May 9, 2015

Tradecraft: Charlize Theron to Star in The Coldest City, Based on Antony Johnston's Graphic Novel

Well, this is cool! Deadline reports that Focus Features has bought the North American rights to a film version of Antony Johnston's Cold War Berlin-set graphic novel The Coldest City (review here), and "has committed to a wide release." The graphic novel (and I hope the movie as well) is set in the final days before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Personally, I feel like divided Berlin was just as interesting in the 1980s as the 1960s, but we get far too few period pieces taking advantage of that fascinating time, so I'm particularly looking forward to this one! Charlize Theron will star as British agent Lorainne Broughton, who's got a ticking clock to solve the murder of a fellow agent and recover some vital intelligence before the climate in Berlin thaws forever. John Wick's David Leitch and Chad Stahelski will direct, and Kurt Johnstad (300) will pen the script. That behind-the-scenes team would seem to bode a more action-oriented tale than the refreshingly cerebral story of Johnston's graphic novel (more in the Len Deighton tradition than Ian Fleming), but it's a talented group of people, so I'll give them credit for more than just what we've seen them do before. Johnstad really impressed me with Act of Valor. In that movie, he managed to assemble a serviceable spy plot out of what basically amounted to footage of Special Forces teams training, so just imagine what he'll be able to do with source material of this caliber! Johnston is a longtime spy fan whose other comic book credits in the genre also include an arc of Greg Rucka's stellar Queen & Country and adaptations of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider graphic novels.

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