MGM has landed feature film rights to screenwriter Terry Hayes’ debut novel, the just-released espionage thriller I Am Pilgrim. The scribe, whose film credits include Payback, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior and Dead Calm, will adapt his book, and Lloyd Braun will produce the film through his Whalerock Industries. Whalerock’s Andrew Mittman will be executive producer. This is a franchise play for the studio.

MGM90In the book, “Pilgrim” is the codename 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. Emily Bestler Books/Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, published the book in May, with plans to translate it into 20 languages.

“In creating such an original character in such a riveting, relevant story, Terry has provided us a great template for not only one film, but for a series that can play to global audiences for many years to come,” said Jonathan Glickman, MGM’s motion picture group president.

Glickman and VP Production Matt Dines will oversee the project on behalf of the studio, which is prepping to release Hercules on July 25 with Paramount.

Hayes is repped by WME and Hansen, Jacobson.