EXCLUSIVE: MGM has just closed a deal for James Gray to direct I Am Pilgrim, an adaptation of the espionage novel trilogy by Terry Hayes. MGM has been mobilizing this one for several years, and it is high priority for the studio best known for 007. Hayes, whose credits include the early Road Warrior films, as well as Dead Calm, Payback and From Hell, has adapted the novel. Lloyd Braun is producing.

The intention is for Gray to make it his next film after Ad Astra, the sci-fi epic he just finished that stars Brad Pitt for New Regency and Fox. MGM, which recently went through the exit of Gary Barber, is doubling down on building its TV and film production and its Epix service, and this is being eyed as an important piece of the film slate being assembled under Jonathan Glickman.

Pilgrim is the code name for a man who doesn’t exist. The adopted son of a wealthy American family, he once headed a secret U.S. espionage unit. Now in anonymous retirement, he is called upon to lend his expertise to an unusual investigation but ultimately is caught in a race against-time to save America from oblivion.

Gray is repped by CAA and Jackoway Tyerman, Hayes by WME.