Apr 19, 2018

Tradecraft: James Gray to Direct I AM PILGRIM

MGM is moving forward with their feature version of Terry Hayes' bestselling spy novel I am Pilgrim. Deadline reports that James Gray (The Lost City of Z, We Own the Night) has closed a deal to direct. Kingsman helmer Matthew Vaughn was previously attached, but opted to focus on the Kingsman sequel instead. Hayes, who was a prolific screenwriter before turning novelist, has adapted his book himself. I Am Pilgrim follows a Nicolai Hel- or Derek Flint-like perfect super-agent, code-named "Pilgrim," who comes out of retirement to solve an engrossing locked room mystery (where the killer has used Pilgrim's own obscure book on forensic science to create the perfect crime), and simultaneously save America from a terrorist threat of astronomical proportions and a terrorist mastermind, "Saracen," capable of carrying it out. It's an exciting, globe-hopping adventure in the Ludlum vein with the action mainly taking place in New York, Turkey, and the Middle East. According to the trade, the James Bond studio is interested in launching another spy franchise, though so far, there have been no sequels to the book. (Follow-ups have been rumored, but not confirmed. Hayes' next book is apparently unrelated.) I suppose the implication could be that the studio plans to turn the existing book into more than one movie. It's long enough, and packed with enough subplots, that you could probably get three movies out of I Am Pilgrim alone. In fact, it's difficult to imagine how the entire book could be packed into just one feature without losing a whole lot. (And I fear the first to be jettisoned would be the second locked room mystery, in Turkey, which was actually my favorite part.) Whatever route they choose, however, this book certainly has potential to launch a major spy franchise. This is definitely a project to keep an eye on!

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