Avengers: Endgame is almost upon us, and with its arrival, superstar directors Joe and Anthony Russo will bow out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe until the next superhero blockbuster comes along that catches their fancy. Until that day comes, though, they’re going to be kept very busy.
Deadline recently broke the news that MGM has made an “inventive deal” with the siblings and their AGBO Films company. Essentially, the partnership will allow them to co-develop, co-finance, and co-produce projects with MGM, with the main focus placed on overseeing remakes of titles from the media conglomerate’s impressive library. Some original movies will also appear from time to time.
Here’s what Joe Russo had to say about their new venture:
“This deal reflects the fundamental tenets upon which AGBO was built: a storytelling driven studio designed to develop and produce a complex array of narrative in an ever-evolving landscape. Artist ownership is primary to our agenda, and we’ll be serving as partners on every film. It’s also an amazing opportunity for AGBO to work with MGM, which owns one of the greatest libraries in the world.”
Up first is a reworking of The Thomas Crown Affair, in which Michael B. Jordan is attached to star. The Russos could also be set to direct this version heist caper, but that’s still to be confirmed. The Russos incorporated thriller elements into Captain America: The Winter Soldier to great effect, so the idea of them tackling a heist film that allows them to explore the thriller genre again is an exciting notion.
Another remake that’s being overseen by the brothers is Poltergeist, a chiller about a haunted house built on an ancient burial ground. Considering that we saw an underwhelming remake of Tobe Hooper’s 1982 spookfest in 2015, this one is difficult to get excited about. It just feels unnecessary. Of course, if the dead must be disturbed once again, at least a pair of talented filmmakers will be on hand to lend some creative input.
The deal also has them eyeing a live-action/animation hybrid remake of The Rats of Nimh, based on the Newbery Medal-winning children’s book series by author Robert C. O’Brien. The story follows a field mouse that recruits a group of fellow rodents to save her home from destruction. This one has been in the works since 2015, with MGM previously hiring Ice Age‘s Michael Berg to pen the script.
Those seeking originality, however, will be pleased to know that Hacienda, which was written by Aaron Berg Krysty Wilson-Cairns, is also in the works as part of the collaboration. We don’t know a lot about this project yet, but it’s nice to know that there is one movie on the horizon that isn’t a redo of concepts we’re familiar with.
If that’s not enough to keep the pair busy for the foreseeable future, they also have some television projects in various stages of development. Some of their upcoming production credits include the detective series 21 Bridges, which features the all-star pairing of Sienna Miller and Chadwick Boseman. On top of that, they’re involved in Dhaka, a mercenary series starring Chris Hemsworth and David Harbor. The Emily Mortimer-led horror show Relic and crime drama Mosul are also in post-production as we speak.
That’s not all.
Back in 2016, it was also announced that the brothers were creating a small screen reimagining of Walter Hill’s The Warriors for Paramount TV. We haven’t heard any updates for a while, but it hasn’t been canceled yet either. The Russos knack for delivering intense and impressive action fare makes them perfect for this series, and I hope it happens eventually.
It’s been a minute since we heard anything about their planned FX series The Mastermind. The project, which also involves Legion’s Noah Taylor and The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman, is about a drug kingpin who becomes an FBI informant. The Russos signed on to executive produce the series and direct some episodes. Now that Disney has finally acquired FX and other Fox properties, perhaps the House of Mouse will speed this one up given that their golden duo is involved.
In 2018, Deadline also revealed that the brothers will return to the world of superheroes for a small screen Quantum and Woody adaptation, based on the Valiant Comics superheroes of the same names. Should this go ahead as planned, we can expect to see it on TBS at some point in the future.
Amazon Studios is also trying to take over the world at the moment. In a bid to up their game in the streaming wars, they’ve recruited the Russos to develop an ambitious international espionage series. As noted by Deadline, the Russo brothers will direct several episodes of the yet-to-be-titled saga, which has been described as “an action-packed spy series with a compelling emotional center.” According to the report, the series will kick off with an international tentpole series, followed by several connected foreign language series that will kick off with shows based in India and Italy.
Elsewhere, the duo is creating a TV adaptation of the horror-adventure video game Little Nightmares, which follows the adventures of a nine-year-old girl called Six who finds herself trapped on a very scary ship. Horror isn’t a genre the duo is known for, so it’ll be interesting to see how they approach this one.
Now that their Marvel duties are coming to an end for now, perhaps they’ll find some time to focus on The Hero’s Awakening, their planned Chinese superhero movie that was announced in 2016 only to get put to one side. Given that the siblings have mastered the superhero opus, any time they dip their toes into that genre is always going to be exciting. To see them helm a non-Hollywood offering would be refreshing.
That said, most of these projects are still in the early stages. Until they hit our screens, we can’t guarantee on seeing them come to fruition. More than anything, though, fans want to know what their next co-directorial effort will be following Endgame. Well, they’ll be pleased to know that they’re re-teaming with Tom Holland for Cherry, a drama based on a true story about a military medic suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who decides to start robbing banks. While the movie is more lowkey than their Marvel fare, that premise suggests lots of excitement is in store for us.
The Russos slate is stacked for years to come. However, their propensity for getting involved in new projects means that we can probably expect a lot more in the coming months and years as well. It’s exhausting to keep up with them, but too much is better than not enough, right?