The project is based on the Japanese book ‘Maria Beetle’ by Kotaro Isaka.

Brad Pitt will lead Sony action thriller Bullet Train from Hobbs & Shaw helmer David Leitch, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Based on the popular Japanese book Maria Beetle by Kotaro Isaka, Bullet Train centers on a group of hitmen and assassins with conflicting motives on a train in Tokyo. The project has been tonally described as Speed, the Keanu Reeves action film set on a bus, meets Non-Stop, the 2014 Liam Neeson thriller set on a plane. Sources say that Pitt will play an American hitman named Ladybug.

The script is being written by Zak Olkewicz (Fear Street) and Leitch is overseeing revisions.

The studio is moving like a speeding locomotive on this one, hoping to shoot this fall. The film is a contained thriller, which means it can be shot on a contained set and fall in line easier under health restrictions than a more sprawling action movie with actual locations. Pitt previously appeared in a cameo role in Leitch’s Deadpool 2, and the filmmaker also worked as Pitt’s stunt double in films such as Ocean’s 11 and Troy.

Antoine Fuqua, who originally developed the project, is producing alongside Leitch and Kelly McCormick via their 87 North banner, as well as Kat Samick. Ryosuke Saegusa and Yuma Terada, co-founders of CTB Inc., who represent Isaka and the intellectual, are acting as executive producers on the project.

Brittany Morrissey will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.

Separately, Harvill Secker recently announced that it will publish the novel in English next year.

Pitt, repped by CAA and Brillstien, recently picked up an Oscar for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.