The Gray Man, Anthony Russo between GrayVerse and possible sequels

The Gray Man – Chris Evans, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo on set. Credits: Paul Abell / Netflix © 2022

One of the reasons we approached The Gray Man is that we had such a large ensemble, with great actors and great characters. The reason for our choice is that we are looking for different ways of develop the narrative in other ways, using many of those characters and actors. We are already thinking about where this story might lead us next“.

He has no reticence Anthony Russohalf of the billionaire directorial couple formed with brother Joe (they are the final record diptych of the Avengers) in telling Ciak, who met him exclusively, how The Gray Mana blockbuster with a budget of 200 million dollars, in selected cinemas from 13 July and on Netflix from 22 July, could be just the first chapter of a new franchise, the launch of a hypothetical “GrayVerse”

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Inspired by the novel of the same name by Mark Greaney (Jove Books, 2009), the film tells the explosive vicissitudes of CIA agent Court Gentry (Ryan Gosling), aka Sierra Six. Released from a federal penitentiary, Gentry was recruited by Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton) becoming a lethal killer for the Agency. Now the situation has changed and he is hunted all over the world by the psychopath Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans), former member of the CIA. Agent Dani Miranda (Ana de Armas) is the only one who can help Six, but the mission still seems impossible. Written by Joe Russo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the film, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, also features in the cast Regé-Jean Page, Jessica Henwick, Dhanush, Wagner Moura And Alfre Woodard.

The fact that Mark Greaney has written a dozen novels in The Gray Man series opens up endless prairies of potential sequels for the Russo brothers.

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Excuse me, but many characters don’t survive. Will you renew the cast in the sequel?

There will be new entries, but it is not necessary that the next film be set after this one (N.d’A .: on Zoom the director shows a sardonic smile), nothing prevents us from going back in time!

After two films by Captain America and two of the Avengerswhere you entered the theme of death among superheroes, you wrote the graphic novel and the screenplay for Tyler Rakewhere is it Chris Hemsworth is a mercenary, then in Cherry – Innocence lost you have transformed Tom Holland in a veteran with post-traumatic stress now Chris Evans he’s a psycho killer. What is it, a revenge against the Avengers?

This is a good question and a correct observation. The fact is that both Joe and I like that there is a challenging component to the narrative. If you don’t feel the danger, if there isn’t a sense of loss, you can’t really really touch the emotions. We want to offer the viewer a complex experience that must be fun, exciting and electrifying, but also like it because it is not trivial. The facts you mentioned are our way of trying to make things less easy.

The Gray Man – Chris Evans is Lloyd Hansen. Cr. Paul Abell / Netflix © 2022

You and Joe are brothers and you direct the films together. It is not a unique case, but how are you organized?

Since every solo director works a little differently than every other, I think every team works differently too. For my brother and I the process is very fluid and there is just a lot of communication. We don’t divide things, but we stay in them, with an almost uninterrupted dialogue between us about what we are trying to do: what ideas surprise us, what excites us and how we can challenge each other’s ideas, playing with them and blasting them forward. and back, even to the point of distorting them, in order to find different ways of exploring them. This is our pre-creative process, then we start incorporating our other collaborators: the cinematographer, the designers, the actors, the composers, to bring them all to the center of our process.

The Gray Man at the cinema it is visually great, what effect makes you think it will mostly be seen on platform?

As you noticed, though The Gray Man is a Netflix movie we designed and shot it to be lived in the cinema. Obviously for home streaming the vision will be more compressed: even if the image is the same it will be seen on a smaller screen and we have taken care of a different sound mix, because what you hear in a room with 40 speakers is not the same compared to to the sound of a system homemade. We love film editing at the highest level and hope that as things evolve streamers will shift between cinemas and home viewing more smoothly – that’s what we’re working on. The thing Joe and I care about is that we can now see the stories: this comes from our work with Marvel, from all the work we have done with Chris Marcus and Stephen McFeely, our writing partners.tura at Marvel and now our partners in AGBO, the production company where we only think about telling universes of stories and exploring every narrative possibility, whether this is another series of films, or other forms of media. After all, my brother and I have grown up as a movie fan and still are.

the gray man
The Gray Man (2022). Ryan Gosling as Six. Cr. Paul Abell / Netflix © 2022

How has this affected your creativity?

When you are a cinephile you look at what you love and spend a lot of time living in it, exploring it and making it your own, then you start thinking about other experiences you may have in that imaginary world. As directors we want to take the material we love to understand how to explore it in many different ways in a two hour film. Streamers have given us this chance because, being a newer format, they are more willing to take risks with unconventional forms and structures of storytelling.

And what are you planning now?

We will direct The Electric State, a film based on the graphic novel by a Scandinavian artist named Simon Stålenhag. It is a story where the 90s are re-imagined as if a war had broken out. At the center of the story is a girl who is looking for her missing brother: it is a beautiful story in a sci-fi world with a lot of room for imagination.

The Gray Man, Anthony Russo between GrayVerse and possible sequels