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Long lurking in the murk of development limbo, high concept action thriller Gemini Man suddenly brushed itself off and sprang back into more active life last year thanks to Ang Lee agreeing to direct and Will Smith making a deal to star. Things are moving further forward as Clive Owen is joining the cast.

First pitched to Disney in 1997, the story, which has nothing to do with the TV series about the bloke with the watch that makes him invisible, follows an aging hitman who is trying to get out of the business and retire to a more peaceful life. Because no movie assassin can ever leave the job easily, this one faces an intriguing twist – he’ll have to fight his own clone, 25 years younger and at the peak of his powers. By this point, they’d have saved money just filming whoever would end up starring as the younger man when it was first mooted and having the actor show back up again for the older scenes.

Owen’s role hasn’t been specified though Variety has heard that he’ll be an antagonist. And from the sounds of it, Lee is aiming to find the another lead soon, meeting with actors such as Tatiana Maslany, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Elizabeth Debicki. With an October 2019 release date already pencilled in, work will need to start this year on this one to have it ready in time, but it certainly appears to be coming together at last.

Next up for Owen is playing Claudius in Ophelia, the fresh take on Hamlet due on cinema screens this year.