May 15, 2012

Tradecraft: Brosnan Spies and Spies Some More in The November Man

Just last week it was reported that Pierce Brosnan would soon be playing a “mysterious government operative” again in the action thriller The Coup opposite I Spy’s Owen Wilson and Mission: Impossible III’s Michelle Monaghan. In the comments on my post about that, someone mentioned that Brosnan had at one point been attached to play the hero of Bill Granger’s series of spy novels, Devereaux, aka “The November Man.” Since ditching the Walther PPK, Brosnan has been attached to a number of spy movies that didn’t go anywhere (and some that did, like The Ghost Writer), but I hadn’t heard of that one. A little Googling revealed that the first trade announcements were made in 2005… and there’d been no word since. It certainly looked like the project was dead, like so many others that are announced but eventually fall apart or fail to find funding… until today. Today (sadly less than a month after Granger’s untimely death at the age of 70), Deadline reports that “Brosnan’s production company Irish DreamTime has signed a multi-picture financing and distribution deal with Solution Entertainment Group. The first film in the arrangement will be the espionage thriller November Man, starring Brosnan and Dominic Cooper and directed by Roger Donaldson.” Well, what do you know? Oddly, the trade blog reports that the movie will not be based on Granger’s 1979 novel of that title (the first in the Deveraux series), but on his 1986 series entry There Are No Spies. Screenwriters Michael Finch (Predators) and Karl Gajdusek (ABC’s upcoming Shawn Ryan-produced Last Resort) penned the adaptation. According to Deadline, “the film is scheduled to start shooting in October on location in Berlin.” Solution plans to sell the U.S. distribution rights at this month’s Cannes Film Festival.

I’m afraid I’ve never read any of Granger’s books myself (though they have a stellar reputation), but from what I gather they’re definitely of the le  Carré-esque “serious” spy school than the more fantastical Fleming school Brosnan’s most closely associated with. (Though he’s always been excellent in serious spy fare, too, like The Fourth Protocol, The Tailor of Panama and The Ghost Writer.) There Are No Spies finds Devereaux (presumably Brosnan, though that’s not entirely clear from the article) lured out of retirement when his old boss, Hanley, is hauled off to an insane asylum for used-up agents. Devereaux’s search for the truth leads him to a highly placed Soviet mole operating within the U.S. intelligence establishment. I don’t know if Donaldson will make this a Cold War period piece along the lines of the recent Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (which would be awfully cool), or if the story will be updated, but I hope the former! Donaldson, whose spy credits also include The Recruit, pulled off a successful period setting for The Bank Job. He and Brosnan previously worked together on Dante’s Peak in 1997.

1 comment:

Le Samourai said...

I'm very glad to see the November Man is back on. It was an entertaining book series, though it's been close to 20 years since I last read any of them. While the novels were closer to le Carre than to Fleming, I think they were even closer to Adam Hall's Quiller series. Like Quiller, Granger's Peter Devereaux was somewhat tortured and neurotic, but also capable of some serious violence. There's far more action in these books than in le Carre. The November Man even has a few Bondian touches: He has a fondness to cold Finlandia vodka over ice, and in many of the novels specifically carried a Colt Python (later a Browning Hi-Power.) Ian Fleming was given a Python by the folks at Colt shortly before his death.