Mads Mikkelsen & Armie Hammer to lead Billion Dollar Spy
After dipping their toes into the spy world with Casino Royale and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Mads Mikkelsen and Armie Hammer are returning to the world of covert deception as they’ve signed on to star in the cold War thriller The Billion Dollar Spy, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Based on a true story, the film centers on Brad Reid (Hammer), a new face at the CIA’s Moscow station as he is approached by Soviet engineer Adolf Tolkachev (Mikkelsen) and chooses to ignore the advice from his bosses that he’s a KGB “dangle” and develops a unique bond and friendship with the Russian, who seemingly only hopes to help his family escape the Soviet Union’s corruption.
The film is set to be directed by Amma Asante (A United Kingdom, The Handmaid’s Tale) with script coming from Benjamin August (Class Rank, Remember) from heavily-detailed research by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David E. Hoffman, who drew upon previously classified CIA documents and interviews to compile the story. The film will be developed and produced by Walden Media alongside Oscar and Golden Globe winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) and Greg Lessans via Weed Road Pictures, while Walden Media’s President and CEO Frank Smith and Executive Vice President of Development and Production Naia Cucukov will executive produce.
“We are incredibly excited to take on this cold war thriller, a departure from Walden’s usual cannon, to bring this mysterious world to life,” Smith said in a statement. “We are honoured to work with talents Mads Mikkelsen and Armie Hammer with Amma Asante at the helm, on a story that showcases how one person can change the world.”
HanWay films has also joined the project to handle its international sales and distribution and will introduce the project at the forthcoming virtual American Film Market, while CAA Media Finance and Endeavor Content will oversee the U.S. sale.
“August has brilliantly mined Hoffman’s detailed account of the Billion Dollar Spy and delivered a screenplay that will thrill all the fans of analog spycraft,” HanWay Films managing director Gabrielle Stewart said in a statement. “At the same time we are going to inhabit the contrasting personal lives of our two spies: the personal challenges and the impact their world changing activities have on their marriages, their families and their own psyches. Asante’s imprint is right here, and along with her very talented actors, she has the opportunity to give us a completely fresh and multi-layered perspective on the Cold War thriller.”
An early 2021 production start date for The Billion Dollar Spy is being eyed in Eastern Europe.
(Photo Credits: Getty Images)