I realized the incredible creative freedom we would have with that. I brought the idea to Simon, told him about the actresses I was thinking of, and he was so sweet. He said, ‘I want to do it with you.’

“Then I called all the women, told them what I was envisioning and that I wanted it to be a collaborative process, and how we would all create this together,” Chastain said. “The one thing that felt important is that we all show up at Cannes, because that would be the beginning of our journey together. Every single actress I called said yes, on the phone call. They committed to Cannes and to everything. So far it has been a very wonderfully easy process.”

“When I was preparing for Zero Dark Thirty, I had incredible resources working in the CIA I got to learn from. We have a consultant in our film that has a lot of knowledge in espionage. This title came from one of the conversations I had with him. Agent 355 was the code name of a female spy during the American Revolution. She was one of the very first spies for the United States, and her identity is still unknown. For a lot of women who work in the CIA and other organizations like that, Code 355 is a universal slang term for female spy. It’s the invisible woman who was never named.”

“The action genre has long been dominated by male heroes, and it’s so exciting to be part of a film that will allow for not just one female action hero but a whole ensemble of very capable, fierce female characters that reject tired stereotypes,” she said. “Characters that liberate from the confines of stereotypical traits. That is something that excited me about this, the opportunity to create different types of female heroes.”

FilmNation Entertainment will sell international and CAA Media Finance Group will rep North American and Chinese distribution rights. Freckle Films’ Chastain and Kelly Carmichael are producing with Kinberg and his Kinberg Genre banner.

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