Jan 21, 2010

Tradecraft: Mossad And Assassin

Here are two stories that I missed in the trades, but luckily Dark Horizons caught them. 

Variety reports that producer Eric Eisner's L+E Pictures "has acquired feature rights to Shmu-el Segev's 'Alone in Damascus,' which recounts the story of Israeli spy Eli Cohen."  Israeli filmmaker Lior Geller will write the script.  So what, exactly, is Alone in Damascus?  The trade doesn't say.  Presumably it's a book, but perhaps a forthcoming one.  There is no book of that title currently available in America, at least.  The plot sounds interesting, though.  The trade reports that "Cohen worked as a Mossad agent from 1960 until his public execution in 1965 and built close ties with Syrian leaders, almost rising to the rank of Syrian defense minister. He's credited with supplying Israel with many details on Syrian political and military matters."

An Israeli spy rising through the ranks in Syria (albeit a less successful one) was also the subject of the fantastic documentary The Champagne Spy (full review here) in 2007.  That film criminally remains unreleased in America, though you can purchase an expensive German import DVD through Amazon.  At one time, it was reported that The Champagne Spy would also be developed into a fictionalized narrative feature for Hollywood.
And The Hollywood Reporter reports that True Memoirs of an International Assassin, an action-comedy spec script by Jeff Morris that was on the 2009 Black List, has been picked up by Mark Gill and Neil Sacker's West Hollywood-based independent production company The Film Department.  According to the trade, "Memoirs focuses on an accountant who writes a novel about the life he wishes he had, that of a fearless assassin. He sells the book, the publisher labels it a memoir, and the world comes to believe he is his alter ego. When he goes on vacation to Belize, he finds himself coerced into killing the country's prime minister and must now become the hero he's always written about but never dreamed he'd be."


Charles Gates said...

Sorry about the thread highjack...but on Feb 21, 2008 you linked to an article saying that CBS bought the rights to Mitch Rapp movies.
Baer will hire a writer shortly and hopes the first Rapp film will be ready in time to be part of CBS Films' initial slate. She expects to put films into production by next year.
Have you heard anything regarding this? Each time I finish a book by Vince Flynn I always think about how the stories would translate well as a movie.

Rebecca said...

My Google-fu seems to have found that Alone in Damascus is a 1986 book published in Israel and not translated into English (yet, I suppose).

However, when I was in high school, I read Our Man in Damascus: Elie Cohn by Eli Ben-Hanan. Pretty depressing with the image of his execution on the cover of the book.

I'm curious why now for the (another) movie. Maybe because the family is still trying to get his body back from Syria?

Tanner said...

Thanks for the details, Rebecca! (I'm afraid I didn't have time for any Google-fu when squeezing in this quickie post.) That's very interesting. Personally, I like the title Our Man in Damascus better than Alone in Damascus, but it sounds like both books are probably as depressing as the second title sounds, and ZOWIE probably doesn't appear in either. The timing does seem odd for a 1986 book. Maybe this writer just had a really good take on the story.

Charles, I actually had an update on that Mitch Rapp movie just last week, when Antoine Fuqua came aboard to direct Consent to Kill. So good news, I guess! And certainly a long time coming. The thing about my "Tradecraft" articles is that announcements made in the trades can take years to pay off, or fall apart completely before ever coming to fruition. Luckily, that doesn't seem to have happened with Rapp. With the writer and director of Shooter on board, can Mark Wahlberg be far behind? Guess we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, I should really read one of those Vince Flynn novels...