EXCLUSIVE: Fox is in talks with American Hustle scribe Eric Warren Singer to adapt the Jason Matthews espionage book Red Sparrow for Chernin Entertainment and Film Rites to produce. They have David Fincher and Rooney Mara circling to re-team for the first time since The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The film will be produced by Chernin Entertainment and Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch. Zaillian wrote that 2011 adaptation of the Stieg Larsson novel.
This is early days, because Singer will have to adapt the book, but with the interest from Fincher and Mara, they have reason to move quickly. The story is set in present-day Russia, and Mara would play Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova, who struggles to survive in the post-Soviet intelligence jungle. Ordered against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the art of ‘sexpionage,’ Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a young CIA officer who handles the Agency’s most important Russian mole. The two begin a relationship that puts both of them, and a network of spies, in grave danger. Dominika winds up seeking revenge against her soulless masters, and living a fatal double life after she is recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington. This has been a hot project at the studio and for Chernin, and Film Rites previously had Darren Aronofsky circling.
There is topicality to the tale, given the Edward Snowden affair, and the dark themes and sexy female lead fit right into Fincher’s wheelhouse.The book got strong reviews for its breakneck pace and for the author’s success in putting classic espionage stuff in a contemporary context. Fincher just directed Gone Girl for Fox and New Regency. Singer’s repped by CAA, Mara by WME and Management 360.