Fans of the John Wick franchise starring Keanu Reeves will be excited to hear that Lionsgate has won a bidding war for a possible spinoff, a female-centric action script titled Ballerina.
While most details are being kept secret, the Hollywood Reporter says Ballerina will focus on a young woman raised as an assassin who must hunt down the assassins who killed her family. The film will most likely follow a similar storyline as the John Wick films.
Also pursued by Warner Bros. and Universal, the script Lionsgate picked up is described as being similar to La Femme Nikita, the 1990 film starring Anne Parillaud as a teen junkie who murders a policeman and becomes a skilled assassin.
Basil Iwanyk, whose Thunder Road Pictures company produces the John Wick franchise, will produce Ballerina. Iwanyk is best known for the John Wick franchise, Clash of the Titans, and Sicario. He is currently producing the film The Current War, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon, and will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
The script was written by 23-year-old Shay Hatten, a recent Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television graduate who is currently working as a writer’s assistant for Team Downey, Robert Downey Jr.’s production company
While interning for Team Downey, Hatten wrote Maximum King! in his free time. The script landed on both the 2016 Black List and 2016 Blood List. A dark comedy, Maximum King! takes a fictional look at how Stephen King wrote and directed his horror movie Maximum Overdrive in 1986. That film starred Emilio Estevez (The Breakfast Club), Pat Hingle (Batman), Laura Harrington (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape), and Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons).
The John Wick franchise has been very successful for Iwanyk and Lionsgate. The first John Wick grossed almost $90 million worldwide and John Wick: Chapter Two grossed nearly $170 million worldwide. John Wick 3 was announced earlier this year, with Iwanyk producing.