While ongoing COVID-19 woes have halted the traditional theatrical experience, streaming companies like Netflix have only strengthened their brand as many viewers around the world continue to lead largely indoor existences. In a move that shows the level of confidence they have about the future of the platform, Netflix on Friday was announced as having put up its biggest original movie budget yet for a new thriller starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans.

The Gray Man, based on a series of books by Mark Greaney, is being built as a potential franchise-launcher for Gosling. According to Deadline, who first reported the news on Friday, Joe and Anthony Russo are directing from a script penned by Joe that boasts some polishing contributions from Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus.

Gosling will star as former CIA operative Court Gentry, a freelance assassin whose current predicament includes the presumed annoyance of being chased around the world by his former fellow agency associate Lloyd Hansen, played by Evans. 

"The idea is to create a franchise and build out a whole universe, with Ryan at the center of it," Joe Russo said on Friday, adding that Netflix is "the perfect place" for the expected hit to call home. "We have all committed to the first movie, and that's got to be great to get us to the second movie."

As for that massive budget, Friday's report placed it as being "upwards of $200 million." If current plans hold, production will begin in Los Angeles in January 2021.

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