Yeah, sure, an adaptation of a spy novel could feel like yet another boring Bourne Identity knockoff. But The Matarese Circle has two things going for it-- it's based on a book actually written by Bourne creator Robert Ludlum, and apparently none other than David Cronenberg may be directing it.

The Hollywood Reporter says that Cronenberg is looking into directing the thriller, which Denzel Washington is already set to star in. Washington will presumably play the American member of a pair of rival intelligence agents (the other is Soviet, naturally) who try to track down members of the Matarese, a criminal group that has infiltrated the American government. Derek Haas and Michael Brandt, who has written solid screenplays like 3:10 to Yuma and Wanted, have already adapted the book.

Cronenberg is consistently restless in his tastes, and it seems entirely plausible that he could make brilliant work out of what might otherwise be boilerplate stuff. Would Cronenberg have the guts to cast his past collaborator Viggo Mortensen as the other agent, giving him a chance to play Russian once again (he pulled it off well in Eastern Promises). Either way, the fact that they've chosen a unique director like Cronenberg for the job indicates they're looking for something unique, like what Greengrass did for the Bourne franchise. Most definitely a good plan.

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