EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Boies/Schiller Film Group has optioned rights to David Ignatius’ CIA thriller novel The Quantum Spy for series development, marking the company’s first foray into television. BSFG is partnering with Anonymous Content and Tony Krantz’s Flame Ventures on the project, which will be taken to market this fall. Dave Kalstein (Treadstone) is set to pen the adaptation and will also executive produce and serve as showrunner. Casting for the lead role is already underway.
The Quantum Spy is rooted in reality, a story ripped from today’s headlines: The 21st century’s biggest challenge is a secret twilight struggle between the U.S. and China for mastery of quantum computing technology that is the new Manhattan Project. Hyper-fast quantum computers are the digital equivalent of a nuclear bomb, able to shred military-grade encryption and crack any code. The nation who builds a quantum computer first will attain global dominance, and its adversaries will have no security, no safety, and no secrets.
In the book, when America’s top-secret quantum research lab is compromised by a Chinese mole, newly-assigned Chinese-American CIA officer Harris Chang is tasked with his first mission for the Agency: hunt down the traitor. Soon, he’s caught in an ever-expanding maze of spymasters, assassins and temptations. And Chang’s investigation will turn into his personal obsession. The CIA chose Chang for this mission because he looks like the enemy, but its life-and-death stakes cause him to ask fundamental questions about his heritage as he’s spurned by his mistrustful American colleagues and manipulated by Beijing’s appeals to his Chinese “patriotism.” But is all this a ruse, a series of stunning reversals and betrayals orchestrated by Chang? Chang holds the key to these secrets while we’re left guessing as to which doors he will unlock.
BSFG president Zack Schiller is executive producing, alongside Anonymous Content’s Alex Goldstone ( (Apple TV+’s Dickinson) and Flame Ventures’ Tony Krantz (24).
Kalstein just wrapped production on Treadstone, set in the world of Jason Bourne, which premieres this fall on USA. Previously, he served as co-executive producer on Quantico and also on NCIS: Los Angeles.
Schiller is president of the Boies/Schiller Film Group (BSFG), which he co-founded with attorney David Boies in 2012. Since then, the company has been behind such films as Jane Got A Gun, The Upside and Escape Plan. Upcoming films include Countdown, The Starling, The Babysitter 2 and an action-comedy take on the long-running reality crime series Cops.
Ignatius is an award-winning Washington Post columnist who has covered international affairs and the CIA for more than 25 years. His other novels include Agents of Innocence, Body of Lies, and The Increment.
Anonymous Content’s TV slate includes True Detective (HBO), Mr. Robot (USA Network), 13 Reasons Why (Netflix), The Alienist (TNT) Homecoming (Amazon), Catch-22 (Hulu) and the upcoming Dickinson (Apple), Home Before Dark (Apple) and Defending Jacob (Apple).
Flame Ventures recently wrapped production on new Netflix series Wu Assassins. Next up is Dangerous Liaisons for Starz. Krantz is currently in pre-production on his next theatrical film, The Plumbers, which he wrote and will direct at the top of next year.
CAA brokered the deal. Kalstein is repped by Anonymous Content and attorney Jeff Endlich.