Rocket Science has boarded the biopic “The Good Spy,” about CIA operative Robert Ames, from Oscar-nominated “Paradise Now” and “Omar” director Hany Abu-Assad.
The pic is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Kai Bird’s biography of Ames. Scott Frazier (“Berliner”) is adapting for screen.
“Free Solo” and “Everest” producer Evan Hayes will produce under his ACE (Anomaly Content & Entertainment) production company. Laurie MacDonald and Walter Parkes will executive produce with Frazier, while Bird will act as a consultant on the project.
Rocket Science is financing the film and will co-represent worldwide sales with CAA Media Finance.
Said Abu-Assad: “When Robert Ames moved deeper into the life of Ali Hasan Salameh, a prominent PLO member, he realizes that not only is he crossing the line between the CIA and being involved in his enemy’s cause, but the friendship between the two men leads to a certain threat to the establishment of both sides. These facts are a perfectly fertile soil for a character-driven drama embedded in a political thriller.”
Added Hayes: “We have always endeavored to make an elevated and entertaining spy thriller, but we also want to make the most honest, authentic film possible, and Hany is the perfect filmmaker to help us achieve just that. I’m thrilled to embark on this project with Hany, Scott and the team at Rocket Science & CAA.”
Bird’s 2014 book is an hour-by-hour account of the 1983 bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut, and a powerful portrait of CIA operative Ames, who lost his life in the attack.
Ames was one of the most influential intelligence officers in CIA history. He lived and worked in West Asia (also known as the Middle East) for most of his career and respected the customs, culture and history of the diverse region. He was America’s top intelligence officer for the Middle East, and he wanted to bring peace to the region, even if it meant befriending the “enemy.”
Bird lived as a child in the Beirut embassy and knew Ames as a neighbor. He spent years researching the book, which was praised for its insightful look at the making of a CIA officer and the intrigue of spy operations in the Middle East. Bird’s book “American Prometheus” is now in production under the title “Oppenheimer” with Christopher Nolan directing for Universal Pictures.
“Robert Ames’ extraordinary legacy has only grown in recent times – his example of fundamental human decadence are more important than ever. To have his story told by such an amazing filmmaker as Hany Abu Assad will make it truly significant.” said Rocket Science managing director Thorsten Schumacher.
Abu-Assad has been nominated for two Oscars for “Paradise Now” (2005), about two Palestinian men preparing for a suicide attack in Tel Aviv, and “Omar” (2013), a tragic love story set in occupied Palestine, which also won the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Other notable credits include “The Mountain Between Us,” starring Kate Winslet and Idris Elba, for 20th Century Fox.
Frazier wrote the 2013 thriller “The Numbers Station,” which starred John Cusack and Malin Akerman, as well the thriller “Autobahn,” staring Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones.
Abu Assad is represented by CAA and Frazier is repped by CAA, AllDayEveryday, and attorneys Jeff Frankel and Rob Goldman. CAA also reps the author in conjunction with publishing agent Gail Ross.