Spy thrillers will always have a place in the Hollywood lexicon. From the advent of film, writers have turned to the world of espionage and political intrigue to craft stories both dramatic and thrilling. From Bond to Bourne, there’s nothing that manages to capture the attention of audiences quite like a classic spy vs. spy tale - and despite the evolution of the form, the trend doesn’t seem in any danger of dying out.
Over the years, some of the best spy thrillers have come, like so many of Hollywood’s best films, from the world of literature. Studios have made a mint off of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series, while British writer John le Carre has crafted some of the finest espionage tales ever spun with works like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Constant Gardener, both of which were turned into excellent films. Part of le Carre’s appeal comes from the fact that he used to work in the intelligence field, which is more common a stepping stone than you might think. American writer Jason Matthews spent over three decades with the CIA before jumping into the writing game with Red Sparrow, soon to be adapted into a feature film starring Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: Apocalypse). The years long process from page to screen took a big jump today with another casting announcement.
Deadline is reporting that Ciarán Hinds (Silence) has been cast to star alongside Lawrence in the espionage thriller, which also features Jeremy Irons (Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice) and Joel Edgerton (Loving) and will be directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay).
Red Sparrow follows Russian spy Dominika Egorova (Lawrence) who is unwillingly drafted as a “sparrow,” a spy trained in seduction in order to penetrate enemy intelligence. Hinds plays Zyugonov, director of Russian intelligence, who orders Egorova to begin operations against a CIA officer.
Since its publication in 2013, multiple directors have circled Red Sparrow, including Darren Aronofsky (Noah) and David Fincher (Gone Girl). Lawrence, however, has proven himself to be a director capable of balancing grit with an epic scale and his reunion with his The Hunger Games star is sure to be well received.
In Hinds, the director and the film have found an actor capable of playing intense without going over the top. As Mance Rayder in Game of Thrones, Hinds brought the erstwhile Night’s Watch brother turned wildling leader to life beautifully, and proves he has the presence to play a character like Zyugonov realistically. Hinds will also be appearing as Steppenwolf in Justice League, around the time that Red Sparrow reaches theaters this year.
Though it’s too soon to say whether the film will have as much success as the novel it was based on, Matthews’ book has been wildly acclaimed since its publication, and the star power alone seems likely to make this a box office force on its release. J-Law alone is almost enough to ensure audience interest in Red Sparrow, but the addition of Hinds carries some heavy hitting chops that only adds weight to an already heavy story. We’ll keep you posted on any news as it develops.
Red Sparrow hits theaters this year on November 10th.