BREAKING: Tom Hardy is in talks to star in Child 44, the adaptation of the Tom Rob Smith novel that will be directed by Safe House helmer Daniel Espinosa for Scott Free. Hardy, who wrapped Mad Max: Fury Road for director George Miller, will star in Child 44 after he completes Animal Rescue, the Fox Searchlight drama that Michael R. Roskam is directing, with Noomi Rapace his co-star. He will shoot Animal Rescue in March, then move right on to Child 44.

Child 44 takes place in Stalin’s Soviet Union, and Hardy plays a security officer and war hero who believes in the Soviet system and the law. That is until he uncovers the existence of a mass murderer, and he is thwarted by that system he has sworn to serve because they have no interest in acknowledging that murders are taking place in a country perpetuating the myth of a crime-free utopia. The book is part of a trilogy.

Hardy, who last starred in The Dark Knight Rises, is repped by CAA.