EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has acquired rights to the Ted Bell action espionage novel series based on British MI6 agent Sir Alexander Hawke. The studio has set Salt scribe Kurt Wimmer to adapt it, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing. The series began in 2003 with Hawke, and has spanned nine bestsellers. The most recent, Patriot, pitted Hawke against Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who has been a frequent nemesis in the series. The next book, Overkill, will be published in 2018 by Harper Collins division William Morrow.

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William Morrow

The series is often compared to Ian Fleming’s 007, and there is as much mythology and intriguing characters as in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Identity or Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp novels. Much like James Patterson, Bell started writing novels when he was at the top of the advertising game. He was president/Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett in Chicago and later Vice Chairman of the Board and World-Wide Creative Director of Young & Rubicam.

Aside from Salt, Wimmer’s recent credits include Street Kings, Law Abiding Citizen, and the Total Recall and Point Break remakes. CAA brokered the book deal for Foundry Literary + Media, the second big deal with the studio for Peter McGuigan and Richie Kern, who last week was at the center of the Appian Way deal for the Beth Macy book Truevine, a potential star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio. CAA reps Wimmer.