Joel Edgerton is in early talks to join Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow, an adaptation of the Jason Matthews espionage novel at Fox. Francis Lawrence is directing. Justin Haythe rewrote a script by American Hustle scribe Eric Warren Singer. Chernin Entertainment is producing with Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch is exec producer.
The book is set in contemporary Russia, and state intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the agency’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers collide in a charged atmosphere of trade craft, deception, and inevitably, a sexual attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s valuable mole in Moscow.
Dominika winds up seeking revenge against her soulless masters, and living a fatal double life after she is recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington. She also hunts down a Russian illegal buried deep in the U.S. military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Russia’s intelligence service. There is topicality to the tale, given the Edward Snowden affair.