Back in 2019, Netflix picked up the big screen adaptation of Tom Clancy’s The Division, the video game franchise from Ubisoft. Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain are attached to star and produce, and Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2 director David Leitch was slated to be at the helm of the action-thriller. However, Leitch has now opted to take a step back and only produce the film, letting Netflix’s Red Notice director Rawson Marshall Thurber step up to direct.
Collider has news on Tom Clancy’s The Division movie swapping out directors. Leitch being attached to the movie was something that made the project a little more exciting than your average video game adaptation, mostly because his eye for spectacular action is one of the best in the business right now. Though it might feel like Thurber is a step down from Leitch, Netflix must be confident in what he delivered with Red Notice to give him the gig. And with Leitch still producing, he probably had to sign off on the change, which should be a vote of confidence.
What’s interesting about Thurber is only recently has he stepped into straight-up action territory. He started off with the comedy Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, got a little more high concept with the drug smuggling comedy We’re the Millers, dug even more into action with Central Intelligence, and then went into full blown action mode with Skyscraper. The latter wasn’t exactly a triumph, but it was enough for Dwayne Johnson to reteam with him again on Red Notice, and hopefully that will pay off.
As for The Division, the story is set in a future where a virus is spread via paper money on Black Friday, decimating the city of New York. By Christmas, what’s left of society has descended into chaos. A group of civilians, trained to operate in catastrophic times, are activated to save who and what remains. Even though it’s a viral thriller, it thankfully sounds removed from the coronavirus pandemic.
The script was originally in the hands of Rafe Judkins, a writer on Chuck and Agents of SHIELD, but now Thurber will take a crack at co-writing the script himself along with up and coming writer Ellen Shanman. Considering the talent involved, this has me wondering if there’s maybe a slight comedic angle that will be present among the action.
Thurber will also produce by way of his Bad Version, and Leitch remains on board to produce by way of 87North. Ubisoft Film and Television is also producing alongside Jake Gyllenhaal’s Nine Stories and Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films.
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