Following the success of Sony’s “Jump Street” franchise, New Line plans to investigate its own buddy action-comedy, enlisting two of Hollywood’s hottest stars: Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. Sources confirm to Variety the duo will star in “Central Intelligence,” with “We’re the Millers” filmmaker Rawson Marshall Thurber directing the movie.
Scott Stuber will produce through his Bluegrass Films banner, along with Peter Principato and Paul Young of Principato-Young Entertainment. “The Hangover” star Ed Helms is exec producing.
The story begins with a class reunion approaching, as a former high school sports star turned accountant (Hart) is contacted by a classmate (Johnson) who was bullied and humiliated back in the day. The “loser” that the accountant remembers is now a CIA contract killer who ropes him into helping foil a plot to sell classified military secrets.
The original “Central Intelligence” writers are Ike Barinholtz and Dave Stassen, with Sean Anders and John Morris writing a subsequent draft and Thurber taking another pass on the latest script.
New Line plans to begin shooting in the spring with Sam Brown and Michael Disco overseeing. Beau Bauman is managing for Bluegrass.
Both Johnson and Hart began teasing a possible team-up over the weekend via Twitter and Instagram.
New Line, based at Warner Bros., has enjoyed success through previous projects with both Thurber and Johnson, and Johnson has a number of jobs lined up at the studio — he is currently attached to return for two more “Journey to the Center of the Earth” sequels and will play Black Adam in superhero pic “Shazam.” He is also set to star in disaster film “San Andreas,” which bows next summer.
Thurber is coming off “We’re the Millers,” which grossed $269 million worldwide.
The movie gives New Line the opportunity to team two of the biggest names in their respective genres in one film. Hart has enjoyed a lucrative year with both “Ride Along” and “Think Like a Man Too” striking box office gold. Hart recently finished filming the “Ride Along” sequel and has “The Wedding Ringer” for Screen Gems set to bow on Jan. 16, followed by “Get Hard” with Will Ferrell for Warner Bros., which will open March 27.
Johnson has shown his versatility in his ability to move from action-heavy movies to comedies with ease, and “Central Intelligence” looks set to combine both genres. The star’s most recent pic was “Hercules,” which has grossed $242 million at the worldwide box office, and he can next be seen in “Fast and Furious 7,” which bows in April. On the small screen, Johnson will executive produce and star in “Ballers,” a half-hour comedy that HBO recently picked up to series.
He is repped by WME and The Garcia Companies. Hart is repped by UTA and 3 Arts.