The Gray Man is a 2022 American action thriller film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay the latter co-wrote with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Mark Greaney. The film stars Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Regé-Jean Page, Wagner Moura, Julia Butters, Dhanush, Alfre Woodard, and Billy Bob Thornton. Produced by the Russo brothers’ company, AGBO, the film is intended to start a franchise based upon Greaney’s Gray Man novels.
An adaption of Greaney’s novel was originally announced in 2011, with James Gray set to direct Brad Pitt, and later Charlize Theron in a gender-swapped role, though neither version ever came to fruition. The property lingered in development hell until July 2020, when it was announced the Russo brothers would direct, with both Gosling and Evans attached to star. Filming began in Los Angeles in March 2021, before wrapping in Prague that July. With a production budget of $200 million, it is among the most expensive films made by Netflix.
The Gray Man began a limited theatrical release on July 15, 2022 followed by its digital release on Netflix on July 22. It received mixed reviews from critics with praise for the ensemble cast, but criticism toward the “clichéd script and breakneck pacing.
The project was first set up at New Regency, with James Gray set to direct a screenplay written by Adam Cozad in January 2011. Brad Pitt was initially cast to star, but by October 2015 he and Gray were no longer involved with the film. Charlize Theron entered talks to star in a genderswapped version of the film at Sony Pictures, with Anthony and Joe Russo writing the screenplay.
No further development was announced until July 2020, when the Russo brothers were announced to direct the film, from a screenplay by Joe Russo, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, with additional material written by Anna Gregory, Charles Leavitt, Rhett Reese, Joe Schrapnel, and Paul Wernick, for Netflix, with the intention to spawn a franchise. Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans were cast to star in the film. In December, Dhanush, Ana de Armas, Jessica Henwick, Wagner Moura, and Julia Butters were added to the cast. Regé-Jean Page, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfre Woodard, Eme Ikwuakor, and Scott Haze joined the cast in March 2021. An April article about shooting in Prague had Michael Gandolfini included in the cast. In May 2021, DeObia Oparei joined the cast of the film.
Filming was to commence on January 18, 2021, in Long Beach, California, but was pushed back to March 1. Page wrapped his role within the first month of shooting. It filmed in Europe in the spring, with locations including Prague, Czech Republic, the Château de Chantilly in France and Croatia. Filming in Prague took place from June 27, 2021. Filming wrapped on July 31, 2021.
- Ryan Reynolds as Adam Reed, a time pilot in a dystopian 2050 who risks his life to try and uncover the truth behind his wife’s disappearance.
- Walker Scobell as young Adam Reed, a bullied 6th grader in 2022 who suffers from asthma.
- Mark Ruffalo as Louis Reed, Adam’s father and a brilliant quantum physicist who wrote the algorithm necessary for controlled time travel. Reed died sometime in 2021 in a car accident, and Adam still suffers from depression over it.
- Jennifer Garner as Ellie Reed, Adam’s mother. Garner also portrays her younger self in 2018.
- Catherine Keener as Maya Sorian, a businesswoman who funded Louis’ research and later took advantage of his death to monopolize it for her own benefit and create a future where she is the most powerful woman in the world.
- Keener also portrays her younger self through de-aging, with Lucie Guest as her body double.
- Zoe Saldaña as Laura Shane, Adam’s wife and a fellow time pilot left stranded in 2018 after a failed attempt on her life. Saldaña also portrays her alternate version in the changed timeline.
- Alex Mallari Jr. as Christos, Adam and Laura’s former colleague, now a ruthless security enforcer employed by Sorian.
The Gray Man began a limited theatrical release on July 15, 2022, followed by its release on Netflix on July 22. Though Netflix does not report theatrical grosses for its titles, distribution insiders estimated the film made around $200,000 from about 400 theaters in its opening weekend.
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