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Jessica Chastain Leads an All-Star Women’s Spy Squad in The 355 Trailer

Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong'o, Penelope Cruz, and Fan Bingbing round out the cast.

Back in the spring of 2018 (were we ever so young), Jessica Chastain announced she was starring in and producing an all-female international spy thriller. Chastain made the announcement at the Cannes Film Festival, where she introduced her A-list cast of co-stars, which includes Lupita Nyong’o, Penelope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, and Marion Cotillard (Cotillard has since been replaced with Diane Kruger). Also joining the cast are Edgar Ramirez and Sebastian Stan.

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The film’s synopsis reads: “When a top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands, wild card CIA agent Mason “Mace” Brown (Oscar®-nominated actress Jessica Chastain) will need to join forces with rival badass German agent Marie (Diane Kruger, In the Fade), former MI6 ally and cutting-edge computer specialist Khadijah (Oscar® winner Lupita Nyong’o), and skilled Colombian psychologist Graciela (Oscar® winner Penélope Cruz) on a lethal, breakneck mission to retrieve it, while also staying one-step ahead of a mysterious woman, Lin Mi Sheng (Fan Bingbing, X-Men: Days of Future Past), who is tracking their every move.”

Finally, the film’s first trailer has landed, and the results play like a female-driven Jason Bourne film meets Mission: Impossible. A kickass action film starring our favorite actresses? Yeah, we’re interested. Less interesting is the man behind the camera. Simon Kinberg co-wrote (with Theresa Rebeck) and directed the film. Unfortunately, Kinberg’s last film, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, was both a commercial and critical flop. Kinberg squandered the franchise’s female talent, in what was his second attempt to bring the Dark Phoenix saga to life.

The title is based on Agent 355, which was the code name of a female spy during the American Revolution. Agent 355 was a part of the Culper Ring, and is widely considered to be the first American female spy ever.

I’m excited for the film, but once again annoyed that a female-driven action film isn’t being helmed by a female director. Like Ocean’s 8, the film is co-written and directed by man. And it’s not as if there aren’t any brilliant female action directors out there: from Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Old Guard) to Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) to Cathy Yan (Birds of Prey) to Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), this film could have easily been directed by a woman. And, it must be said, if any of those women had made a flop like Dark Phoenix, they would be unhireable for years after. The double standard is exhausting and all too predictable.

Here’s hoping that The 355 delivers a hard-hitting and entertaining spy romp. After all, we need more female-driven action franchises. And if it does maybe let a lady direct the sequel?

The 355 is set to hit theaters on January 15, 2021, pandemic notwithstanding.

(via Collider, featured image: Universal Pictures)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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