'The Gray Man' was a great opportunity to work with Dhanush: Joe Russo

The South star, who makes his Hollywood debut in the Netflix film that drops this Friday, said in turn that he felt he had a responsibility to deliver so filmmakers from the West continue to come for more talent to India.
'The Gray Man' was a great opportunity to work with Dhanush: Joe Russo

NEW DELHI: “We just think that we are on the cusp of an explosion of Indian talent around the world,'' says filmmaker Joe Russo. Perhaps why he and brother Anthony Russo, who together make up the famous Russo Brothers, picked on Dhanush for a key role in their latest film “The Gray Man''.

The South star, who makes his Hollywood debut in the Netflix film that drops this Friday, said in turn that he felt he had a responsibility to deliver so filmmakers from the West continue to come for more talent to India.

“That's the only thing that I had in my mind. I didn't feel any other pressure when I was working on 'The Gray Man'.” Dhanush said at a virtual roundtable interview with Joe and Anthony Russo. “Of course, they are the Russos, they're going to capture the best version of you anyway,'' the actor said in response to a question by PTI.

Joe said both he and his brother have particular interest and love for Indian talent. “There is only one other country in the world that creates movies on the scale of Hollywood and that's India. When you have a really robust film community, like in India, it produces talents with a lot of experience in front of the camera,” he added.

The Russo Brothers, known for directing superhero blockbusters ''Captain America: Winter Soldier'', ''Captain America: Civil War'' and ''Avengers: Infinity War'', said now is the best time to be an actor with diversity.

''Films are becoming more and more global. There are more possibilities than there ever have been,” Anthony said.

In the past four years, the director duo has also collaborated with Randeep Hooda for their Chris Hemsworth-led production ''Extraction'' (2020), and with Priyanka Chopra Jonas on the forthcoming Amazon Studio series ''Citadel''.

''The Gray Man'' is a global story which made for a perfect collaboration with Dhanush, said Joe.

The Russo Brothers said they were impressed with Dhanush's work in his films and created the part of Avik San especially for the Indian superstar.

Joe said they came across Dhanush's movies while researching for the action sequences for their Marvel projects.

''We saw two or three clips of Dhanush and they were fantastic. That's really how we came to know Dhanush while working on the Marvel films. He really inspired a couple of hand-to-hand combat sequences in those movies,'' he added.

The directors have penned “The Gray Man” with frequent collaborators Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus.

Based on Mark Greaney's 2009 novel of the same name, it is a spy action thriller revolving around freelance assassin and former CIA operative Court Gentry aka Sierra Six (Ryan Gosling) who is hunted across the world by Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans) and other international assassins.

''This film was a great opportunity to work with Dhanush because it's such a global story. And the concept is that assassins from all over the world get hired to stop Six and we thought it would be fantastic to get Dhanush to play the most deadly assassin of them all, who was the one who actually does stop him.'' According to Dhanush, the Russo Brothers make everything really fun, simple and easy.

“They walk you through the film, they talk about your character and make the process nice and smooth,'' the 38-year-old National Award winner added.

His character in the movie is described by the Russos as a ''high-level assassin'' with a strong code of conduct. The makers, who had been developing the film for 10 years, said they decided to take a mysterious approach towards Dhanush's character.

''We like characters which are mysterious and hold their cards close to their vest. He was intended to be a high-level assassin who comes in and is the only one who can stop Six. There is a unique introduction to him which gives us an understanding that he might be more contemplative than other assassins, who are more wild and erratic, violent,'' Joe told PTI.

On a lighter note, Dhanush said he had a great time playing 'a man of few words' as he didn't have to rehearse a lot of dialogues.

''I'm not so fluent with English and I come from a different language (background) so when I found I just had a few lines, it was less stressful for me... It's a mysterious character and I actually got into the skin. That's what's been reflected on screen....” “The Gray Man” also stars Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton, Rege Jean-Page and Jessica Henwick, It is produced by the Russos and Mike Larocca via AGBO and Roth Kirschenbaum's Joe Roth, Jeff Kirschenbaum and Chris Castaldi.

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