Ryan Gosling is taking a detour from Barbie world to take a trip down under. Per Variety, the actor is set to star in “The Fall Guy,” a feature film adaptation of the 1980s TV series of the same name, that will shoot in Sydney, Australia. The original series starring Lee Majors ran from 1981 to 1986 and followed the life of a Hollywood stunt man with a side hustle as a bounty hunter to make ends meet. Major’s character Colt Seavers used disguises and a skilled team of fellow stunt performers to hunt down “swindlers, thieves, bikers, conmen, fugitives, corrupt officials and more.” Their Hollywood knowledge made their gambit possible as they caught criminals across the state.
Last we heard, the film was set to be directed by David Leitch, the former stunt man known for co-directing “John Wick” and more recently helming “Deadpool 2,” “Hobbs and Shaw,” and the upcoming Brad Pitt thriller, “Bullet Train.” Universal landed the rights to “The Fall Guy” after a competitive bidding war and now filming is set to begin in Sydney later this year. According to Paul Fletcher, Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, “the production is expected to inject more than A$244 million ($171 million) into the Australian economy.” With the film partly set at a film studio, it also presents a unique opportunity to spotlight Sydney’s film studio facilities and landscape. In a statement, Fletcher said:
“We are pleased to welcome The Fall Guy down under with $30 million ($21.1 million) in support from our highly successful Location Incentive, with the production to employ over 1,000 Australian cast and crew, and more than 3,015 Australian extras.”
“The Fall Guy” has been in talks for a big-screen adaption since 2010 — Dwayne Johnson was once in negotiations to play the role originated by Majors. This version of the film was expected to be helmed by Martin Campbell (“Memory,” “Casino Royale”). When plans fell through, a new version of the script entered development and now, the film starring Gosling is more loosely based on the series.
While it’s not hard to see why Johnson was in talks for a stunt-man-based action flick, it’s hard to imagine a more exciting team-up than Gosling and Leitch. For one thing, Gosling has lots of experience playing a stuntman — having played a stunt driver on two separate occasions in “Drive” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.” He even has some experience as a bounty hunter, thanks to “Blade Runner: 2049,” so he might just be uniquely suited for this particular role. But maybe it’s the 70’s California vibe or just my hope that this film will be equal part action-packed and hilarious — the best comparison for hype might be “The Nice Guys,” where Gosling stunned a PI with a penchant for getting injured. The buddy-comedy sees Gosling showcasing his comedy chops with plenty of action around every corner; “The Fall Guy” sounds like an opportunity for more, with even more impressive action to boot. As for Leitch, this project was previously dubbed “extremely personal” for the director who has first-hand experience as a stunt performer. This has already manifested in impeccably directed action but this added meta-layer of a film about a stuntman means the character himself will be drawing on his experience to survive his dangerous side hustle. Who better to guide the performance than Leitch?