Directors Anthony and Joe Russo tease Ryan Gosling's 'genius' performance in their forthcoming Netflix spy thriller.

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Ryan Gosling is going undercover.

The Oscar-nominated actor may be best known for playing jazz pianists, astronauts, pickup artists, and getaway drivers, but now, Gosling is suiting up as a spy. The 41-year-old Gosling stars in Netflix's upcoming thriller The Gray Man, playing a reluctant CIA agent named Court Gentry, a.k.a. Six, who finds himself tangled in a deadly conspiracy.

Anthony and Joe Russo are directing The Gray Man, their first blockbuster since Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. The two brothers tell EW that when casting their shadowy hero, they knew Gosling was the perfect actor to tackle the role and all its shades of gray.

"He's a genius with minimalism," Anthony Russo says of Gosling. "He knows how to make small moments very meaningful and resonant and exciting to watch. There are not a lot of actors that can do that, especially to the extreme. So, he just lines up perfectly with this idea of the Gray Man — somebody who has to be very hidden and cloaked and know how to disappear."

The Gray Man
Ana de Armas and Ryan Gosling in 'The Gray Man'
| Credit: Paul Abell/Netflix

As Six uncovers more about his shadowy CIA job, he finds himself hunted by the sociopathic Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans, reuniting with the Russos after multiple Marvel movies together). Fortunately, Six finds an ally in Ana de Armas' Dani Miranda, whom the Russos describe as a "responsible agent" who's deeply loyal to her job at the CIA. Together, she and Six have to figure out whether they can trust one another.

"These are spies, and they're trained liars," Joe Russo adds. "They know how to lie very effectively. That was a wonderful process to work through with both Ana and Ryan."

Like any good spy tale, The Gray Man also features plenty of globe-trotting action and several gorgeous locales (the shoot traveled to France's Château de Chantilly, Prague and the Czech Republic, among other destinations). And although the story may be one of duplicity and mistrust, the cast and crew did plenty of bonding in real life: The Russos remember shooting one sequence in Prague in the heat of summertime; the crew had built a fountain in the middle of a city square. Temperatures were hovering around 100 degrees, and to keep spirits up, someone started an impromptu Queen singalong.

"We're in the middle of Prague, and the entire cast and crew is singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' at the top of their lungs," Joe Russo says with a laugh. "I'm sure the residents of Prague loved us." Hey, just because you're shooting a top-secret spy story doesn't mean you can't occasionally make a scene.

The Gray Man will hit theaters July 15 before debuting on Netflix July 22.

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