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Upcoming political thriller The Independent has added a second duo of big name stars.
John Cena and Kathy Bates have joined the feature, first announced by The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month from Toronto, and will star alongside Jodie Turner-Smith (After Yang, Queen & Slim) and Brian Cox (Succession, Manhunter).
Financed and sold globally by The Exchange, the film comes from Emmy-nominated director Amy Rice (HBO’s By The People: The Election of Barack Obama, upcoming doc Broadway Rising) working from a top ranked Black List script penned by Evan Parter (currently writing the upcoming Amazon Studios original Untitled John Dean Feature, set to star Chris Pine).
Set in the final weeks of the most consequential presidential election in history, The Independent follows an idealistic young journalist (Turner-Smith) who teams up with her idol (Cox) to uncover a conspiracy that places the fate of the election, and the country, in their hands. THR understands that Bates will play the first female presidential candidate, while Cena, joint lead with Turner-Smith, plays an independent presidential candidate.
“We’re incredibly excited to partner with Kathy Bates and John Cena on The Independent,” said Brian O’Shea, CEO of The Exchange. “Kathy’s exceptional acting skills, paired with Cena’s global appeal and ability to transform on-screen, make them incredible additions to this film. We couldn’t be happier that they’ve signed on.”
Cena has had a busy summer with the releases of F9: The Fast Saga, The Suicide Squad and Hulu’s most-ever viewed original film Vacation Friends. He’ll next be seen reprising his Suicide Squad role in the upcoming HBO Max series Peacemaker, followed by Matthew Vaughn’s all-star spy thriller Argylle. Meanwhile, the Oscar-winning Bates — recently seen in Warner Brother’s Richard Jewell — will next appear in Lionsgate’s feature adaption of Judy Blume’s classic novel, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. She will also star in Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s film, The Miracle Club.
Ryan Cunningham of Anonymous Content (The Revenant, Spotlight, Winter’s Bone) and Emmy-winning producers Sam Bisbee of Park Pictures (Truffle Hunters, Hearts Beat Loud, Infinitely Polar Bear) and Thea Dunlap (The Sentence, The Hero, Farewell Amor) are set to produce The Independent alongside Caddy Vanasirikul of The Exchange (The Stand In) and Parter. Lance Acord and Jackie Kelman Bisbee of Park Pictures and Brian O’Shea and Nat McCormick of The Exchange are serving as executive producers.
Bates and Cena are represented by ICM Partners.
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