Coming out as the challenger to Warner Bros. Pictures and Johnny Depp's untitled project about former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, Columbia Pictures is gearing up to develop another feature on the man tentatively titled "Death of a Dissident" based on an upcoming book of the same title.
Trade says that the studio paid $500,000 against $1.5 million early Friday, January 12 for the screen rights to the book. The original version, written by Alex Goldfarb and the subject's widow, Marina Litvinenko, is scheduled to hit stores late May this year under Simon & Schuster subsidiary Free Press.
In bringing out the project to life, Columbia has already got positive sign from Red Wagon's Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher to produce while still engages in talks with Michael Mann to have him as the film's director. If a deal is reached, it is possible that his Forward Pass will produce as well.
As for the movie, it will likely be an espionage thriller that sees Litvinenko get caught between two colossal forces of deep-rooted Russian power structure enforced by the KGB and its successor, the FSB, and the new wave of wild-west capitalism that came on the heels of Glasnost.