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Dwayne Johnson is chilling with Netflix.
The streaming giant has picked up John Henry and the Statesmen, a project that reteams the actor with his Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle director Jake Kasdan.
Johnson will star in and produce the film, an original pitch from Tom Wheeler, whose credits include The Lego Ninjago Movie and Puss in Boots.
Johnson will portray Henry, the mythic African-American steel-driver from American folklore, and will lead an ensemble cast of the most popular figures from folklore and legend from all around the world.
“Netflix is the perfect partner and platform for us to continue entertaining our global audience in a disruptive way,” Johnson said Tuesday 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.”
Joining Johnson as producers will be Kasdan, Seven Bucks Productions’ Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia, who helped develop the project, and longtime collaborator Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo.
John Henry was acquired in a bidding-war situation.
Netlfix’s head of film Scott Stuber touted the worldwide nature of the project and Johnson’s appearance, saying the story had universal appeal and calling Johnson a global superstar.
“Developing an expansive universe of characters that present a needle-moving premise while entertaining our domestic and international audiences, is a priority for Seven Bucks Productions,” said Hiram Garcia. “Tom’s brilliant concept aligned perfectly with our company’s creative sensibilities. We are ecstatic to develop this shared universe populated by a vast library of American and international folk heroes. The possibilities are limitless.”
Seven Bucks and FlynnPictureCo. recently wrapped Johnson’s Jungle Cruise for Disney, and Johnson and Seven Bucks are currently filming Universal’s Hobbs and Shaw in London.
Kasdan is in preproduction on a sequel to Jumanji that Sony will release in December 2019. Wheeler is currently showrunning the Netflix series Cursed, based on a book he authored that was illustrated by Frank Miller.
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