Ang Lee’s new action movie has found its leading lady, as Mary Elizabeth Winstead joins Will Smith in the cast of Gemini Man. The notoriously long-gestating project has sparked into life during recent months and Winstead is reportedly playing a crucial role in the plot, which will see two versions of the Bright actor pitted against each other in a fight to the death.
The pitch for Gemini Man has been around since at least 1997, when it was under development with Disney and tapped for direction by Tony Scott (Top Gun). It failed to go into production and in the following two decades was subsequently linked to actors like Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, and Nicolas Cage. Directors like Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) and Joe Carnahan (The Grey) were also attached to the project at certain times. But it was only when Skydance Media got involved in 2017 and Ang Lee signed on to direct the film, that pre-production started in earnest. Will Smith was announced as the lead playing the titular character, an aging assassin called Henry who is forced to fight a clone of himself that is 25 years younger when he dares to cross his employers.
The film has now taken another significant step forward as THR reports that Winstead has signed on to play the female lead. The actress is reportedly taking the role of a fellow operative who works for the same sinister company that Henry does. Originally tasked with simply monitoring his actions, she finds herself eventually joining forces with him as his vicious younger clone tries to kill him. Winstead was one of three names said to be under consideration for the role, with the others being Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) and Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2).
Winstead is no stranger to sci-fi action, having lived through the possibly apocalyptic events of 10 Cloverfield Lane and facing off against the alien shapeshifter in the 2011 prequel of The Thing. She also drew a lot of recent critical praise with her portrayal of the resourceful grifter Nikki Swango in season 3 of Fargo, which coincidentally saw her acting alongside two versions of Ewan McGregor as the Stussy Brothers. Hopefully the as-yet-unnamed role in Gemini Man will be fleshed out enough to be more than just a foil to Smith’s character, or a victim for the ‘evil twin’, as the actress is a strong choice and should certainly be able to impress in the film with the right material.
The signing comes as Clive Owen is still in talks to play the main villain, who is reportedly the head of the cloning program and a major threat to the safety of the original Henry. Jerry Bruckheimer is producing along with Skydance’s David Ellison and Dana Goldberg, and Paramount are said to be looking at principal photography to start next month in February. Hopefully with the cast coming together, and the seasoned talents of Lee and Smith, the film will be a superior actioner worth keeping an eye on when it is released in 2019. We’ll bring you further updates as we get them.
Gemini Man will be released on October 4th, 2019