'Hero' Director Zhang Yimou May Adapt Robert Ludlum Spy Novel 'The Parsifal Mosaic'

Zhang Yimou to direct The Parsifal Mosaic

The late author Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne novels are pretty firmly rooted in a Cold War mentality and political atmosphere, though the film adaptations starring Matt Damon (and now the branch-off series featuring Jeremy Renner) update their source material's issues with timely post-millennial themes in a modern setting. However, that may not be the approach taken on the movie adaptation of Ludlum's The Parsifal Mosaic novel, which is showing new signs of life.

Back in 2009, Ron Howard was attached to direct Parsifal Mosaic for Universal, with a script written by David Self (Road to Perdition) in place; Howard ended up moving ahead to other projects instead, but he remains onboard as a producer, along with his Captivate Entertainment partner Brian Grazer. According to new reports, Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou is currently in negotiations to direct the spy thriller, in addition to overseeing a script revision.

Yimou, as noted in THR's source article, is a newcomer to the Hollywood studio system, though his reputation precedes him, with acclaimed Asian historical dramas like Raise the Red Lantern and To Live - not to mention such celebrated martial arts films as Hero and House of Flying Daggers - under his belt. As it were, his most recent project was partly in the English-language - the period war drama The Flowers of War, starring Christian Bale.

Zhang Yimou and Christian Bale filming The Flowers of War
Zhang Yimou and Christian Bale filming 'The Flowers of War'

There's no mention in THR's update on Parsifal Mosaic of what screenwriter Yimou might have in mind to pen a new script draft, nor whether or not the film version will modernize Ludlum's original book (thematically and in terms of setting), which was published back in 1982. Here is an official description of the source material:

Michael Havelock’s world died on a moonlit beach on the Costa Brava as he watched his partner and lover, double agent Jenna Karas, efficiently gunned down by his own agency. There’s nothing left for him but to quit the game, get out. Then, in one frantic moment on a crowded railroad platform in Rome, Havelock sees Jenna. Racing around the globe in search of his beautiful betrayer, Havelock is now marked for death by both U.S. and Russian assassins, trapped in a massive mosaic of treachery created by a top-level mole with the world in his fist: Parsifal.

Parsifal Mosaic, like the Bourne novels, read as a story where the Cold War influence could be extracted; though, as Yimou tends to make historical fare, there's a reasonable chance that the movie will retain the references to organizations like the KGB, instead of attempting to re-imagine those aspects for the post-9/11 espionage battlefield. Self previously scripted the Cuban Missile Crisis film Thirteen Days (starring Kevin Costner), which is another sign that Parsifal Mosaic may've always been envisioned as a historical work.

In other words, Parsifal Mosaic might end up having more in common with fellow Cold War-sprung literature-based spy tale Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, rather than the Bourne films or this year's contemporary Tom Clancy character origin story re-envisioning, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Let us know in the comments section if a project along those lines sounds interesting, in Yimou's hands.


We'll keep you posted on The Parsifal Mosaic movie adaptation's development.

Source: THR

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