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From the 1965 classic The Spy Who Came in from the Cold to the 1980s TV series Smiley's People, John Le Carre's novels of intrigue and espionage have long proven scintillating source material for movies and mini-series. Most recently, it was Tomas Alfredson' adaptation of Le Carre's George Smiley-centered novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy that drew critical praise, Oscar nods, and a revived interest in his works. In February, Philip Seymour Hoffman entered into talks to add some star power to the upcoming thriller A Most Wanted Man, based on the Le Carre novel of the same name. Now, just in time to shop domestic distribution rights at the Cannes Film Festival, Film4 revealed to Deadline that they've secured Hoffman after all.
Adapted by Edge of Darkness scribe Andrew Bovell, A Most Wanted Man is set in contemporary Hamburg, Germany. Here we meet Issa, a young Russian who is battered and penniless but insists he has claim to his father's fortune, tucked away in a private bank. He seeks help from the city's Islamic community, and is taken in by Melik Oktay, a kind-hearted boxer, and his mother. But their charity proves to be costly as nothing about their guest adds up. Is he a medical student? A devout Muslim? A thief? A terrorist? As American, British and German intelligence agencies begin to nose into Issa's true identity, the Oktays are inescapably pulled into a web of intrigue, suspicion and dangerous politics that is fallout of the War on Terror. Hoffman has signed on to play a German spy, who is described as "brilliant" but "roguish."
Anton Corbijn, who helmed the undervalued baroque spy thriller The American, will be directing A Most Wanted Man. As he's shown a fascinating skill of creating tension with restraint, he should prove a great partner for Hoffman. The role likewise seems a great fit for the Oscar-winner, but really, most roles do, as Hoffman's played humble, arrogant, brilliant, buffoonish, roguish and noble. He's a heavyweight who is sure to draw distributors eyes at Cannes and may well attract other enticing talent to the project that will shoot on location in Germany.
A Most Wanted Man is expected to hit theaters in 2013.