Red Sparrow is a espionage thriller being developed at 20th Century Fox, based on the novel by Jason Matthews. The eponymous ‘Sparrow’ is Dominika Egorova, a contemporary Russian spy specializing in seduction who begins a dangerous affair with the CIA agent she is targeting – forcing her to become a double agent, in order to survive. The film, as such, would be a modern-day addition to the popular spy/espionage genre – though, one more in the vein of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy than, say, Mission: Impossible.
The question of who will direct the feature film and who will star as the femme fatale lead has been much discussed. Currently, there are fresh reports that Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence could reunite with her Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1 & 2 director, Francis Lawrence, on the project.
Deadline have revealed that Lawrence is currently in talks to play Egorova and has been for some time. It is hoped that her Mockingjay director will join her on the venture, although nothing is official as of yet. The earlier script draft by Eric Warren (American Hustle) is now being reworked by Justin Haythe (The Lone Ranger) and the movie will be produced by Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch with Chernin Entertainment.
In June 2014, it was reported that David Fincher (Gone Girl) might direct Red Sparrow and re-team with Rooney Mara (the pair worked together on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)). Fincher seemed an appropriate and likely choice for the content, being familiar with the theme of strong and deadly female protagonists (not to mention, his past experience making darker genre fare). Before Fincher, Darron Aronofsky was also in consideration to direct, but passed in order to work on a TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy for HBO.
Red Sparrow is not the first project that Jennifer Lawrence and Francis Lawrence as a post-Hunger Games reunion together. The duo previously circled the David Cameron produced feature The Dive, near the beginning of 2015. The project, a free diving biopic about record breaking divers Francisco Ferraras and Audrey Mestre, has not yet come to fruition, though.
Going by Red Sparrow‘s slow early development, it would seem Fox is keen to recruit a lead/director team with a proven record for successfully bringing bad-ass female characters to life. Lawrence has proven she can bring depth and definition to a young woman thrust into dangerous circumstances since the bleak, but beautiful, Winter’s Bone, well before her fine work as strong and stoic Katniss Everdeen. We can hope with Lawrence on board, Egorova will be more than a sexy Russian spy stereotype – and that this movie will be a fresh offering to the female fronted spy subgenre (matching or surpassing the heights reached by something like La Femme Nikita).
Meanwhile, Francis Lawrence and Jennifer Lawrence have already proven to be a formidable team, with their Hunger Games work together – Red Sparrow would be an intriguing followup, if nothing else.
We will keep you up to date on Red Sparrow news as it becomes available.