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Bullet Train Release Date, Cast, And Plot - What We Know So Far

There are multiple cool action movies in development at virtually any given moment, and some of them are invariably more interesting than others. Right now, one of the hottest upcoming properties out there is Sony Pictures' "Bullet Train," directed by genre veteran David Leitch, and starring none other than Brad Pitt himself. The movie tells the story of five assassins, who board the titular high-speed train for various reasons, and presumably won't be too happy to bump into each other. 

As the anime smash hit "Demon Slayer: Mugen Train" and the South Korean zombie movie "Train to Busan" have proved, clever action in a train setting has a way of captivating the audience. With the level of talent involved, it's easy to see "Bullet Train" joining the club of legendary rail-based action movies. So, where can you see this exciting film, and what can you expect from it? Let's take a look at what we know about the release date, cast, and plot of "Bullet Train."

Updated June 23, 2022: This article has been updated to include the latest release date and cast information.

What's the release date for Bullet Train?

Below the Line revealed that "Bullet Train" began production in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic in November 2020. The action film's release date would also be heavily affected by the pandemic, being shifted several times. Sony's original date for the Brad Pitt flick was April 8, and its first pushback landed it on July 15, according to Deadline. When "Black Adam" vacated its July 29 spot, Sony moved "Bullet Train" to take over the date. A separate Deadline piece reported this was so the movie would have a more significant gap between itself and Marvel Studios' "Thor: Love and Thunder," which lands in theaters on July 8.

But wait! There's more. It was revealed in May that "Bullet Train" was moving to August 5, as Sony hopes to make their film the summer's final blockbuster. This move pits "Bullet Train" against Universal's "Easter Sunday" and A24's "Bodies Bodies Bodies."

What is the plot of Bullet Train?

"Bullet Train" is based on the novel "Maria Beetle" by Japanese writer Kotaro Isaka (per Deadline). Depending on how accurately the movie adaptation follows the book's plot, you can expect multiple strange assassins with radically different methods in the same bullet train, all tasked with different jobs, and largely unaware of each other. However, as the story progresses, it turns out that their missions might just be interconnected after all, and a deadly game begins.

The novel is an exciting combination of high-octane action and a complex, twisting plot that's somewhat reminiscent of Guy Ritchie's early films, and according to "Bullet Train" producer Kelly McCormick, the movie version has all intentions to deliver (via Collider). "I think the combo in what this movie is, which is kind of a crazy crime caper, is a really exciting combo for fans as well as actors," she said. "I can't speak more highly of the picture and the experience. Every day is an absolute riot." 

McCormick also revealed that the comparatively small setting has helped create some very interesting action pieces. "One of the things that was fun about the action on this is the confined space, in that we're basically on a bullet train for the whole picture," she described the film's approach. "So, how do you... What is creative? What is original? What is fresh, with regards to that? And, that's been a really fun challenge for David, as well as the action team headed by second unit director Greg Rementer."

Brad Pitt is Ladybug in Bullet Train

In July 2020, The Wrap broke the news that Brad Pitt hopped aboard "Bullet Train," taking the lead as Ladybug, known in the novel as one of the world's unluckiest assassins. Ladybug is called in for one last mission after seemingly wanting to exit the business due to the overwhelming amount of death, which calls for him to steal a briefcase aboard a high-speed train. We won't go into the details of Ladybug's character from the book to avoid spoilers, but Pitt's character's past might come back to haunt him. Director David Leitch told Entertainment Weekly that Ladybug believes himself to be cursed but also notes that he is now reformed in his line of work.

"Bullet Train" is Pitt's second film of 2022, following up the comedic hit "The Lost City." Prior to 2022, Pitt hadn't been in a major motion picture since 2019's "Ad Astra" and "Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood."

Sandra Bullock takes control as Maria Beetle

Joining Brad Pitt in "Bullet Train" is Sandra Bullock, whose casting was confirmed by Variety in February 2021. The outlet reported no details on her role, but the following August, Collider revealed Bullock was replacing Lady Gaga, who had a scheduling conflict with "House of Gucci." This marks the second time Pitt and Bullock have shared the screen, with the aforementioned "The Lost City" from earlier this year marking their first.

Bullock plays Maria Beetle, the handler of Pitt's Ladybug and titular character of Kōtarō Isaka's novel, on which the film is based. Maria appears quite often in the second trailer, confirming she and Ladybug will get some face-to-face time, but she will never step foot on the actual train. That second trailer also reveals we'll see a lot of action happening off the locomotive, meaning we might get more Bullock in this film as initially believed.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson is Tangerine

In October 2020, Deadline revealed Aaron Taylor-Johnson joined "Bullet Train," with the outlet noting he would be playing one of the assassins on board. Johnson's character, the mustache-clad Tangerine, works side-by-side with another contract killer, who is also named after a citrus fruit. Based on the trailer, Tangerine seems like a no-nonsense assassin (probably comes with the territory) but looks to be the opposite of Brad Pitt's easier-going Ladybug.

Those looking forward to seeing "Bullet Train" should be especially excited for Taylor-Johnson's performance. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony big-wigs were so happy with the actor's performance that they offered him the role of Kraven in their upcoming "Kraven the Hunter" comic book flick. Taylor-Johnson reportedly signed a multi-picture deal with the studio to boot.

Taylor-Johnson is so ecstatic about "Bullet Train," promising it's an epic action flick that's equally funny and thrilling. "I watched (the movie) last week and I was literally howling with laughter to the point that I almost peed on my seat a little. But honestly, this is the summer movie you do not want to miss — I am not kidding," the actor recently said at CineEurope (via Variety).

Brian Tyree Henry is Lemon

Making up the other half of the "Bullet Train" citrus duo is Brian Tyree Henry, who plays Lemon. Deadline broke the news in October 2020, the same year he appeared in "Superintelligence" and "The Outside Story." Lemon will work side-by-side with Tangerine, both of whom square off against Ladybug separately in the trailer. Tyree Henry has a hilarious one-on-one with Pitt in the first trailer for the film, with the two fighting one another in the silent car of the train. It also looks like they've met before, but we're not quite sure how they're connected just yet.

When chatting with Kelly Clarkson on her daytime talk show, Tyree Henry revealed he had a great time filming "Bullet Train," and mentioned how much fun he had with Brad Pitt. The actor said when the director would call cut during their fight scene, Pitt would lay in his arms, and he'd get to hold him.

Zazie Beetz is Hornet

One of the later additions to "Bullet Train" was Zazie Beetz, whose casting was announced in November 2020. The "Atlanta" star plays Hornet, another assassin who appears to be impersonating an employee of the train. Hornet hails from the United States, but her true mission on the high-speed train remains to be seen. Based on the trailer, Hornet seems to favor a knife as her weapon of choice and does some fancy hand work with one during a fight with Ladybug.

This marks the second time Beetz is working with director David Leitch, the first of which came in 2018's "Deadpool 2" where she played Domino (the film also featured Brad Pitt in a small role). When chatting with Collider back in March 2021, Beetz gushed over Pitt, saying he was a delight to work with on "Bullet Train" and hopes she can work with him again in the future. 

Joey King joins Bullet Train as Prince

In August 2020, Deadline revealed Joey King was in discussions to join "Bullet Train." All went according to plan, and "The Act" star plays Prince, a British assassin. At the time of the casting announcement, it was revealed that King was going to be one of the film's main assassins, possibly the only female. We know that ended up not being true with the addition of Zazie Beetz to the cast, so just how major King's role remains to be seen.

The actress was nervous to start filming for the new movie, however, and admitted to Collider that her first day on set was like the first day of school. Despite being in the industry since 2006, the "Bullet Train" set made her feel like it was her first time filming. King admitted Brad Pitt and David Leitch were super warm and welcoming and helped her to shake her nerves. "I cannot wait to see this movie because from the stuff we filmed and from the stuff I saw, it is just so cool. It is so ridiculously cool," King admitted.

Bad Bunny lands his first major role in Bullet Train as Wolf

Puerto Rican music superstar Bad Bunny was announced as a part of the "Bullet Train" cast in December 2020. The release of the film marks the rapper's first-ever major movie role. He appeared in 2019's "F9" in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo, but his role in "Bullet Train" will give him a substantial amount of screen time. Bad Bunny is playing Wolf, another assassin aboard the train, who appears to have a not-so-fun history with Ladybug.

In an interview with Apple Music, Bad Bunny noted that he messed up Brad Pitt's face a little during their fight scene but said his co-star was super friendly and respectful. We have to assume the musician nailed the role, as he was announced to take the lead in Sony's "El Muerto" film at CinemaCon this April. While this has yet to be confirmed like Aaron Taylor-Johnson's news, it's safe to say the powers-that-be at Sony weren't disappointed at all with Bad Bunny's performance in "Bullet Train" if they immediately assigned him to a new film.

Who else is appearing in Bullet Train?

You probably know Hiroyuki Sanada from, well, pretty much everything, and now he's adding "Bullet Train" to his resume, according to Deadline. The "Avengers: Endgame" and "Mortal Kombat" star is playing a mystery character, but based on the trailer, it looks like he could be another assassin onboard.

Deadline also broke the news Logan Lerman was joining the "Bullet Train" cast, reuniting him with his "Fury" co-star Brad Pitt. Lerman will be playing an assistant to Tangerine and Lemon, and spoiler alert, it looks like he won't make it out of the train alive. The trailer reveals Lerman's character's death after Tangerine and Lemon find him dead in a seat with blood seeping from his eyes.

"Knives Out" and "Man of Steel" star Michael Shannon was also added to the cast in 2020 and will be playing Jay Wang, who looks almost unrecognizable in the trailer. With his hands covered in tattoos and sporting long stringy hair, Jay is a rather mysterious man who looks like someone not to be messed with.

Filling out the "Bullet Train" cast are Andrew Koji ("Warrior"), Masi Oka ("Heroes"), Emelina Adams ("13 Reasons Why"), Pasha D. Lychnikoff ("Deadwood"), and Andrea Muñoz ("Pam & Tommy") in smaller roles.

Who's above-the-line on Bullet Train?

Calling the shots on the "Bullet Train" set was David Leitch, the stuntman-turned-director who once did stunts for Brad Pitt himself. Leitch was Pitt's stunt double on "Fight Club," "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," "Troy," "Spy Game," and "Ocean's Eleven." "Bullet Train" marks the fourth major motion picture for Leitch, who has "Atomic Blonde," "Deadpool 2," and "Hobbs & Shaw" under his belt — all of which can be considered massive successes. Any movie fan who has seen more than one of those films should know what to expect from "Bullet Train" — a film full of exciting action sequences and high-quality stunt work.

Producing the film is fellow action director Antoine Fuqua, who originally developed the film, according to Deadline. Leitch also serves as producer, as does Kelly McCormick ("Atomic Blonde"). Zak Olkewicz wrote the screenplay for "Bullet Train," whose only other credit is "Fear Street: Part Two – 1978."

What we learned from the Bullet Train trailers

Two official trailers were released for "Bullet Train," giving us a good glimpse of the action that takes place on and off the locomotive. What's clear from both trailers is that "Bullet Train" is going to be a bright and colorful adventure with interesting fight sequences that are limited by space. Brad Pitt's Ladybug is clearly at the center of the film and looks to get involved with every single assassin at some point in the movie, with his face getting more and more bruises and cuts as the trailers go on. We think Ladybug might regret taking on this gig shortly after doing so.

The second trailer depicts more of Ladybug's handler, Maria Beetle, and appears to show the duo together after the insane events that take place on the high-speed train. Pitt's charm takes center stage, and he's supported by a stellar cast who all shine in their moments in the trailers. Based on both peeks at "Bullet Train," we can guess the movie won't take itself too seriously and will be the perfect summer popcorn blockbuster to close out the season.