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Dave Bautista Teams With J.J. Perry, Lionsgate for Action-Comedy ‘The Killer’s Game’

After bidding adieu to Drax the Destroyer with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Dave Bautista has set his next movie: action-comedy The Killer’s Game.

Lionsgate has come aboard the long-in-development project, acquiring worldwide distribution rights and setting J.J. Perry, the stuntman who made his directorial debut with Day Shift, to helm the feature.

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Lionsgate will launch sales of Game at the Cannes film market, with production to begin this summer.

Based on a novel by Jay Bonansinga, Game follows a veteran assassin named Joe Flood (Bautista) who is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. In order to set up his loved one financially, he authorizes a kill on himself. However, after ordering the kill, he finds out that he was misdiagnosed and must then fend off the army of former colleagues trying to take him out.

Rand Ravich and Simon Kinberg wrote the script, which has recent rewrites by James Coyne.

Hollywood has been trying to get this assassin movie project off the ground for easily over two decades. It was set up at Paramount in 2004 with then high-flying Intermedia co-producing. That was after then-hot directors such as Alex Proyas, Renny Harlin, Wolfgang Petersen and John Woo had flirted with it.

Broad Green was Game’s home in 2015 before STX picked it up in 2018 and landed Jason Statham to star and D.J. Caruso to direct. Statham fell off and in 2019 Bautista first came aboard before the project once again languished.

Mad Chance’s Andrew Lazar, who has been tethered to this throughout the decades, is producing with Endurance Media’s Steve Richards. Endurance Media is financing the project.

“Lionsgate is the perfect home for this project,” Richards said in a statement. “They have consistently proven their ability to connect action audiences with the best films in the genre. We are believers that The Killer’s Game is the perfect mix of action and comedy, and right now, there’s no one better at threading that needle than Dave Bautista. We can’t wait to get started.”

“Andrew and Steve brought us a package we couldn’t refuse,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group president Nathan Kahane. “We foresee strong interest from the marketplace, and we’re confident that its mix of bold action, star power and fun writing will thrill audiences everywhere.”

Bautista and Jonathan Meisner will executive produce for Dogbone Entertainment. Jake Katofsky and Vanessa Humphrey will co-produce. Also producing is Kia Jam. Scott Lambert serves as executive producer.

Bautista will next be seen in the second part of Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Dune. He is repped by CAA, Meisner Entertainment Group and Jackoway Austen.

Perry spent 25 years as a stuntman, stunt coordinator and second unit director, working on movies ranging from the original Mortal Kombat and Blade to installments of the Fast and Furious franchise. He is part of the 87Eleven Action Design and a protégé of Chad Stahelski. Perry made his feature directorial debut last year with Netflix action-comedy Day Shift, which starred Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco. He is repped WME, manager Holly Jeter and Sloane Offer.

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