How Apple has sold an action romance that flips expectations
For the third time in the last five years Ana de Armas and Chris Evans star together in a major motion picture, this time in Ghosted, out this week on Apple TV+. Directed by Dexter Fletcher, the movie has de Armas playing Sadie Rhodes, a young woman who Cole (Evans) meets when he’s traveling oversees. The two have an instant connection but after Cole returns home all his communications with her go unanswered. So he hops a plane to London in hopes of finding her but soon discovers she’s a spy and he’s gotten himself mixed up in her very dangerous business.
It’s a nice play on the usual setup in movies like Knight & Day where the woman is the one who stumbles into the man’s high-stakes world of espionage and intrigue. And with Evans and de Armas bringing the chemistry they’ve developed in previous pairings it promises to be more than a little fun so let’s take a look at how Apple has sold it to the public.
announcement and casting
Evans and Scarlett Johansson were originally named as the movie’s leads when it was announced by Apple in August 2021 with Fletcher directing and Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick writing.
De Armas replaced Johansson when the latter had to drop out a few months later because of scheduling issues. Tim Blake Nelson, Amy Sedaris and others joined early in 2022 as production was getting underway.
the marketing campaign
We see the meet-cute of Sadie and Cole as the trailer (9.4m YouTube plays), released in early March, begins. They fall for each other and have a short lived romance before he has to return home, but Cole can’t stop thinking about her. Convinced she’s “the one” he travels back to London but his attempts to find her generate some very violent attention from other parties and she has to rescue him from kidnappers. From there on out they have to survive all kinds of dangerous situations together, with Sadie having to keep Cole out of trouble along the way.
There isn’t a whole lot going on on the poster that came out at the same time. But it does accurately sell the movie as featuring a couple very attractive stars, and placing Sadie on top of Cole communicates the unusual nature of the character dynamics.
The trailer is cut down to its essential elements in a TV spot that came out at the end of March, selling the film as an action-packed romantic comedy.
De Armas, Evans and others all attended the premiere of the movie earlier this week, talking about why they work so well together and what else audiences can expect from the film. The two leads also made a number of media appearances and gave other interviews, sometimes on their own and sometimes together to show off the banter they have down, including de Armas hosting “Saturday Night Live” last weekend.
A clip shows Cole being given a hard time by his family for how desperate he’s acting about this girl he met who’s now ghosted him.
As has become common for Apple TV+ originals, the campaign here isn’t huge but it certainly does make an impression, largely because Evans and de Armas are having so much fun together.
Even more than that, it’s *good* to see the stars embrace taking on a project that goes against norms to a significant extent. Not that there should be anything all that groundbreaking about a woman being the spy and the man being the slightly desperate partner, but there is and this is the perfect pair to pull something like this off.
picking up the spare
Additional interviews with Fletcher included commenting on some of those celebrity cameos and how they happened. Evans also talked about how he worked to not let his action star training come through in a role where he wasn’t that.
Apple released both a making-of featurette and a blooper reel for the film.