David Leitch is set to direct Charlize Theron‘s spy thriller “The Coldest City” for Focus Features and Sierra/Affinity in November after leaving Lionsgate’s action sequel “John Wick 2” in the capable hands of his frequent collaborator Chad Stahelski, TheWrap has learned.
Leitch (pictured above with Keanu Reeves) and Stahelski were in high demand following the success of the Keanu Reeves movie “John Wick” and were hired to co-direct “The Coldest City,” news of which was announced during Cannes.
The duo had been expected to co-direct “John Wick 2” this fall, but as Collider recently reported, Leitch pulled out to focus on another project, which Lionsgate subsequently confirmed.
Theron found herself with a window to shoot “The Coldest City” this fall, which conflicted with “John Wick 2.” Thus, Leitch and Stahelski decided to split up, with the former tackling Theron’s film and the latter staying on to direct “John Wick 2” solo.
Leitch remains an executive producer on the sequel, and there was no acrimony between him and Stahelski regarding the departure.
Kurt Johnstad wrote the script for “The Coldest City,” which is based on the best-selling Oni Press graphic novel by Antony Johnston.
The story follows an underground MI6 officer who is killed just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Theron will play a spy who must find a list he was smuggling into the West to protect herself and the counter-intelligence community.
Theron is producing through her Denver and Delilah Productions banner along with Oni Press and Sierra Pictures. Production will start November 16 in Budapest before shooting moves to Berlin.
Focus has committed to a wide release of the film, which is budgeted around $30 million.
Leitch, who is also attached to co-direct Universal’s “Cowboy Ninja Viking” with Stahelski, is represented by WME.