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LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) - The producers of the James Bond films have announced that "Gossip Girl" star Blake Lively is to play the protagonist in an upcoming espionage thriller - a rarity in a genre usually dominated by male leads.
"The Rhythm Section" will be adapted from the novel by author Mark Burnell about a woman, Stephanie Patrick, who becomes an assassin and tracks down the people responsible for a plane crash that killed her family.
The film is to be directed by Reed Morano, who previously worked on episodes of the hit television drama "The Handmaid's Tale".
In a statement carried in the Hollywood Reporter, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who have produced the last eight films in the James Bond franchise, said they were excited "to be working with the immensely talented team".
There are four books in the Stephanie Patrick series, raising the possibility of a Bond-style series of movies - if the first is successful. (Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; editing by Mark Heinrich)