Amma Asante To Direct Drama Thriller ‘The Billion Dollar Spy’ For Walden Media

Chris Chapman

EXCLUSIVE: Amma Asante has been set to direct the upcoming film adaptation of David E. Hoffman’s drama thriller The Billion Dollar Spy for Walden Media and Weed Road Pictures. Asante is a British writer-director whose A United Kingdom (starring David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike) won critical kudos both here and abroad.

The Billion Dollar Spy is the true story of a man who became the Pentagon’s most valuable spy during the last years of the Cold War. Despite numerous rejections by a cautious CIA on the lookout for undercover KGB agents, Adolf G. Tolkachev, the chief designer at the USSR’s Research Institute of Radio Engineering, handed over tens of thousands of pages of highly classified documents to the U.S.

Tolkachev quickly became the crown jewel of the CIA’s spy network, though in return, his greatest ask was for gifts for his son. For years, Tolkachev and his handler  successfully eluded the KGB in its own backyard, until the day came when a shocking betrayal put them all at risk.

Hoffman is a Pulitzer prize winning journalist and contributing editor to The Washington Post. He won the Pulitzer in 2010 for his book about the arms race The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy.

The film adaptation, scripted by Ben August (Remember) will be produced by Walden Media and Akiva Goldsman. Greg Lessans of Weed Road will serve as executive producer and Naia Cucukov will oversee the project for Walden Media.

“We are so proud to have Amma at the helm of this prestigious project. She is an incredibly talented director who will bring her unique vision and experience to this film,” said Frank Smith, president/CEO of Walden Media, which produced the box office hit Wonder. That film just pushed over the $300M mark globally and took in a whopping $132.2M domestically after it released last Thanksgiving. The company’s other outings have included A Dog’s Purpose, Waiting for Superman, Amazing Grace and The Chronicles of Narnia.

Asante’s other credits include the 2004 feature A Way of Life which garnered her 17 international awards. The release of Belle in 2014 marked her second feature film, which earned Asante a spot as one of CNN’s Leading Women of 2014.

Upcoming for Asante is the British romance drama war film Where Hands Touch, starring Amandla Stenberg (Hunger Games) and George MacKay (Captain Fantastic). In 2017, Asante was honoured with an MBE in the
Queen’s Birthday Honours for her contribution to film.

Weed Road Pictures is a production company founded by filmmaker Akiva Goldsman. Its credits include Deep Blue Sea, Constantine, Mr. & Mrs. SmithI Am Legend, Hancock, Fair Game and Lone Survivor. Weed Road will next debut its live-action series Titans, co-executive produced by Berlanti Productions and DC Entertainment, for a new DC digital platform in 2018.

Asante is repped by CAA, United Agents and Mosaic. August and Hoffman are both repped by ICM Partners.

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