The Hollywood Reporter revealed in August that Cohen was planning a James Bond-style spoof about a spy forced to go on the run with his football hooligan brother. The actor has written the screenplay with Wreck It Ralph’s Phil Johnston. Sacha Was previously spotted filming in the Grimsby area in October.
Leterrier, who is in negotiations, is an unlikely choice. All of Baron Cohen’s starring movie roles (bar 2002’s Ali G Indahouse) have been overseen by US film-maker Larry Charles. Leterrier has been responsible for action fantasy epics such as The Incredible Hulk and the recent Clash of the Titans remake, which misfired. A protege of Luc Besson, he nevertheless found box office success with this summer’s Now You See Me, an action piece starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson and Baron Cohen’s wife Isla Fisher, which now has a sequel in the works.
Grimsby’s arrival on the scene will mark the latest chapter of a genre that appears to be immortal. Spy films and spoofs hark even beyond 007’s 1960s debut. Oscar-winning director Michel Hazanavicius’s OSS 117 films, Mike Myers’s Austin Powers movies and Rowan Atkinson’s pair of Johnny English efforts are some of the more recent entries.