The production team behind the James Bond films are to launch a new “female-driven” thriller centring around Blake Lively, with a possible view to turning it into a series or franchise.

Variety reported on Thursday (July 13th) that the former Gossip Girl actress, 29, has signed on to the project titled The Rhythm Section helmed by Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson. Based on the novel by British author Mark Burnell, The Rhythm Section will feature Lively as Stephanie Patrick, who becomes an assassin to avenge the deaths of her family in an airplane crash - a flight that she was meant to be on.

Reed Morano, who directed the first three episodes of hit TV series ‘The Handmaid's Tale’, will be behind the camera. Broccoli and Wilson said that it was “exciting” to work with such a “talented” line-up.

Blake LivelyBlake Lively has signed up to a new espionage thriller project helmed by the James Bond producers

In Morano and Lively, they added, the project has “a strong vision for this very compelling story driven by a female protagonist.”

Production on the film is set to begin by the end of 2017, and it will have financing from international production company IM Global.

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Their CEO Stuart Ford said in a statement that The Rhythm Section was “fresh, realistic and bold”, with “a unique female heroine who turns so many of the current cinematic clichés surrounding so-called 'kick-ass' female leads on their head.”

The announcement comes during a hiatus in production on the James Bond films, which Broccoli and Wilson have produced together ever since 1995’s GoldenEye.

Lively, who is married to Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds and has two young daughters with him, has recently starred in The Shallows, The Age of Adaline and Café Society.

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