Blake Lively is no stranger to the thriller. Her performance in last year’s A Simple Favor was one of her best, combining the sleek chic of Serena Van der Woodsen with the same killer instinct that enabled her to fight off a shark with nothing but her wits and a sharp earring in The Shallows. But her latest role in Reed Morano’s The Rhythm Section seems like brand new territory for the actress.
As Stephanie Patrick, a woman who takes the law into her own hands to avenge the death of her family, Lively has traded in her designer threads for a shaggy wig and a British accent. And she's barely recognizable.
The trailer, released online today, opens three years after Stephanie’s family died in a plane crash, a tragic event she believes to be an accident. Still, she’s in a bad way, coping with her grief with a steady diet of drugs and alcohol. That is, until a journalist (Raza Jaffrey) tells her that he has a credible source within the British Secret Service (Jude Law), who claims that her parents were murdered in a terror attack that the government has been covering up. Determined to get at the truth, Stephanie embarks on a journey that takes her across borders, and several dramatic costume changes.
Morano is known for her tales of female revenge. She’s won an Emmy for her for work on The Handmaid’s Tale, and is set to direct The Power, an Amazon series based on a book by Naomi Alderman about a group of girls who realize they have the power to electrocute people at will. The Rhythm Section is her feature debut, and produced by Barbara Broccoli, who’s worked on the James Bond franchise.
But don’t get the wrong idea — Stephanie is no Bond, able to pull off a fight with a martini in hand, without ruffling his luxe tux. As Broccoli and Morano stressed in an interview with Bustle, she’s a fallible hero, a regular woman who rises to meet extraordinary circumstances.
In fact, the process of shooting wasn't without its mishaps. Lively was injured during a stunt in 2017 on-set in Dublin, and filming had to be postponed for six months while she underwent two separate hand surgeries. According to Variety, Sterling K. Brown joined the cast when production resumed in Spain. As a result, the theatrical release has been postponed from November 22, 2019, to January 31, 2020.
Still, you can probably expect Lively to properly kick ass.
"Stephanie is a survivor. She continues to test this in herself. Everything she puts herself through proves that," Lively told Bustle. "She puts herself in extreme circumstances, thinking she’s trying to die, but she’s really trying to survive. She is constantly testing her inner strength as her self-worth is regularly undervalued, by her, first and foremost. But she knows, at her core, she’s worth more."
Watch the full trailer below: