By Simon Dang | The Playlist June 19, 2011 at 2:07AM
After adapting Martin Booth's "A Very Private Gentleman" to much acclaim, it looks like Dutch rock-photographer Anton Corbijn is once again turning to a novel for inspiration with his next project now revealed to be an adaptation of John le Carré's 2008 political thriller "A Most Wanted Man."
The director had previously teased his next feature film as his last but we're hoping his comments -- which included the admission that he wasn't a “very good fit for ‘Spider-Man 25'" -- were a deceptive combination of self-depreciation and sarcasm rather than a Soderberghian retirement pact. That said, he declared at the time that his last feature would be "a German-set thriller that would star German actor Herbert Grönemeyer", and this le Carré adaptation worryingly fits that description.
'Wanted Man' is evidently loosely based on the story of Turkish-German Guantanamo detainee Murat Kurnaz but rather follows "a Chechian Muslim named Issa who illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught up in the international war on terror." Here's an extended synopsis courtesy of Amazon;
When boxer Melik Oktay and his mother, both Turkish Muslims living in Hamburg, take in a street person calling himself Issa at the start of this morally complex thriller from le Carré (The Mission Song), they set off a chain of events implicating intelligence agencies from three countries. Issa, who claims to be a Muslim medical student, is, in fact, a wanted terrorist and the son of Grigori Karpov, a Red Army colonel whose considerable assets are concealed in a mysterious portfolio at a Hamburg bank. Tommy Brue, a stereotypical flawed everyman caught up in the machinations of spies and counterspies, enters the plot when Issa's attorney seeks to claim these assets.
The plot sounds fairly complex and somewhat of an anti-thesis to his last feature, "The American," which predominantly followed a hitman confronting and battling his inners demons rather than any physical threats. Much of that pic fell on the shoulders of lead George Clooney (as it did with Sam Riley for "Control") so we're intrigued to see if Corbijn has actually managed to acquire funding for the project with semi-retiree Grönemeyer in the lead -- there's no mention of him in the latest announcement but the role of Issa (the son of a Red Army colonel) does sound like something he could take on.
Principal photography will predominantly take place in Hamburg, Germany as early as this winter based on a script by Australian scribe Andrew Bovell (Mel Gibson starrer "The Edge Of Darkness"). Malte Grunert's Berlin-based shingle Amusement Park Films with Hamburg's film board partially subsididng the production.
The surprising speed of development for the project was surely helped by author le Carré, who's hot property at the moment with Tomas Alfredsson re-adaptation "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Tom Hardy among others expected to fare in the upcoming awards season.. You can hear the author himself teasing the story of 'Wanted Man' in a trailer for the novel produced by Simon Channing-Williams at the time of publication.