EXCLUSIVE: In what will be his first big film for Warner Bros since 2008 Best Picture nominee Michael Clayton, Tony Gilroy is in final talks to write with an eye to direct an untitled thriller that David Heyman will produce, with Heyday’s Jeffrey Clifford also producing. Gilroy has worked out his own take on a project that has been at Warner Bros 15 years under Methuselah, a thriller originated by James Watkins that most recently had Tom Cruise attached to star and Pirates Of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales co-director Joachim Rønning attached to direct.

These attachments often ebb and flow, and Rønning is right now fully focused on directing Micro, the Darren Lemke-scripted adaptation of the final novel by Jurassic Park author and Westworld creator Michael Crichton. Frank Marshall is producing, Sherri Crichton and Laurent Bouzereau are exec producing. Amblin’s Steven Spielberg and Michael Wright have high hopes this will launch a new franchise.

While Gilroy doesn’t commit to direct until the script is in place, he will be going with his own take here, a creative overhaul except for the protagonist: a man who has managed to survive for 400 years, without showing the physical signs of age. In that time, he has accumulated vast intellectual knowledge, from multiple languages to the sciences, as well as survival skills. He drives the thriller.

Gilroy’ will have a meeting soon where he’ll pitch his vision to Warner Bros higher-ups including Toby Emmerich. His deal is worked out though, and this looks to the next big project for the writer-director. It is a coup for Emmerich, given the studio’s hunger for franchises and Gilroy’s track record in the care and feeding of them.
Gilroy, whose directing debut Michael Clayton garnered seven Oscar noms and a win for Tilda Swinton, is coming off an unusual writer’s adventure on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Brought in on a weekly salary to do rewrites, Gilroy reportedly directed the extensive re-shoots credited with helping a troubled picture overcome rough storytelling patches and end up a crowd-pleaser that grossed over $1 billion. While original helmer Gareth Edwards is the credited director, Gilroy was reportedly rewarded with a $5 million payday.

Before he began directing, Gilroy was renowned for finding a hit movie in Robert Ludlum’s dense amnesiac assassin novel The Bourne Identity. He wrote that film and two sequels before scripting and directing the spinoff The Bourne Legacy. He also produced Nightcrawler, the film on which his screenwriter brother Dan Gilroy made his directing debut.

Gilroy is repped by CAA and attorney Craig Emanuel.