Aug 14, 2008

Tradecraft For August 14, 2008

Cruise Still Set On Spying

Despite dropping out of the long-in-development Edwin A. Salt, Tom Cruise still seems intent on making another spy movie. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Cruise "has entered into negotiations for the thriller The Tourist, a remake of a French film, which would be produced by Spyglass Entertainment and Canal Plus. Bharat Nalluri is to direct screenwriter Julian Fellowes' adaptation of the 2005 feature, which follows an American tourist used as a pawn in a spy game by a female Interpol agent." Nalluri has shown a flair for espionage dramatics by directing several episodes of MI-5. This project apparently has nothing to do with the spy thriller George Clooney is developing with an eye to star in also called The Tourist. That one's adapted from an unrelated novel.

Paula Wagner To Produce Champions

No, I'm not predicting Olympic Gold for the Mission: Impossible producer's offspring; I'm talking about Guillermo Del Toro's adaptation of the cult Sixties spy show The Champions. The same Hollywood Reporter article (focusing on Wagner's departure from United Artists) mentions that "Wagner will produce independently as well as with UA on several projects still in development, including Del Toro's Champions." That's it. But I'm still in shock (delighted shock!) that this unlikely project is even happening, so I like to call attention to any report on its progress (or continued existence), no matter how slight. I cannot wait for this movie!

Severence Package Picked Up

Variety reports that Lionsgate has nabbed the rights to Duane Swierczynski's novel Severance Package for Swierczynski and Brett Simon to adapt, Simon to direct, and Mark Platt and Adam Siegel to produce. According to the trade, "The protag [of the action-comedy] is a media relations director of a financial company who learns that the firm was a front for a covert intelligence agency that is being shut down immediately, with every manager scheduled to be terminated--literally."

Gangster Spy

According to Variety, a new biopic of notorious gangster Lucky Luciano will focus on the mobster's espionage achievements during WWII. Bond writer Paul Haggis's Crash partner Bobby Moresco is penning the feature, which will race another Luciano biopic (written by Joe Cortese) into production. Says the trade, "A big part of both stories is how the government put Luciano away on a 30-year stretch for pimping and pandering and then leveraged his cooperation in America's WWII efforts with the promise of a pardon. Moresco said that Luciano used his mob clout on the New York docks to root out spies whose reports of ship movement to Nazi U-boats led to the sinking of more than 250 ships. Luciano also arranged for safe passage when troops landed in Sicily."

While serving in British Naval Intelligence, Ian Fleming got wind of Luciano's work for the Americans, and became fascinated by the man. He later talked his friend Raymond Chandler into interviewing Luciano (then "retired" in Naples) for the Sunday Times, and eventually tried himself. But the wily old mob boss proved himself a match for both writers; neither man could get him to open up about his racketeering or his spying.

Like Fleming, I've always found Lucky Luciano to be a fascinating figure. He's turned up in previous mob movies - like Bugsy and Mobsters - and served as the model for a Godfather character, but to date no film that I know of has focused on his exciting wartime activities.


Delmo said...

A remake of The Champions? Is there actually an audience for such a project?

Tanner said...

That's what I keep wondering, and having to pinch myself every time to remind me it's for real! When it was first announced in the trades, I couldn't believe it. It sounded like a joke! I'm glad it's real, though, and I hope it stays on track. Guillermo Del Toro has finished his screenplay, but he won't direct.