- The Gray Man 2 needs to spend more time developing Ryan Gosling’s character to take advantage of his incredible acting range and star power.
- The first film had too much action, which overshadowed the characters and resulted in lackluster reviews.
- Ryan Gosling’s success in recent projects makes him a key factor for The Gray Man 2‘s potential success as they continue the franchise.
One of Netflix’s executives teases a key change to one of the key characters in The Gray Man 2. From directing duo Anthony and Joe Russo (known as the Russo Brothers), The Gray Man is a 2022 sci-fi film about a CIA operative who has a bounty on his head. The Gray Man was intended to be the start of a new film franchise, and The Gray Man 2 was officially confirmed last summer.
Head of Netflix Film Scott Stuber discusses changes to the story for The Gray Man 2. Speaking with Collider, Stuber said that The Gray Man 2 will “spend more time with” Ryan Gosling’s character. Later in his interview, Stuber also mentioned that there was “too much action” shoved into the first The Gray Man film, helping explain this pivot. Check out the full quote from Stuber below:
When we talk about it, the advantage we have is we have incredible actors; they’re watchable, they’re unique. So, you know, Joe and Anthony [Russo] have talked about, ‘If we go back to it, how do we spend time with this guy, Ryan Gosling,’ who I think is incredible. I just watch what he’s doing right now, and I don’t know if there’s a better actor out there in terms of his range and what he’s accomplishing. The ability to have him in a franchise like that is huge, so we gotta really slow down and make sure, ‘What makes that character great, and how do we really extend that story?’
I think we gotta get it right. You know, the guys would admit, they had the biggest theatrical hit of all time, and moving into streaming, they were aspirationally trying to do that for their own, like, ‘How do we make the biggest thing of all time?’ And we probably put too much action in that movie. There were too many action set pieces, and I think we should have slowed down a little bit on the character.
The Gray Man Faltered (But The Gray Man 2 Can Make Improvements)
In his interview, Stuber points out several key factors regarding The Gray Man. First, the film was only the second (after 2021’s Cherry) directorial effort from The Russo Brothers after Avengers: Endgame. The Marvel film made just under $2.8 billion at the global box office, making it “the biggest theatrical hit of all time.” With The Gray Man, the Russo Brothers were forging their first attempt at an original action franchise, leaving themselves with a lot of room to grow.
Secondly, Stuber highlights the fact that The Gray Man’s action was sometimes a disservice to its characters. The Gray Man received lackluster reviews upon its release, scoring 44% on Rotten Tomatoes. Its detractors felt that The Gray Man struggled with its screenplay, particularly with thin action sequences that did not make good use of its charismatic actors. Perhaps then the way that The Gray Man 2 needs to improve its screenplay is to draw attention back towards the characters, as Stuber suggests.
I don’t know if there’s a better actor out there in terms of [Gosling’s] range and what he’s accomplishing.
Lastly, Stuber identifies the secret to success for The Gray Man 2: Ryan Gosling. After his performance in Barbie, Gosling is even more of a star than he was already considered prior. The Gray Man 2 has the opportunity to ride this success and hopefully will do so as they lock into the next installment of The Gray Man franchise.
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