Has Netfllix found its Bond? As Ryan Gosling stars in spy movie ' The Gray Man '.

Los Angeles: In the new Netflix [NFLX.O] film The Gray Man, Ryan Gosling's character jokes that he goes by the name Six because 007 was taken. The film is a big budget, effects-filled thriller in the spirit of James Bond adventure.

Netflix Inc and the movie's director's hope the film, which starts streaming on Friday, will launch the company's own long-running spy series.

Gosling stars as Sierra Six, a former inmate sprung from prison by the CIA in exchange for servitude in a secret program. ''I've always wanted to make an action movie,'' Gosling told Reuters.

''Action was my first love. It made me fall in love with movies in the first place. It took a minute to get there and find the right one.

THE GRAY MAN is based on a novel by Mark Greaney and directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the brothers who helmed Marvel's mega-block buster Avengers : Endgame.

The Russos said Netflix allowed them to bring their full vision to the screen. Gray Man was filmed at seven locations around the world from Azerbaijan to Croatia and France.

''We wanted to be very ambitious with this movie,'' Anthony Russo said. ''It is hard to shoot action. It's expensive to shoot action, and Netflix was up for this level of ambition.''

The movie packs in nine major action sequences, including a gun battle in a public square in Prague. ''It was a real trial by fire for me having it be my first action film,'' Gosling said.

Chris Evans plays Gosling's nemesis, an assassin named Lloyd Hansen who was expelled from the CIA for excessive tactics.

''He's unapologetically himself,'' Evans said of the character. ''I think most of us walk through the world measuring who we are based on on who we think we're supposed to be, and Lloyd is unbound by those social norms.''

The Gray Man is playing exclusively in cinemas this week before hitting Netflix. As of Monday, Gray Man had a 52% positive rating among reviews collected on the Rotten Tomatoes website.

Audiences were more enthusiastic, with 89% of commenters on the site giving a thumbs-up.

The Russos hope the film will be popular enough to warrant future installments. ''Whether it's exploring the events after the Original Gray Man movie, or before, or where we choose to go, there's a lot adoption in this universe,'' Anthony Russo said.

Produced by the Russo brothers' company, AGBO, the film is intended to start a franchise based upon Greney's Gray Man novel was originally announced in 2011, 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 it, with both Gosling and Evans attached to star. Filming began in Los Angeles in March 2021.

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. It received mixed reviews from critics with praise for the ensemble cast, but criticism toward the ''cliched script and breakneck pacing.'' [Reuters]


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