Netflix has acquired the rights to an original pitch from writer Tom Wheeler currently titled “John Henry and the Statesmen,” which stars Dwayne Johnson and will be directed by Jake Kasdan.
Johnson and Kasdan previously worked together on “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” Johnson will also serve as producer on the film alongside Kasdan and Seven Bucks Productions’ Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia and Beau Flynn of FlynnPicture Co. Melvin Mar (“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”), FPC’s Wendy Jacobson and Wheeler will executive produce.
Johnson will star as John Henry while leading an ensemble cast of the most popular figures from folklore from all around the world. There was a bidding war for the project that Netflix ultimately won the rights for.
“Netflix is the perfect partner and platform for us to continue entertaining our global audience in a disruptive way,” said Johnson in a statement. “These diverse characters speak to a legacy of storytelling that is more relevant than ever and span across a worldwide audience regardless of age, gender, race or geography.”
“We have been committed to an international storytelling model for more than a decade. Our partnership with Netflix is giving us an incredible opportunity to reach a broad and diverse audience in the most accessible and intimate manner. We are absolutely thrilled with the opportunity,” Garcia added.
“Dwayne is a global superstar, inarguably one of the most popular actors in the world. He and Jake are a tremendous duo with a proven track record of entertaining audiences worldwide,” Scott Stuber, head of Netflix’s film group, said. We’re delighted to be able to partner with them and collaborate with Seven Bucks Productions and FPC. This is a story with universal appeal and we can’t wait to bring these characters to families around the globe.”
Seven Bucks Productions and FlynnPictureCo. most recently collaborated on Johnson’s “Jungle Cruise,” which co-starred Emily Blunt. Johnson and Seven Bucks are currently filming Universal’s “Hobbs and Shaw,” while Kasdan is in pre-production for the “Jumanji” sequel.
Johnson, Kasdan and Wheeler are represented by WME.