Hitman Turned Hitwoman: Gender Reassignment Thriller Shopped at TIFF (Exclusive)

Freida Pinto Cannes H 2014
<p><span data-scayt_word="Freida" data-scaytid="2">Freida</span> Pinto Cannes H 2014</p>   |   AP Photo/Thibault Camus
'Tomboy,' currently seeking a headliner to play a male hitman who becomes a woman, has Walter Hill attached to direct and Sigourney Weaver and Freida Pinto in negotiations to co-star.

In a festival noteworthy for a pair of high-profile transgender-themed movies, an action film with a gender-reassigned protagonist quietly is being packaged and shopped to buyers.

Called Tomboy, the project, which The Solution is selling, has veteran action helmer Walter Hill (48 Hrs., Last Man Standing) attached to direct and Sigourney Weaver and Freida Pinto in various stages of negotiations to co-star. However, the project, being produced by Said Ben Said (Map to the Stars) of SBS Productions, still lacks a headliner who will play a male hitman who becomes a woman against his will. A search is underway for an actress to take on the role.

The script, written by Hill and Denis Hamill, centers on an ace assassin who is double-crossed by gangsters and falls into the hands of rogue surgeon known as “The Doctor,” who turns him into a woman. The hitman (now a hitwoman) sets out for revenge, aided by a nurse named Johnnie, who also has secrets.

If deals close, Weaver? would play the surgeon? and Pinto the nurse. The producers had zeroed in on Andrea Riseborough to portray the assassin, but a potential deal fell through because of scheduling issues with her role on the Netflix series Bloodline.

But as one of the festival’s movies has shown, having a gender-swapping protagonist only broadens the search field. Case ?in point: Tom Hooper’s drama The Danish Girl. Eddie Redmayne is earning raves for playing the part of a man who becomes one of the first to have gender-reassignment surgery, but when the project was first coming together back in the early 2000s, it was Nicole Kidman who was on board to play the character. However, the lead for About Ray — the other prominent transgender-themed movie playing in TIFF — was always meant to star a young woman, in this case Elle Fanning.

ICM Partners is representing domestic rights for Tomboy with SBS and also represents Hill.