MGM Pictures has picked up the planned film adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s 1979 novel “The Matarese Circle” with Denzel Washington is attached to star says Variety.
The book sold for $3 million, with another $1.2-2.5 million to be paid to screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas (“3:10 to Yuma,” “Wanted”).
Set during the Cold War, the book pairs rival spies – one from the CIA and the other from the KGB.
The duo bury the hatchet for the moment because only they possess the smarts and killing abilities to go up against an international circle of criminals called the Matarese.
Insiders said the Cold War tensions will be dropped and the storyline contemporized. Ludlum’s second book “The Matarese Countdown” was not part of the deal. It’s expected a screen sequel would come from an original story.
Jeffrey Weiner, who runs the Ludlum estate, will produce with Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Nick Wechsler. Relativity Media will co-finance the film.
Paramount previously paid $4 million for Ludlum’s “The Chancellor Manuscript” which sold with a Leonardo DiCaprio attachment.