With a sleeper hit this past summer in the (admittedly) star-studded Now You See Me to go along with generally serviceable work in The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans, director Louis Leterrier has begun to make a name for himself in Hollywood. It’s the project he’s just signed on to, though, that could prove he’s more than just an action man. Leterrier will direct funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen in a riff on James Bond-style spy movies entitled Grimsby.
Grimsby is from a pitch sold last year to Paramount by Cohen and co-writer Phil Johnston. With the addition of Leterrier, it would appear to be close to gaining the critical mass necessary to push it forward into production. Cohen’s credits, from Borat to Hugo to Les Miserables, are fairly well known, and while Leterrier may not (at least yet) be the next coming of Spielberg or Scorsese, he’s certainly a director on the rise. It’s Johnston, though, who may prove the lynchpin for this film’s success. Johnston’s past writing credits include the sharp indie comedy Cedar Rapids as well as last year’s extremely clever Wreck-It Ralph. His third feature script, Merry Friggin’ Christmas, attracted the talents of Robin Williams and Joel McHale, with McHale’s frequent Community director Tristram Shapeero stepping up to his first narrative feature.
Grimsby will follow the likely misadventures of a spy (presumably Cohen) forced to go on the run with his soccer hooligan brother. It’s territory that’s been explored to some extent by films like Mike Myers’ Austin Powers movies and, more recently, with the adaptation of Get Smart which starred Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, and Dwayne Johnson, but it’s hard to imagine that Cohen won’t put his own stamp on the proceedings, particularly given he co-wrote the film.
Paramount has yet to officially announce production on Grimsby, but don’t be surprised if this project comes together pretty quickly, as (at least for the moment) a Now You See Me sequel appears to be the only project which could significantly impact the production schedule.