Rooney Mara played a brief, but memorable, role as Mark Zuckerberg’s ex-girlfriend in The Social Network, before she went on to portray the brilliant-but-prickly titular protagonist in director David Fincher’s next film thereafter, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The director/actress pair had, at one point, appeared to be lined up to reunite on at least the first sequel to Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire; while that project has started to look more and more like a lost cause over the past year, it now appears that the Fincher/Mara team may instead (re)join forces on another smart, sexy, thriller novel adaptation.
The project in question is Red Sparrow, a movie adaptation of the novel by Jason Matthews. Back in 2013, Darren Aronofsky had entered talks to direct Red Sparrow; however, earlier this year, the news emerged that the Black Swan filmmaker had decided to pass on the opportunity, having set his sights elsewhere upon releasing his Biblical adaptation Noah in theaters. As such, there’s an opening for another critically-acclaimed director to call the shots on the cinematic version of Matthews’ espionage drama.
According to Deadline, Fincher and Mara are both currently circling Red Sparrow, with the intention of directing and headlining, respectively. The site is cautioning that it’s “early days” still, what with screenwriter Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle) having only just been recruited by 20th Century Fox to put together the Red Sparrow script. Nonetheless, seeing how David Fincher will soon to be all finished with post-production on Gone Girl and Mara will be done playing Tiger Lily in Joe Wright’s Peter Pan origin film, both parties will soon have an opening in their schedule – meaning, if all the pieces fall into place, it could be the perfect time for the duo to reunite on Red Sparrow.
Matthews’ Red Sparrow source novel tells the tale of Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova, who is trained to become a “sparrow” or spy/seductress, in order to survive in the dangerous post-Cold War world. Mara has continued to demonstrate her versatility as a performer since her Oscar-nominated Dragon Tattoo turn, in roles both small (see: Her) and large (see: Side Effects). She also managed to pull off a Swedish accent in her last film with Fincher, so it’s all the easier to picture Mara adapting a different non-English accent as the complicated protagonist in his next movie.
Likewise, Red Sparrow not only sounds like the sort of dark, sophisticated, and adult story material that lies well much in Fincher’s wheelhouse – it would also give the celebrated filmmaker a chance to explore somewhat different genre territory, as he’s never done a full-blown spy thriller before. Indeed, if everything comes together, it’s quite conceivable that Red Sparrow could wind up being to Fincher what Black Book is to Paul Verhoeven and what Lust, Caution is to Ang Lee.
We’ll keep you updated on the status of Red Sparrow as the story develops.