David Fincher and Rooney Mara are reportedly circling an adaptation of Jason Matthews’ crime novel Red Sparrow, for which Fox has the rights. American Hustle writer Eric Warren Singer is being courted by the studio to adapt the book, with Chernin Entertainment and Film Rites set to produce, according to Deadline. The publication said that due to the interest in the project from big names like Fincher and Mara, the film will likely move forward quickly even though the screenplay has yet to be written.
The novel was written by former CIA agent James Matthews, who poured 33 years’ worth of knowledge about international espionage into his debut work of spy fiction. Mara would play the central character, Soviet spy Dominika Egorova, an intelligence officer who against her will is trained to be a “sparrow,” or master of seducing the enemy. Egorova also has the peculiar gift of being able to see emotions as colors, which is of obvious advantage in her line of work. She is ordered to target the young CIA agent Nathaniel Nash but winds up defecting to help the CIA in part to seek revenge on those who forced her into practicing “sexpionage.”
The book got strong reviews, with critics saying that Matthews has the writing chops to back up his insider spy knowledge, as he crafts a suspenseful story and compelling characters as well as provides insights about what Russian espionage is like in the post-Soviet era. That subject matter is of even more contemporary relevance given the recent events surrounding the NSA scandal and Edward Snowden taking asylum in the country. There is also a film about Snowden from Oliver Stone currently in the works.