Fox 2000, Scott Give Birth to Child 44

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Fox 2000 has optioned screenwriter Tom Rob Smith’s debut novel Child 44 for Ridley Scott to direct and the filmmaker’s Scott Free to produce, reports Variety.

Smith’s yet-to-be published novel, due out in 2008, was sold at auction in the U.S. to Warner Books in a two-book deal that contemplates a sequel. Simon & Schuster will publish in the U.K.

Set in Stalinist Russia, the thriller revolves around an officer in the secret police who is framed by a colleague for treason. On the run with his emotionally estranged wife, he stumbles upon a series of child killings and launches his own rogue investigation, even though it means risking his own capture.

Smith, a Cambridge graduate, has written for several British television shows, including “Doctors” and “Dream Team.” He also penned the story for Cambodia’s first-ever soap opera for the BBC World Service Trust.

Scott’s next directing project is Penetration, a political drama about modern-day intelligence and terrorism that he begins shooting in August. Leonardo DiCaprio will star in the William Monahan-scripted film.

Scott is next in theaters with crime drama American Gangster, set for release in November.

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