Bond producers to make Blake Lively thriller
The producers of the James Bond films are to make a "female-driven" thriller starring Gossip Girl's Blake Lively.
Based on the novel by Britain's Mark Burnell, The Rhythm Section will see her as a woman who becomes an assassin to avenge the deaths of her family.
Reed Morano, who directed the first three episodes of hit TV series The Handmaid's Tale, will direct the film.
Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson said it was "exciting" to work with such a "talented" team.
Morano and Lively, they added, "have a strong vision for this very compelling story driven by a female protagonist".
The Rhythm Section is the first of four novels to feature Burnell's Stephanie Patrick heroine, inviting the prospect of a Bond-style film series.
Its announcement comes during a hiatus in production on the James Bond films, which Broccoli and Wilson have co-produced since 1995.
Production on the film will begin later this year, with financing from international production company IM Global.
Its head Stuart Ford said the film would be "fresh, realistic and bold", with "a unique female heroine who turns so many of the current cinematic cliches surrounding so-called 'kick-ass' female leads on their head".
Lively, who is married to Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds, is also known for playing the ageless heroine of the film The Age of Adeline.
Last year saw her battle a shark in The Shallows, appear in Woody Allen's Cafe Society and also give birth to her second child.