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SYFY WIRE David Leitch

Netflix nabs Skyscraper director for Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Chastain film based on Tom Clancy’s The Division

By Benjamin Bullard
Film director Rawson Marshall Thurber

We’ve known for a while that Netflix had recruited Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain to fight the good fight in a live-action movie based on Ubisoft’s post-apocalyptic video game hit Tom Clancy’s The Division. But thanks to a late scheduling conflict, there’s now a new director stepping in to replace David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Hobbs & Shaw), who’d long been attached to the project. 

Deadline reports that Rawson Marshall Thurber, who directed Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in 2018’s action thriller Skyscraper, has boarded The Division movie project in Leitch’s absence, though Leitch will continue to stay on as producer. Leitch reportedly had to break away from directing duty on The Division in order to focus on other current film projects, including the upcoming action movie Bullet Train starring Brad Pitt.

Thurber inherits a high-stakes project that puts its stars in the dystopian, post-pandemic aftermath of a plague-ravaged America. Based on the hugely successful Ubisoft-published 2016 game from developer Massive Entertainment, Netflix previously revealed that the movie will unfold in the same New York City ruins that players explored in the video game. 

Gyllenhaal and Chastain’s characters still haven’t been disclosed, but just as in the game, the film will follow society’s rapid collapse into lawlessness, when a viral pandemic races through the population after being laced into paper currency at the height of the Black Friday pre-Christmas shopping season. Uninfected survivors who’ve previously prepped for a world-shaking catastrophic scenario must band together in a paramilitary attempt to restore order, all while dodging sinister new threats that’ve cropped up to seize power.

Per Deadline, The Division movie comes from Leitch and Kelly McCormick’s 87North Productions, Gyllenhaal’s Nine Stories, Chastain’s Freckle Films, Thurber’s Bad Version, and Ubisoft Film and Television. Rafe Judkins (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) had previously been reported to be adapting the screenplay, while the new report indicates Leitch will be co-writing the script with Ellen Shanman (The Hidden Girl). The film doesn't have a premiere date as of yet.