Aug 2, 2007

Tradecraft: Universal Goes Mossad

"Universal Pictures has paid a seven-figure sum to acquire rights to a seven-book series of bestselling spy novels by Daniel Silva," says Variety. The first movie in the series will be The Messenger, which the studio has tapped District B13 director and frequent cinematographer of Luc Besson-produced action movies like The Transporter Pierre Morell to helm. I'm not familiar with Silva's books, but the trade says the series focuses on Gabriel Allon, a Mossad agent who was one of the Munich avengers and has since retired. With seven adventures on the shelves, however, I don't imagine the retirement takes! The article also mentions another spy movie on the horizon which I was unaware of, Taken. "Morel just completed directing Taken, a thriller that stars Liam Neeson as a former spy who dusts off his old skills when his daughter is kidnapped and sold into the slave trade."


David Foster said...

That's very interesting news. I have read The Confessor which I think(?) is about the third in the Allon series. I also have copies to read ofDeath In Venice and Prince Of Fire (more additions to the pile of books that I must read!).

I enjoyed The Confessor. Silva is a good writer, but the story was not particularly 'action' heavy.

While maybe not indicative of the series (only The Confessor), I found that the secret militant faction of the Catholic Church thread, is a plot device that has been visited way too much in recent years. Not only by Dan Brown, but Steve Berry, Jon Land and a host of other authors.

As for Allon as a character, he's a bit like a continuation of Eric Bana's, Abner, in Spielberg's Munich. He's a man who participated in the tracking down of the Black September terrorists from Munich, but now all he wants to do is stay out of the public eye and paint. From memory, I think he was a art restorer...who works restoring famous works of art throughout Europe. And as you have surmised, he keeps getting drawn back into action.

I will be interested to see how this series goes. Or at least the first film. I think it may be too 'thinking man's spy' to be really successful. And the back story may have been visited a bit too often lately. We may feel we have seen it all before!

But then again, we are talking 'Hollywood'. The film does not have to reflect Silva's creation!


Tanner said...

True! Especially from the studio that brought us the Bourne movies. (Great as they are, they're nothing like the books.) I think the Variety story even mentioned that the move was seen as Uni buying another spy franchise in an attempt to fill the gap that Bourne will be leaving if Ultimatum is truly the last.

Thanks for the information about the series. It sounds like it's worth reading one of them, at least. Interesting that you describe it as a thinking man's spy series. That doesn't sound like the ideal thing to fill the Bourne slot, so they may be planning a major Hollywoodization...