New spy movie aims to shake up expectations of the genre

Ever since the Cold War broke out between the U.S. and Russia, Hollywood has had a fascination with international espionage and the CIA, a government agency whom conspiracy theorists love because they can blame them for almost everything.

New York Times magazine investigative journalist Peter Landesman is no exception, and his latest venture into film making is proof-positive of this. According to an exclusive from Jay A. Fernandez at The Hollywood Reporter, Landesman and producer Brad Weston (Bad Santa, Patriot Down) have sold a pitch to Graham King who will produce under his GK Films banner.

And even though Fernandez wasn’t able to get a logline out of them, I’m still fascinated by the idea behind the story:

“As someone who glanced against the world of spies as a journalist, I wanted to be surprised again,” Landesman said. “The operative and intelligence world is a layer cake: the deeper you go, the more covert, the more dangerous.

“The spy genre has tapped most layers, but as an investigative journalist, I began to get wind of one that remained elusive: a layer of operative and intelligence gathering that is virtually without oversight, directed by a small handful, who do things no one will hear of, occasionally at cross-purposes with agencies like the CIA. The DNA of this film is pulled from that world.”

Advising Landesman on the production as a consultant is former CIA officer Robert Grenier who during his career was assistant deputy director of the CIA for counterterrorism and an undercover field agent in Pakistan and Afghanistan, adding that extra layer of verisimilitude.

There’s just something about spies that sparks the romantic imagination because of the secret nature of their work. There’s also the fact that the work is mostly nationalistic in nature, because almost everything a spy does is done largely to promote one nation’s interests over another’s.

I remember one afternoon while I was hanging with one of the future staff writers to this blog where we had a two hour conversation/debate over how the the fictional intelligence community in “Burn Notice” works, thanks to our having finally watched the Season 3 finale (beware of possible spoilers). My point was that it didn’t make sense to me that for someone like Michael Weston who was so dedicated to their work for so long to have been so easily set up by Management and that the rest of the intelligence community truly believed that he was a bad guy just didn’t make sense at all.

To hear that an upcoming film is going to feature details about how real intelligence works and to showcase something new in a spy movie? That just makes me giddy with glee.

No word yet on whether Landesman will be writing his very first script or if they’ll tap someone else to do it.

Posted on April 21, 2010 at 06:20 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: News

2 Responses

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  1. Written by arkonbey
    on 2010-04-21 at 13:05

    At first I thought there was going to be a live-action Spy Vs. Spy film and I was, inexplicably, momentarily jazzed.

    Now I'm just jonesing for Burn Notice 3 (DVD, no cable).

    Your notice of the flaws of Burn Notice are spot on, but I think it has realistic strengths as well. The foremost being that the gang's intricately worked-out Plan A doesn't always go off perfectly. Often, Plan A doesn't even get set in motion before they have to work on plan B. You don't often see this in action films/shows.

    A realistic film about intelligence work is likely to be like a realistic movie about cops, firefighters, paramedics or Coasties: A great deal of boring, but often necessary work with small punctuations of action.

  2. Written by 3vill33t
    on 2010-04-21 at 21:44

    Points for being able to include Burn Notice in this convo.

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